With the temperature over the weekend beginning February 12 and into early next week expected to reach record lows, we would like to remind everyone to take the time to inspect and insulate their household water lines.
Below we have a diagram and instructions on how best to prevent damage to your irrigation system and back flow preventer.
Protect Your Backflow Preventer
Step 1: Turn off the shut-off valve
On most residential backflow devices, there are two shut-off valves. These are typically covered in blue rubber and are located before and after the actual backflow device.
Step 2: Release the water pressure
Now that you have shut off the water valve, you must release the water that is in the device so that it doesn’t expand when it freezes and crack the device. With a flat head screwdriver, loosen the two bleeder valves (#3 and #4 as illustrated). The bleeder valves are usually located just under the plastic top of the backflow. Sometimes, they have rubber inserts you have to remove before you can see the flathead screw. When opening these, be aware that the water will spew out for a few seconds and your hands will get wet. NOTE: If the water doesn’t stop spitting out after a couple minutes, you haven’t fully turned off the water in step 1.
Step 3: Leave the smaller bleeder valves open
This will allow the water to expand and freeze without being hindered and causing damage.
Step 4: Insulate your Backflow
At almost all home improvements stores, they carry backflow preventer insulation materials.
Additionally, if your service line to your house is exposed to the air you should ensure that it is properly insulated. With an extended hard freeze a strong possibility the chance of an exposed service line freezing, cracking and then bursting when thawed is much higher. Taking these precautions now can save you time, money and a mess later.