You might not think much of the short winter season we endure in the North Houston suburbs, but you’d be remiss not to prepare for it. The last few years we have seen a freeze last up to a week. This freeze can wreak havoc on irrigation systems that are not properly winterized. While you don’t need a full blow-out as they do up north, there are a few steps you should take to avoid costly freezes.
Turn Off Your Timer/Irrigation Controller
By turning the system off, your programming will be saved for next year, and you don’t have to worry about the water running when it is freezing outside.
Turn Off the Water
Locate your backflow device or pressure vacuum breaker. It should be on the side of your house near the meter box. Turn off the main water line that goes into your backflow preventer.
Turn on the irrigation system manually to release pressure and let water drain out of the lines. If a lot of water comes out, the water main is not shut off completely.
Open the backflow preventer valves to drain out the remaining water and pressure from the unit.
Insulate As Much As Possible
There is still a column of water below the water valve in many backflow devices. That water can freeze and break the pipe. Even if that is not so in your unit, it is important to make sure you insulate every pipe or valve that is above ground. Plastic bags and self-sticking foam insulation tape usually works well. You can find it at most hardware stores along with foam insulating tubes.
What if My Irrigation System Freezes?
The most frequent problem in Spring and The Woodlands occurs when water in the backflow device/pressure vacuum breaker freezes, expands and bursts the entire backflow preventer. A broken backflow preventer will look like a geyser on the side of your house as the temperatures get back above freezing and the main water line is still on.
This will cost $300+ to replace the backflow preventer plus the cost of untold gallons of wasted water if you don’t catch it right away.
Call us and we’ll be happy to prepare your irrigation system for winter. We also can replace backflow preventers should yours become a victim of freezing weather. Call today for all of your irrigation needs.