Almost every lawn in the United States is subject to severe winter weather, especially the new Polar Vortex that has hit the states. This Vortex has caused many people to rethink their pipe protection and backflow prevention devices. In order to make sure that your home is prepared for when the polar vortex is over and everything starts to melt, you might need to run out and do some shopping.
Recent history shows that areas most vulnerable to damage from sudden frozen temperatures are those in the southern portions of the country because they are not prepared or acclimated to long periods of freezing temperatures. For this reason, it is critical that every home owner prepare for problems during the winter weather.
As you might expect, the most common types of sprinkler problems during the winter months are freezing water in your pipes. Two problems that are most prevalent: water accumulating in sprinkler systems from the compressed air in the sprinkler pipes, and improper insulation of backflow devices.
When a backflow device is not winterized and freezes, it will expand along with the frozen water inside of it, causing a few different things to happen; the bonnet and poppet assembly could freeze causing it to blow apart and water will run all over until it is shut off, if your valve brakes, it will be another problem and will be extremely costly to fix. When you go to turn on your irrigation, water will flow freely from the broken backflow and you might even have non-potable water rushing into your potable water inside of your home. If you do not become aware of any breakage with your backflow, this will lead the way for a very unsatisfactory year of lawn maintenance and possibly health care bills if you ingest any water from the backflow device.
What To Do:
Turn the water off
Replace broken part
Drain the backflow
Turn the valve handle at a 45 degree angle
Wrap the device with a towel
Wrap everything with a plastic bag then tape or secure in place.