PDA

View Full Version : Backflow testing


londonrain
02-06-2007, 08:07 PM
I talked with one of Cross Connection Control Coordinators last week about the number of known backflow Devices that need testing in my area. He said they know of 32,000 devices that need testing on their water system and he is one of three water systems in my area.

Mad Estonian
02-06-2007, 08:34 PM
Sounds good for you. How much do they enforce testing in your region? They're just starting a program here, where all new systems need a testable assembly, and it all goes into a database, then everyone has to have a test done every year (they'll mail out the test forms annually). Not sure what the fine is for disobeying, but knowing how the purveyor here operates, they'll definitely be looking to enforce the bylaw fairly strictly (sounds good for me).

Remote Pigtails
02-06-2007, 08:46 PM
Backflow testing is one of my pet peeves. I support the idea of testing but here in Dallas the don't have the guts to test existing and older backflows. only test new ones. They aren't the problem we still have 50 year old single checks in the ground. I could go on and on on this subject but I'll leave it at that.
Which reminds me of my favorite bad joke.
Where do you send someone who goes on and on?


Alon & on& on &on& on

Repairs
02-06-2007, 09:58 PM
No enforcement here either. It's ok with me because I would just assume go on a repair call anyway than to be doing a bunch of 75.00 backflow tests. All I ever get is people calling around for the cheapest test price. :laugh:

londonrain
02-06-2007, 10:07 PM
The Water company will lock your water meter if not tested. I have tested 10 in the past week plus two more to do tomorrow. Went to test one today and they did not have one, so I will install one on Friday.

Remote Pigtails
02-06-2007, 11:02 PM
London is that testing of new backflows or is everybody required to get yearly testing?

londonrain
02-06-2007, 11:34 PM
London is that testing of new backflows or is everybody required to get yearly testing?

This year they are requiring that all known backflows be tested.

londonrain
02-06-2007, 11:48 PM
No enforcement here either. It's ok with me because I would just assume go on a repair call anyway than to be doing a bunch of 75.00 backflow tests. All I ever get is people calling around for the cheapest test price. :laugh:

Most of my backflow tests are less than a 10 mile drive. They send out the notices in the same part of town/area so I line them up. I charge $45 for a back flow test just so I can get their future irrigation repair work..:clapping: I picked up three new customers this week.
On Monday I tested 5 backflows and a service call in less than an hour and a half.

Remote Pigtails
02-07-2007, 07:39 AM
My guess is that when they get nasty about backflow testing in Dallas it is going to cause the BIGGEST boom in irrigation service. Every service guy in town is going to be backed up for months replacing DCAs. Since they are all below ground in jumbo boxes it makes my back hurt just thinking about it. If they put me in charge I would require every home being listed for sale to get a backflow check and deal with it then. it would smooth out the demand.

Repairs
02-07-2007, 09:34 AM
My guess is that when they get nasty about backflow testing in Dallas it is going to cause the BIGGEST boom in irrigation service. Every service guy in town is going to be backed up for months replacing DCAs. Since they are all below ground in jumbo boxes it makes my back hurt just thinking about it. If they put me in charge I would require every home being listed for sale to get a backflow check and deal with it then. it would smooth out the demand.


And then all the whiny babies that had to replace their backflow preventor call their city councilman and raise holy heck with them about why the city is making them pay for this when there has not ever been a problem. That is why enforcement is not more rigid.

Repairs
02-07-2007, 09:41 AM
Most of my backflow tests are less than a 10 mile drive. They send out the notices in the same part of town/area so I line them up. I charge $45 for a back flow test just so I can get their future irrigation repair work..:clapping: I picked up three new customers this week.
On Monday I tested 5 backflows and a service call in less than an hour and a half.


No doubt a one man service truck can make money on backflow tests. My problem is our business model is built around a three man repair crew. Our bread and butter is calls 150 and up, and the nastier the call the better. I want all the one man crews stuff they dont want to fix. :) We also need the volume to keep the guys busy. We dont get enough calls to do tests to create any sort of volume.

Hank Reardon
02-07-2007, 10:35 AM
And then all the whiny babies that had to replace their backflow preventor call their city councilman and raise holy heck with them about why the city is making them pay for this when there has not ever been a problem. That is why enforcement is not more rigid.

It only takes one incident and those same whiners will be down at City Hall screaming "Why didn't you do anything to protect us"!

Wet_Boots
02-07-2007, 11:08 AM
Home inspections prior to sale would be a prime opportunity to flag plumbing violations, but it doesn't happen as often as it should.

Flow Control
02-07-2007, 12:44 PM
Home inspections prior to sale would be a prime opportunity to flag plumbing violations, but it doesn't happen as often as it should.

They never point anything out here either, even when there is no backflow. If they were to get picky about backflows and testing I would start up another company just for testing and replacement and market it to other companies and homeowners.

LCPullman
02-07-2007, 03:29 PM
For those of you testing backflow assemblies, do you need a special license to do so, or do you just need the equipment.

londonrain
02-07-2007, 04:46 PM
No doubt a one man service truck can make money on backflow tests. My problem is our business model is built around a three man repair crew. Our bread and butter is calls 150 and up, and the nastier the call the better. I want all the one man crews stuff they dont want to fix. :) We also need the volume to keep the guys busy. We dont get enough calls to do tests to create any sort of volume.

So I take it you are not a certified backflow tester.
The price I quote for backflow testing is less than we charge for a service call. People will go with the cheapest price they can find and I want the repair work down the road. I takes me less than 10min for a backflow test. I do the paperwork and my partner does the test.
We have well over 1000+ service customers and over 300+ back flow customers and we will take them any way we can get them. We just finished a repair today that the septic company did a number on a system. We repaired 9 broken pipes in 5 hrs. This customer came from a $60 service call just to adjust heads back in the spring of last year. So far for them I have installed a mastervalve $360, replaced broken heads $165 and a $360 repair today. From 10am till 4pm we did $450 with less than $10 in parts.
No job is too small

londonrain
02-07-2007, 04:48 PM
And then all the whiny babies that had to replace their backflow preventor call their city councilman and raise holy heck with them about why the city is making them pay for this when there has not ever been a problem. That is why enforcement is not more rigid.
About 1 out of every 15 I test fail....

Repairs
02-07-2007, 05:25 PM
So I take it you are not a certified backflow tester.
The price I quote for backflow testing is less than we charge for a service call. People will go with the cheapest price they can find and I want the repair work down the road. I takes me less than 10min for a backflow test. I do the paperwork and my partner does the test.
We have well over 1000+ service customers and over 300+ back flow customers and we will take them any way we can get them. We just finished a repair today that the septic company did a number on a system. We repaired 9 broken pipes in 5 hrs. This customer came from a $60 service call just to adjust heads back in the spring of last year. So far for them I have installed a mastervalve $360, replaced broken heads $165 and a $360 repair today. From 10am till 4pm we did $450 with less than $10 in parts.
No job is too small


No, I have been certified for quite some time. Our minimum target is 800$ per day, and the volume of tests to do 16 backflows per day is just not there. I understand that it takes 15mins, back in the day me and a helper of mine test timed ourselfs on a dca @ 8 minutes, but it is hard to make a good day 50$ at a time. Nope no job is too small, but my target on all jobs is at least 100$. Once you factor in the phone time scheduling the call, the cost to get there, unload, load up, process the payment, process the reciept, pay the sales tax, maintain vehicles, advertising, insurance, and on and on, if you arent making 100$ you aint going to get in front of all those things. Take it for what you will though, that is just my opinion. If a guy was working by himself, then yes you can make good money doing backflows and easy service calls. I got tired of breaking my back digging ditches, and trenching lines so I roll with plenty of help now, as most of our repair calls are at least 150$ anyway.

londonrain
02-07-2007, 05:51 PM
No, I have been certified for quite some time. Our minimum target is 800$ per day, and the volume of tests to do 16 backflows per day is just not there. I understand that it takes 15mins, back in the day me and a helper of mine test timed ourselfs on a dca @ 8 minutes, but it is hard to make a good day 50$ at a time. Nope no job is too small, but my target on all jobs is at least 100$. Once you factor in the phone time scheduling the call, the cost to get there, unload, load up, process the payment, process the reciept, pay the sales tax, maintain vehicles, advertising, insurance, and on and on, if you arent making 100$ you aint going to get in front of all those things. Take it for what you will though, that is just my opinion. If a guy was working by himself, then yes you can make good money doing backflows and easy service calls. I got tired of breaking my back digging ditches, and trenching lines so I roll with plenty of help now, as most of our repair calls are at least 150$ anyway.
Been doing irrigation since I was 12 with my dad on the weekends. Irrigation has been my full time job since 1991 and I am going to be 40 this year. I know what it takes to stay in business and a way to generate new clients. Do like I do and schedule back flow testing on the way to other work since it only takes 10min. I agree you could not make a living doing BF testing alone but it leads to more work down the road and I know this is true..

londonrain
02-07-2007, 06:06 PM
In my area the preferred method of testing is vertical tube for double checks and we use the gauge when testing RP's. What do you other testers use and how long is your certification good for, here it is 3 years.

Repairs
02-07-2007, 06:56 PM
Been doing irrigation since I was 12 with my dad on the weekends. Irrigation has been my full time job since 1991 and I am going to be 40 this year. I know what it takes to stay in business and a way to generate new clients. Do like I do and schedule back flow testing on the way to other work since it only takes 10min. I agree you could not make a living doing BF testing alone but it leads to more work down the road and I know this is true..

Hey it works for you and I am not knocking that. As for me I will keep quoting them high at 75.00 so that I make money on them if I mess with them. I only get 10-20 calls a year for them anyway. If they step up enforcement around here, I may re-evaluate, because then I might sell some backflow preventors. :cool2:

Repairs
02-07-2007, 07:00 PM
In my area the preferred method of testing is vertical tube for double checks and we use the gauge when testing RP's. What do you other testers use and how long is your certification good for, here it is 3 years.

Some of the local entities require anual guage certification, and on the test reports they are asking for the serial #'s, therefore we are using the guages. 3 years in texas with 8 hrs. ceu annual required, or if you wait till the last minute and dont do it annualy 24hrs.

Hank Reardon
02-07-2007, 07:34 PM
Three years for us as well.

I have a Watts TKDL test unit.

ed2hess
02-07-2007, 10:14 PM
No enforcement here either. It's ok with me because I would just assume go on a repair call anyway than to be doing a bunch of 75.00 backflow tests. All I ever get is people calling around for the cheapest test price. :laugh:

Doesn't every business have a least one in-line isolator/backflow on the drinking hookup with the city? I would think those would be high dollor inspections and be done yearly?

Repairs
02-08-2007, 12:11 AM
Doesn't every business have a least one in-line isolator/backflow on the drinking hookup with the city? I would think those would be high dollor inspections and be done yearly?


They do, but that is sort of a different market. To repair a backflow preventor on a plumbing supply line, you must be a licensed plumber, and on an old valve, it is unusual to not have to at least open it to clean debris off the seat. Regardless folks normally call to find the cheapest test, as they dont even want to have to do the test anyway. The money is just not there, at least that I have been able to find. I do understand the comment about using that as a tool to get customers.

Remote Pigtails
02-08-2007, 07:33 AM
I know one former L irrigator who makes a living doing backflows and it isn't on spr sys. He got away from that because it wasn't worth the trouble and does restaurants, business, hospitals, etc that require yearly testing. It is a business that you need to be set up for and he can repair on the spot. Has every backflow part you can imagine. Alot of companies try to get an in house guy to do it. Since we only seem to check brand new systems that are still under warranty and don't deal with the HO but the contractor the opportunity for new customers is limited.

I have avoided getting backflow certified. One because I knew I would never have time to do them. A bigger reason is because if I am bckflw crtfd and i'm on a property with bckflw problems I feel that my exposure to liability risks are greater. I tell customers when they have backflow problems. Try to appeal to their civic responsibilities. Explain to them that not all choices in life are consumer choices and then give them a price on replacing it. At that point I feel I have done my duty.

Repairs
02-08-2007, 09:42 AM
I know one former L irrigator who makes a living doing backflows and it isn't on spr sys. He got away from that because it wasn't worth the trouble and does restaurants, business, hospitals, etc that require yearly testing. It is a business that you need to be set up for and he can repair on the spot. Has every backflow part you can imagine. Alot of companies try to get an in house guy to do it. Since we only seem to check brand new systems that are still under warranty and don't deal with the HO but the contractor the opportunity for new customers is limited.

I have avoided getting backflow certified. One because I knew I would never have time to do them. A bigger reason is because if I am bckflw crtfd and i'm on a property with bckflw problems I feel that my exposure to liability risks are greater. I tell customers when they have backflow problems. Try to appeal to their civic responsibilities. Explain to them that not all choices in life are consumer choices and then give them a price on replacing it. At that point I feel I have done my duty.

I would most likely not mess with getting certified today, but I will continute to renew mine. I do think on the larger valves, in applications where there is enforcement, there is money to be made. Like I said before though to work on a valve in a plumbing system you must be a licensed plumber.

Mad Estonian
02-08-2007, 01:22 PM
For those of you testing backflow assemblies, do you need a special license to do so, or do you just need the equipment

I think pretty much everywhere you need to be certified, I'm sure you would in Washington. I'm just across the border here, but Wash. and BC are both in the Pacific NW Section of the AWWA (Amer. Water Works Assoc.), so the rules are the same. I had to take the equivalent of a week's full-time course, and pass a test. (Pullman, eh? Sorry, I pull for the Huskies, but nice to see WSU doing well on the court).

In my area the preferred method of testing is vertical tube for double checks and we use the gauge when testing RP's. What do you other testers use and how long is your certification good for, here it is 3 years.

We follow the USC testing standards, so it's all gauge for RPs and PVBs, combination of gauge and sight tube for DCs. Certification is for 1 year, have to do a minimum of 2 tests annually on each type of assembly to renew, though the school and the purveyor both have workshops where you can go and do the tests if you need to. They'e going to start making you take a refresher course every 3 years or something too.

PurpHaze
02-08-2007, 09:57 PM
UW, WSU, USC... Sounds like a PAC-10 thingy. :)

Mad Estonian
02-09-2007, 01:19 AM
UW, WSU, USC... Sounds like a PAC-10 thingy

Of course, hockey's the only sport that REALLY matters...:canadaflag:

PurpHaze
02-09-2007, 08:09 AM
Personally I'd rather watch the female curlers. Man when they got the hammer and they go through those squatting gyrations to get the stone (or is it rock?) headed in the right direction and at the right speed... can't be beat. :laugh:

Mad Estonian
02-09-2007, 11:10 PM
No other sport I know of involves women screaming "Hurry hard! Hurry hard!" either. But the tennis players have it for groans and moans.

aric43085
02-10-2007, 02:07 AM
In Ohio you have to be a certified plumber or 5 years in plumbing. I hear it's pretty easy to get licenced in Texas. (18 years old)

zman9119
02-10-2007, 02:34 AM
In Illinois you have to be a master plumber to certify. So, 5-7 years of plumbing work, plus your CCCDI (or whatever it is) from IEPA.

Damn unions. They wonder why people go with non-union workers. Its because they 1. limit who can do the work 2. make their rate way too high. Sorry, rant over. It just pisses me off when I have to pay someone 90$+ an hour. I am not 100% anti-union, just pretty much. I grew up in a town that lost four major companies in the last 10 years due to unions (plus 3 of the largest union strikes in the last 30+ years in the US). It was a town of 100,000 now down to 80,000-. Sorry trying not to steal this thread.


.mz

aric43085
02-10-2007, 02:45 AM
zman, sometimes you can get certified after you take the Water Distribution or Water Treatment course. Check your local prerequisites.

koster_irrigation
02-10-2007, 07:42 AM
i got certified though my local water dept. they hold a class at our community college every other year for recertifications and if there is enough people to hold a new class (at least 10 i think) they will start a new one. 20 hrs recertification and 40 for the newbies.

i think backflow testing is a good money maker, im starting to see quite a few people get their license. and ive seen a few drop their license for what reason i dont know.


i use 2 Midwest 830's which are required to be certified annualy. i send one in the spring and the other in the summer

i charge 65 residential and 85 commercial

this year i'll test at least 400

Remote Pigtails
02-10-2007, 08:32 AM
Damn unions. They wonder why people go with non-union workers. Its because they 1. limit who can do the work 2. make their rate way too high. Sorry, rant over. It just pisses me off when I have to pay someone 90$+ an hour. I am not 100% anti-union, just pretty much. I grew up in a town that lost four major companies in the last 10 years due to unions (plus 3 of the largest union strikes in the last 30+ years in the US). It was a town of 100,000 now down to 80,000-. Sorry trying not to steal this thread.


Zman-you would love Texas. We are the extreme opposite when it comes to unions. Still have to battle unlicensed contractors though. The irrigators exam is not difficult and should be passed by anybody who is c plus or better in high school. The problem is they rarely have hands on experience. My 22 year old who has worked for me 4 years, got licensed while working with me, said he practically taught his last CEU electrical troubleshooting class. Knew more than the instructor. This a quiet kid too. Most of the good irrigators don't speak or read english well enough to pass. My 250lb sub has been doing irrigation for 22 years but could never pass the exam.

Repairs
02-10-2007, 10:28 AM
I am fairly sure, but heard that in texas you will need 2 years experience either as irrigator, plumber, wastewater etc. as well as the courses to get certified.