Sprinkler guy says installing backflow is required. Scam?

Old 04-13-16, 10:20 AM
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Sprinkler guy says installing backflow is required. Scam?

I live in Texas. My irrigation system is in need of serious repairs. So I called several irrigation companies, and the two that came out to give me an estimate, all had the same story: We canít do any work on your irrigation system unless we install a double check backflow valve at the tap (at the main valve). They said it is state LAW that a backflow valve be installed at any location that doesnít have one before any repair work can be done. The cost quoted? $1100 from the first company, $1300 from the second company. This was discouraging because I already have at least $1500 worth of actual repairs that need to be done, and now I have to fork over more than a grand before they can even get started. Now, I googled this supposed law and found nothing online, nor did I find any forum discussions from other homeowners complaining of such a thing. Surely if this were true, there would be people raising hell online. Not only that, but I found these backflow valves online for less than $200, and it seems that anyone with basic copper piping skills could install one. So what am I missing? Is this a scam? And if its not a scam, am I being ripped off?
Old 04-13-16, 10:39 AM
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Double back flow preventers are now required in many/most municipal water systems. So, that part is probably not a scam. Since you've got three quotes and they are all within $400 of each other that seems to be the going rate in your area. While it may seem simple to say "install a double back flow preventer". Actually doing the work can require a fair bit of equipment and your job is likely quite small so much of the expense is simply transport the equipment to and from your site and getting set up. Where are you located? How deep is your water line buried?

But, this is a DIY site. You can do the digging yourself and you're probably permitted to install the double back flow preventer yourself. You would probably need to get a permit for the work and have it inspected but most areas will let a homeowner work on their own home.
Old 04-13-16, 05:05 PM
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In California, even a licensed plumber can't work on backflow devices, unless specifically certified.
That's not to say you will be overcharged for backflow work. Around here all it means is it's hard to find someone to come out right away.
The estimates sound fair.
Old 04-13-16, 05:18 PM
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Definitely not a scam. A backflow preventer is required on any outside faucet or connection in most areas..... if not all.
Old 04-13-16, 05:28 PM
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In Connecticut, any home with lawn irrigation and connected to a municipal water supply must have the double check valve installed between the irrigation system and the water supply, Nothing is grandfathered. Additionally, the check valves must be tested annually by a state certified technician with a report sent to the municipal water company. Current cost is $60 per year.
Old 04-13-16, 05:34 PM
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Is it known for a fact that the OP's Irrigation System is lacking the required double Back Flow Preventer ?
Old 04-13-16, 05:36 PM
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We can't see the plumbing but two different companies told him the same thing.
Old 04-14-16, 09:58 AM
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I would ask them to explain what's required. As others have said, most/all locales require backflow preventers, and some have very specific types that are required. I'm sure they can explain why it's seemingly so expensive. Maybe it's a lot of work to get it connected to the sprinkler main and get it positioned correctly? Certification?

You can also call your local building department and ask them for the specific requirements in your area.

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