HK Laundry Equipment Inc.

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February 25, 2014
RPZ Valve
Fun Stuff
HK Weekly Parts Specials

Washer Internal Air Breaker
(also known as a Siphon Breaker)

  Vacuum Breakers (used on individual water faucets)

Vacuum Breaker (Used on both the Hot & Cold washer supply lines) 



Double Check Valve



     RPZ Valve     


Approved Engineering Plans (for RPZ)

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HK Laundry News

HK offers this quick 5 minute Newsletter to inform our customers and prospective customers of important industry topics, up-coming events, industry news and HK Special Promotions.  HK will only send out these Newsletters when we believe we have something important to say.  We truly respect your time.
RPZ Valve (another hidden plumbing cost) 

What is an RPZ Valve?  RPZ stands for Reduce Pressure Zone Valve which is a device that is connected to your main water service usually right after the water meter.  The RPZ valve protects the entire water supply system from cross contamination from your Laundromat.


The RPZ valve is mandated for most Laundromats in our area.  If you have an old Laundromat that has been operating since 1967 (like our Briarcliff Laundromat) then you probable do not have an RPZ valve in your store.  Be aware that once you file for a building permit for any kind of renovation, you will be required to submit plans and install some type of back flow protection device.  This was exactly the case with my Briarcliff Laundromat.  Water supply providers (either through your city, town or through a private water company) have been concerned about contamination of their entire water supply system.  Contamination can come from several different sources such as contaminated water supply at the source, broken pipes or from existing customers like Laundromats.  


The water supply industry considers Laundromats as "hazardous" usage because we wash clothes with many different chemicals.  If there is a negative pressure on the water supply system, contaminated water from the Laundromat could potentially enter the water supply and contaminate the entire water supply system.


You may have heard recently there was a chemical spill in West Virginia in the Elk River that contaminated the water supply for several thousand residents who take their water from the local river.  Contamination of the water supply system is a very expensive proposition and the possibility of civil lawsuits escalates the potential loss to the water supply company.  So contamination of the water supply system is a real and ever present concern for these water supply companies.  They have started to mandate devices that will prevent contamination of their water supply system. 


There are several devices that will provide protection to the water supply system.  Below is a quick list of protection devices starting with the cheapest and ranging to the most expensive:

  • Air Break - built into most modern washers,
  • Small Vacuum Breakers - on each washer supply hose (both Hot & Cold lines),
  • Vacuum Breakers  - on the washer supply main water lines (both Hot & Cold Water lines),
  • Double Check Valve - on the main water line,
  • RPZ Valve - on the main water line,

Mostly every modern washer has a siphon breaker or air break that is built into the washing machine.  The siphon breaker is the plastic devices which all of the water has to pass through before the water enters the washer drum.  The siphon breaker is the device where all the internal water supply hoses go before the water enters the washer drum.  In actuality any Laundromat with modern washers with air breakers is already protected form cross contamination.  Unfortunately most water supply companies and building departments do not consider the internal siphon breaker as adequate protection and therefore require additional protection devices.


Some municipalities will consider small vacuum breakers that you screw on the water faucets and then hook up to the washer fill hoses.  These vacuum breakers always seem to leak water and create a damp environment behind your washers.  Most everyone who has had to install these individual valves removes them after they receive their C of O.  So this is not a very effective device to prevent contamination.


Permanently installed vacuum breakers on the main Hot & Cold water lines are a better solution to protecting the water supply.  Although these valves are expensive this is a better solution than 40 small leaking valves.  In this case the vacuum breaker is protecting and isolating the entire (hot or cold) washer water supply line.  


A Double Check Valve is a self contained device that is installed just after the water meter on the incoming water supply line.  Because this is installed just after the meter only one valve is required and it will protect the entire Laundromat, not just the washer water line.  The Double check valve does not require any maintenance.  It is an install and forget device that is more than adequate to protect the water supply system.


The RPZ valve is the "ultimate" in water supply protection and is only required for "hazardous" applications.  Westchester County Health department still classifies Laundromats as "hazardous" application and requires an RPZ valve in every Laundromat to protect the water supply system.  The RPZ valve consists of two independent check valves, plumbed in series, with a pressure monitored chamber between.  The chamber is maintained at a pressure that is lower than the water supply pressure, but high enough to be useful downstream.  The reduced pressure is guaranteed by a differential pressure relief valve, which automatically relieves excess pressure in the chamber by discharging to a drain.  Four test cocks are installed to allow an inspector to verify proper operation of the valve with a differential pressure meter.  RPZ valves usually need to be tested every year and is a much more expensive device to install.   


In Westchester County before you can install an RPZ Valve you need to have engineering drawings submitted to the local plumbing department who then forwards them to the Westchester County Health department for approval or denial.  Once approval (which usually takes 4-6 weeks) the paperwork comes back to the local plumbing department and then back to the owner.  Then the Laundromat owner has to contact a plumber to purchase and install the RPZ valve according to the approved plans.  All together with engineering drawings, fees and the cost of the plumbing this procedure can cost anywhere between $3,000 - 7,000.  Fortunately this is just a one time fee, but that is still a lot of quarters.     


My suggestion is if you do not have an RPZ valve, keep on flying under the radar of the water supply company.  If you are forced to install some type of cross contamination control device, opt for the cheapest and easiest method.  Get your local equipment distributor involved and see if they have documentation on your washers that could avoid the expense and hassle of installing an RPZ valve in your Laundromat.  Keep on requesting less intensive options.  In my Briarcliff Laundromat, I was trying for a double check valve rather than the "nuclear" approach of the RPZ valve.  If you have to install the RPZ valve, just remember that this is a onetime charge and you and your Laundromat are protected.   


Negotiate with your building department to open your store as quickly as possible, and not to delay the opening due to delays in installing the RPZ valve.  Our Briarcliff Laundromat just had our RPZ plans approved last week and that was a work-in-progress since November (about 3 months).  We were allowed to open our Laundromat before installing the RPZ valve.  We were showing "good faith" in hiring an engineer and started the process of for the RPZ valve.  Remember to treat your building department fairly and that they should do the same for you.  Even though I told the inspector we were in contract with an engineer, my inspector made a call just to make sure I had done what I had promised.  Treat the building department with respect and respect should be provided.  Dis-respect the building department and expect things to get double back to you.



    Fun Stuff ...
                          (must be a household of boys....) 
HK Parts Specials:
HU70136101 Dryer Overlay   


Overlay for Huebsch Stack Dryers

List Price $ 35.76

HK Special Pricing $ 16.09 


  HU70298701 (Red rollers)    


Rollers for Huebsch / Speed Queen Dryers

List Price $ 30.89

HK Special Pricing $ 16.98


Call Anthony at 1-800-229-4572 or


to take advantage of these

Weekly Parts Specials.

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HK is a family run business that has been providing "Un-Compromising Quality since 1967".  That is 47 years of trust, respect, and loyalty to our customers.  HK Newsletters is our forum to help educate our customers on important topics in the Laundry Industry.  HK is committed to educating newbies and veterans alike.  Please let us know how we are doing and (obviously) if there is any topic or subject you would like to know more about, please email me at
Best Regards,


Karl Hinrichs

HK Laundry Equipment Inc.  Facebook