When Will it Freeze?

Protect your sprinkler system from an early freeze.

We’ve enjoyed a record-breaking warm September throughout much of Colorado and even though it’s October, we’re still running our sprinkler systems!  Yet, the temperature can take a sudden nose dive into a deep freeze and that could be soon.  What is also common is that after an isolated night or two of freezing temps, temperatures usually warm up and you will may need to run the sprinklers again.   The short-lived temperature swing into the freeze zone could damage the most expensive part of your sprinkler system and even lead to property damage.  That’s why it’s important to protect it against freeze damage to keep the system in good working order until it is winterized.   The backflow prevention device is usually the single most expensive irrigation system component. It is what keeps outdoor water from backing into the water used indoors.   It’s also the most vulnerable to freeze damage.  It’s above ground, full of water and can freeze when temps hit 32 degrees.   It is most often located outdoors and somewhere close to the foundation.  Once the sprinkler system is properly winterized by blowing it out with compressed air, this device is out of danger for the winter.  But until it’s been winterized, it can still suffer damage and needs to be protected in the event of freezing temps. When the forecast calls for temps dipping down to 32 degrees, taking a few steps in a few minutes can provide the protection it needs.  And you can protect the device with everyday household items yourself.   Here’s what to do:

  • Wrap a large towel around the backflow device.
  • Cover the towel with a plastic trash bag.
  • Next, secure these items at the base of the device securely with duct tape.

The towel provides insulation against the cold, the trash bag keeps damaging moisture out and the tape holds it in place.  As long as this device remains pressurized and protected, you can continue to use the sprinkler system.   This precaution is an intermediate step until the system is properly winterized.  Once the sprinkler system has been winterized, the device no longer will need this protection. Sprinkler systems that are not winterized by blowing out the lines with compressed air will be very vulnerable to additional freeze damage.  Pipes can break and valves can also be damaged.  In the long run, proper winterization is good insurance that your sprinkler system will be just as good next spring as when it was put to bed for the winter.   To make sure your system is winterized prior to a hard freeze, it’s wise to schedule the service well in advance – even if you need water occasionally with a hose on warm days after winterization.

Please contact Designscapes Colorado at info@designscapes.org or 303.721.9003.  Thank you.

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