By Rose Morrison
Plumbing is one of the most profitable subcontracting careers out there. According to Money magazine, it is the sixth highest paid job this does not require a diploma and offers reliable job security. Backflow prevention training and certification can take these benefits further.
Backflow occurs when the water flow shifts within a pipe system, causing non-potable liquids to flow back to clean water. This can pollute the water people use to cleanse or drink, leading to a wide variety of problems. It is also a preventable problem, but it takes a certified expert to install and test the necessary equipment.
Because backflow prevention is one of the most fundamental elements of system design and installation, many plumbers may forego certification and consider it unnecessary. But this can cause them to miss out on a world of opportunities. This is why every plumber should pursue a backflow prevention certification.
Back flow is common
Plumbers and contractors as a whole have the option of getting certified in a range of specialties. Many of these may seem like small niches, which can improve things in some areas, but may not be necessary. Backflow prevention is not a niche. Instead, a surprisingly common problem is addressed.
Back flow comes from cross connections. These are areas where a water supply can come into contact with non-potable liquids, gases or solids. These cross connections are everywhere, including garden hoses, which just happen to be most common source of backflow in the US Because these connections are so common, backflow is a common problem across the country.
More than 1,000 backflow incidents can occur in one state each year. As long as there are cross connections in water systems, this is an issue that requires certified professionals. Plumbers can be confident that they will use their certification.
Backflow entails health risks
Another reason all plumbers should pursue backflow prevention certification is that this is a potentially dangerous issue. When contaminated liquids end up in clean water supplies, it can cause significant health problems. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) included 57 outbreaks of waterborne diseases of relapses over 17 years, leading to more than 9,700 cases of illness.
Even in a country with as much clean water as the US, it is 7.15 million waterborne illnesses a year. While backflows are not responsible for all of these cases, it makes a significant contribution. Plumbers with the right certification can help fight these diseases.
Certified plumbers can take backflow prevention measures during the construction phase of a building. In this way, they prevent these health risks from arising from the start. Otherwise, problems could arise in the future and another plumber will have to come and fix the situation, hopefully before anyone gets sick.
Backflow prevention can be profitable
On a less serious note, plumbers may want to pursue this certification for business reasons. Plumbing is already a potentially profitable profession and deserves one median wage of $ 55,160 a year. Getting certified in backflow testing and prevention can increase revenue due to a number of factors.
First, this certification increases the services a plumber can provide, giving them a bargaining chip for a higher pay. Preventing back flow includes installing new equipment in a piping system, not just addressing a problem in the piping itself. The employees who do this can charge their customers more to cover the extra costs.
Second, backflow equipment requires regular testing and maintenance to ensure it is operating properly. That means that every time a plumber installs these systems, chances are they will get repeat business from that customer. These equipment checks are a constant, consistent source of payment in addition to a plumber’s regular job.
Backflow prevention certification can attract customers
Backflow certification can also help plumbers reach more potential customers. Considering how common a problem backlash can be, many clients will look for qualified professionals in their field. If plumbers advertise their certification, these customers will find it faster and do more work.
Customers may not be aware of the need for certification in this area, but that doesn’t diminish advertising power. A quick Google search for “backflow prevention” or “backflow testing” will attract certified professionals in the area. By being able to advertise these services, plumbers can show up on these searches and reach new customers.
Backflow certification can stand out even for people who don’t have related issues. Certificates, in general, demonstrate commitment to the profession (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/346287) and build trust with potential customers. This demonstration of a plumber’s knowledge and reliability can help them differentiate themselves from all competitors.
How to get certified in backflow prevention
Plumbers looking to get backflow certifications have a number of options.
As with many other types of certifications, multiple organizations offer training and licensing so that plumbers can choose what suits them best. In general, larger organizations are a better choice as potential customers are more likely to recognize their name.
Within any organization, there can be multiple certifications that a plumber could pursue. These often differ by their particular field, so contractors need to decide which one is best for the job they want to perform. What the process looks like from there can vary depending on the organization and specific certification.
Some organizations, such as the American Backflow Prevention Association (https://www.abpa.org/page/Tester_Cert), only need a test, not a specific training. But if a plumber has not trained in this area, he is unlikely to pass the exam. Other certification programs include classes and hands-on training before testing a plumber’s skills.
Most, if not all, certification boards will eventually expire a plumber’s credentials. They will then have to retest to renew their certification in order to continue to advertise and provide these services. This extension may require taking the same test again, but some organizations, such as the Institute of Cross-Connection (https://backflowinstitute.com/training/) offer several recertification courses and tests.
Every plumber should consider backflow certification
Backflow prevention certification can advance any plumber’s career. It increases the scope of work they can do, attracts new clients, increases wages and helps them avoid health risks. The certification process is also relatively simple and short, providing these benefits without a significant investment.
As the country’s water infrastructure ages, these issues can become increasingly prominent, adding to the need for certified backflow workers. With the right credentials, plumbers can make an already sought-after and profitable business even more successful.
Rose Morrison is a freelance writer working on construction, home improvement, and contract topics. She is also the editor-in-chief of Renovated.com, a site dedicated to the latest trends in the housing industry. She is passionate about innovative technologies that make the home industry sustainable and efficient. Checking out Renovated.com to see more of her work.