By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator
With freezing temperatures in the forecast starting Thursday, it’s time for a quick chemistry lesson.
Water expands on freezing, so water left in sprinkler systems can freeze, expand the pipe, and bam – you have a big, messy water leak. But if you take the appropriate precautions in advance, you can protect your water pipes and irrigation systems – and avoid the muddy mess.
Before the Freeze
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses from outside faucets.
- Insulate exposed pipes or faucets in unheated areas with a Styrofoam cover, rags, or paper.
- Find your master water shutoff valve and make sure everyone knows where it’s located. You can usually find it between the water meter and the building.
- Drain your in-ground sprinkler system, including the backflow prevention device, then turn off the water to your system.
- Wrap or cover exposed PVC pipes and above-ground backflow preventers.
- Set your irrigation controller to OFF and leave it there. If the controller isn’t turned off, it will run.
- Pay close attention to exposed backflow prevention devices. They can cause significant leaks – often in the form of geysers – if they freeze.
During the Freeze
- Don’t run your irrigation system. It’s not only a violation of city ordinance, but the runoff can freeze on streets and sidewalks, creating a hazard for drivers and pedestrians.
- Again, if the controller isn’t in the OFF position, it will run. Note that some controllers lose their programming during a power outage. When they’re plugged back in, they revert to the default mode to water every day. So don’t unplug your controller.
Report water leaks to College Station Utilities 24-Hour Dispatch at 855-528-4278. Please don’t call 911 to report water or electricity outages.
For more information, contact me at 979-764-6223 or email@example.com.
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