Prepare Your PVB and Pipes For A Freeze

Categories Irrigation & Drainage Landscaping Lawn Maintenance

Prepare Your PVB and Pipes For A Freeze

Cold weather is on the way! Freezing temperatures don’t happen too often in Houston, but when they do, it’s important to prepare! Taking the time to prepare your yard for the freeze could save you hundreds of dollars on burst pipes and plant replacement.


Our irrigation systems are simply not made to withstand multiple days below freezing-however by properly draining your back flow and depressurizing the sprinkler lines, we can limit the damage. There are so many variables that can cause one residents irrigation to freeze and the next door neighbors not to freeze, the biggest being is your backflow preventer (the bell on the side of your home) being exposed to the north.

Take these steps to properly winterize your irrigation system: 

Turn off the shut-off valve

On most residential backflow devices, there are two shut-off valves. These are typically covered in blue rubber and are located before and after the actual backflow device.

Release the water pressure

Now that you have shut off the water valve, you must release the water that is in the device so that it doesn’t expand when it freezes and crack the device. With a flat head screwdriver, loosen the two bleeder valves (#3 and #4 as illustrated). The bleeder valves are usually located just under the plastic top of the backflow. Sometimes, they have rubber inserts you have to remove before you can see the flathead screw. When opening these, be aware that the water will spew out for a few seconds and your hands will get wet.  NOTE: If the water doesn’t stop spitting out after a couple minutes, you haven’t fully turned off the water in step 1.

Leave the smaller bleeder valves open

This will allow the water to expand and freeze without being hindered and causing damage.

Insulate your Backflow

At almost all home improvements stores, they carry backflow preventer insulation materials.

Frozen pipes are one of the biggest property damage risks when the temperature drops. When water freezes inside a pipe, it expands and can burst pipes and cause extensive damage.

Use these tips to prevent your pipes from freezing:

Drain water from garden hoses

The water inside a garden hose can freeze and back up into the spigot until it reaches your pipes.

Protect Hose Bibs

Wrap exposed hose bibs (or pipe) with insulators like a foam pipe sleeve or a outdoor sock faucet cover.

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