Preventing a Backflow Device Freeze

October 26, 2012

Preventing a Backflow Device Freeze

If your sprinkler system has not yet been winterized, the upcoming freeze can cause serious damage to your backflow device.

Here are three emergency measures you can take to stop your backflow from freezing.

Option 1 – Heating Tape:
Go to your local hardware store and purchase ‘Heating Tape’. Heating tape is essentially a heating blanket in the form of tape. Plug it into the nearest outlet (you may need an extension cord) and then wrap the tape around your backflow device.
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Option 2 – Blanket/Towels + Trash Can/Bag:
Use towels or blankets to securely wrap your backflow device. After the backflow is thoroughly wrapped, place a plastic trash can (or trash bag if no can is available) on top of the wrapped device.

Option 3 – Drain Your Backflow Prevention Device:
1. Locate your sprinkler system’s controller and switch it to the ‘OFF’ position. This step is especially important if you have a pump. A pump will become severely damaged if it dry runs.
2. Locate the water shutoff valve for your irrigation system. The valve will be in your basement connected to your house’s copper water line. It will most likely be a ball valve, but some are gate valves. They usually have a yellow handle, sometimes blue. Slowly turn off the valve.
3. Using the diagram below as a reference, partially open all four test cocks. Caution: do not stand directly in front of the test cocks- there will be a temporary spray of water. Use a flat head screwdriver to open the test cocks and leave them open when you are done.
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Please note: the procedures described above are not backflow device or sprinkler system winterization. These procedures are to be used as a temporary method to protect the device from freezing for a short amount of time. Additionally, these procedures are effective for quick freezes, but, do not guarantee freezing will not occur. It is imperative that you have your system winterized as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Your Service Team at Allen Outdoor Solutions