Sprinkling system winterization. For most of you this is kind of a pain of a job. Where is this backflow device thing located? Which valves do I turn? When should it be done? In the following blog I will discuss some of the procedures, do’s and don’ts of winterizing your backflow.
Most systems that have been installed in the last 10 years should have an inground double check backflow device or anti-siphon device depending whom you talk to.
And by the way, if you never get around to doing this it’s not necessarily the end of the world. We are fortunate that the ground for the most part doesn’t freeze in the lower valley very often. That’s not to say that it never freezes, just that most folks forget to do this and then turn the clock back on with not too many problems from the past winter.
The optimum way to winterize a double check is to use compressed air by either a low volume pump or air tank. Be careful to not exceed 80 psi. Start by opening any manual drain valves down line; next, open all of the lateral valves manually by what I call cracking the solenoid ½ turn, or opening the small air relief valve ½ to one full turn; do each one separately as you blow the air through that lateral valve system.
Now you are ready to blow out the system, connect the air supply to the double check valve bleed tappets and slowly blow the air into the valve, pushing water down line from the backflow device to the lateral valve lines and out the sprinkler heads.
When finished, leave the bleed tappet valves on the double check open. I like to stuff some old rags or insulation into the box just in case for some freak reason there is a hard freeze.
If this is not possible or you just don’t want to mess with this just turn off the water supply to the double check valve and open up the bleed tappet, stuff some rags or insulation into the valve box and you should be good to go until next spring.
If you have older systems or purchased atmospheric vacuum breakers for each solenoid valve, make sure that the main water supply is off and that the device has no water in the exposed pipes or device.
This device will freeze for sure if you forget to winterize because they are above ground, if this happens replace with an inground double check valve and you will not run the risk of freezing temperatures.
Ok now that that is done it’s off to Hoodoo for some much overdue skiing. Oh yes if you want to read a much more interesting blog go to chucks page at hoodoo.com