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This page is for assistance only.  There is no implied warranty or guarantee from us that there will not be freeze damage to your system under any circumstances.

If there is an impending hard freeze coming and your system is currently "on" (not winterized), here is what to do. 

 

Step 1

- Shut off your sprinkler system's water source, usually in the basement or crawlspace.  (For round handles, use “righty tighty, lefty loosy” principle.  For levered handles, make the handle perpendicular to the pipe.)

 Have a bucket ready near the shutoff valve inside. If you have someone else handy to hold the bucket, you can proceed to the outside steps. If you are doing this by yourself, you can wait and do the following after the outside steps. 

- Open drain cap.  Put a towel or bucket under it, because while water may or may not drain out just yet, it will during the following steps. 

 (Here are some examples of shutoff valves to help you locate yours)

Shutoff3copy.jpg
Shutoff2copy.jpg
Shutoff1copy.jpg

 

 

 

Step 2

 

- Locate your backflow valve (some systems may not have one).  This is usually right outside the house, anywhere from one to five feet above the ground.  The pipe from the shutoff valve (pictured above) will run through the wall of your basement to the outside, leading to your backflow valve. Below are some examples of what your backflow looks like in the on, or summer, position.  Handles are parallel to pipes and petcock screws are perpendicular.

 

BackflowPetcocks3Oncopy.jpg
Backflow3Oncopy.jpg
Backflow2Oncopy.jpg
Backflow1Oncopy.jpg

Step 3

 

Turn handles and petcocks to diagonal positions - you may need to use gloves for the large handles, and a flat-head screwdriver for the small petcocks.  (Water will drain from the now-open pipe in your basement once you do this.)  Note that handles and petcocks are slanted at 45 degree angles from the pipes that they are attached to.  DO NOT turn handles to a fully closed position, and make sure petcocks are at a slanted position too.  Fully closing pipes can trap water behind your ball valves and cause freeze damage as well. Once you are finished, this is what your backflow valve should look like:

(This is what your backflow should look like in the drained, or winter, position.)

BackflowPetcocks3Drainedcopy.jpg
BackflowPetcocks1Drainedcopy.jpg
Backflow3Drainedcopy.jpg
Backflow1Drainedcopy.jpg
Backflow2Drainedcopy.jpg

Step 4 (not needed until temperatures stay consistently below freezing for a few days)

One extra step that some people like to do is to open the drain in your valve box, or "manifold box" (usually in the ground with a green lid on top).  Many valve boxes DO NOT have drains.  The drain handles look like a metal "X".  This is only necessary if temps stay below freezing for several days.  Late fall and early spring freezes typically will not do any damage to your box in the ground (the ground is warm at this point and will keep everything thawed in the box).

DrainBoxcopy.jpg

Step 5

- If you haven't already done so, open the drain cap in the basement. Water will pour out of the pipe.

- Run a cycle on your timer.  Even though the water is now turned off, this ensures that any remaining water in the pipes will drain to ground level. 

Step 6 

Turn off your sprinkler timer.