PRINT THESE INSTRUCTIONS BY CLICKING LINK AT TOP LEFT. WATCH THE HELPFUL HOW-TO VIDEO BY CLICKING THE ICON AT TOP RIGHT.
October 17th is the average date for Omaha’s first freeze, according to the National Weather Forecast Office. So if a freeze threatens BEFORE we can shutdown and winterize your sprinkler system, here’s what you should do to protect your pipes from freezing:
1. Start by shutting off the water to your sprinkler system. The shutoff valve should be located in your basement. Most shutoff valves are ball valves that have a handle. If the handle is running with the pipe, the water is turned on to the system. To shut the water off, turn the handle 90 degrees until it stops. Typically, the handle has a “stopper” so that you cannot turn it too far.
2. Next, locate the backflow preventer on the outside of your house. This device is small and made of metal. A pipe runs from the house into the backflow preventer and another pipe runs out the backflow preventer and into the ground.
3. Turn the two valve handles on the backflow preventer about 45 degrees so that they are half open/half shut. You also will need to take a flat head screwdriver and open the two test ports on the side of the backflow device. NOTE: If your test ports have caps (usually black plastic) remove the caps first before opening the ports.
4. If there are any other drains or valves near the backflow preventer on the outside of your house, open them to drain the water out. If there are no drains on the outside of your house, there is probably a drain in the basement of your home near the shutoff valve. When opening the inside drain, have a bucket ready to catch the draining water. Leave all drains open during the winter. For an inside drain, leave a bucket underneath. Note: Most systems will have either drains on the outside or one on the inside, not both.
5. If you have an inside drain, check it regularly after completing Step #4 to make sure it stops dripping. If it is still dripping a couple days after being opened, either the shutoff valve isn’t closed all the way or the shutoff valve is going bad and needs to be replaced by a plumber.
That’s it. When we come out, we will complete
Steps 6 & 7:
6. We will use an air compressor to blow all of the water out of your lines.
7. We will shut down your controller.
If an unexpected freeze does happen, completing steps 1-5 is NOT a guarantee that your pipes won’t be damaged by winter freezing. However, doing so will certainly improve the odds until we can get out to your home and remove the water from your lines with an air compressor.