Clearwater Irrigation - Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

Sprinkler System Installation & Service

How to drain your backflow preventer if temperatures are less than 32 degrees.

The backflow preventer is the plumbing device attached to the outside of your house. It is the source of water to the irrigation system. Because this unit and the copper piping attached to it are exposed to the outside air, this unit can freeze and burst in only a few hours of below freezing temperatures. During the spring and fall, outside temperatures can often dip below freezing during the night. If you see forecast temperatures below 32 degrees, it is important to follow the draining procedure to prevent costly damage to your system.

1. Turn off the main shut-off valve to the system (1), typically in the basement above or near the water meter.

2. Remove the outlet drain plug or spigot (5) on the outside piping. Use adjustable wrench.

3. Turn valves (3 & 4) to a 45 degree angle (half open-closed) position.

4. Cover/wrap the backflow valve and all copper pipe with a large towel or blanket.

5. Go back into the basement and place 2-3 gallon bucket underneath drain (2) and open the drain valve. Generally, 1-2 gallons of water will empty into the bucket. When the water has drained out of the pipe close the drain valve.

6. Finally, go to sprinkler controller in the garage. Turn on controller and manually activate a sprinkler zone that is the lowest zone in your yard. Run the zone for 3-5 seconds. Doing this will drain any remaining water that is in the copper pipe above ground. This should ensure the copper pipe is empty and will not freeze. Turn controller off.

This procedure will protect your backflow preventer during freezing conditions before we winterize your system in the fall or after we start up your system in the spring.

Also, follow this same procedure to prepare for your system for fall winterization if you choose not to be home at the time of this service. Simply leave access to the system (garage access) controller and we can take care of the winterizing without the need for you to be home. Let us know if you have performed this procedure. Be sure drain in basement is closed.

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