FREEZING ahead in Houston Weather - Winterize your Sprinklers
With the warmers days here in Houston, it is easy to forget that the Houston Tx weather can drop below freezing during the night and early mornings. This drop in temperature can cause damage to your sprinklers. You should take the time now to shut off your sprinklers - particularly to protect the PVB pressure vacuum breaker.
How to turn off you sprinklers depends upon the type of sprinkler system you have. The great news is that there are LOTS of videos on how to turn off your sprinkler and videos on how to winterize your sprinklers. Even if you don't know what type of sprinkler you have, the pictures in the videos will give you determine if the instructions are for your type of sprinkler.
December 2011, Houston WATR News did a great peice on Winterizing your sprinkler system, irrigation system backflow freeze prevention as seen below.
Be sure to check to see if there are other tasks you need to do to winterize your sprinklers. Depending upon your sprinklers, you may wish to contact a company to blow out the water in your sprinkler lines to prevent cracking due to settled water that freezes in the line. Sometimes you can just turn the sprinkler valves to open them and let the water drain out. However, if you have had problems in the past, it will be worth the small fee to have the lines blown out.
Because there are so many variations on sprinklers, it is best for you to go to YouTube or other search engine and search for topics like "blowing out sprinklers" or "draining sprinklers".
Below is a quick summary of the steps to winterize your sprinklers...
There are 2 techniques to protect your sprinkler system and particularly your PVB from damage. The technique you will use depends upon the sprinkler setup you have.
If you have a main cut off, first turn it off. Next take a flat tip screw driver and turn both of the two small test values and let the run until the water stops - like on the video from Houston WATR News. Next, use the manual function of the control panel for your sprinkler system to run zone one for 5 seconds. This should relieve all of the pressure from your exposed sprinkler pipes and PVB. (The main shut off value was not standard until required by TCEQ in 2010). It is generally a simple plastic gate valve (T handle) located under a round green cap on a line somewhere between the main water utility meter and the PVB valve.)
If you do not have a main cut off, first turn off valves 2 & 3 so that the handles cross the pipe in a "t". Then open the test valves to bleed off water in the PVB - like on the video from Houston WATR News. Next use the manual function of your control panel to run zone one for 5 seconds. Finally, return valve 3 to a position parallel with the pipe, but leave valve 2 across the pipe in the off position.
Remember, if you are not sure of what to do, use YouTube videos or other video sources to see how they are doing it. And when in doubt, call a professional!
As a Houston resident, I know the many ins and outs of homeownership and living in Houston. I hope you have enjoyed this article. Oh, and by the way, if you are thinking of buying a home or selling your exisiting home, give me - Jason Gracey of RE/MAX Vintage - a call at (281) 376-2755