Sunday, October 11, 2009


Dh left me a list of stuff to do and how to do it. Now that the weather has gotten colder it was time for me to shut off and drain the sprinklers. Unfortunately Colorado got hit with a very sudden cold snap sending us into freezing temperatures very quickly. By the time I realized the sprinkler lines needed to be drained I didn't have the time to do them they way Dh told me to.

Here's his list...

Shut down: At first freeze
1. Shut sprinkler water line off in basement.
2. Open cap on line in basement. Cover to drain into bucket
3. Open valve at on backflow outside with a flathead screwdriver. Let water drain into bucket in basement.
4. Run sprinklers though full cycle. A minute or two on each zone.
5. Close outside valve at backflow, and cap nipple on the line in the basement. Empty bucket.
6. Make sure Mom’s was done too.

and here's what I did...
1. shut off sprinkler water line in basement. check!
2. open cap on line in basement. Cover to drain into bucket.

and here is where the plan changes. Step 3 takes place outside and it was already dark out. So I decided to leave it for later and hope for the best.

That night temperatures dropped to the 20s! But I had left the line open in the basement and it was still dripping all night.

The following moring it was still bitter cold out, but I tried to complete the list. However, there was no difference and I noticed ice crystals in the valve. oops!

Today was much warmer.

When Darly & I returned from Church this morning I noticed copious amounts of water flowing down our street...on the other side from our house. As I pulled into our garage I look and see that the water is shooting like OLD FAITHFUL from my neighbor's backflow valve! I knew that she couldn't be home or she would have heard that much water running.
So I ran next door to see if our neighbor could come and help get the valve shut off. He wasn't home but his oldest kid offered to call him...meanwhile I head over.
Luckily the person who installed her sprinkler system (probably the first owner who was extreemly smart!) also installed a shut off valve right under the backflow. Although I got drenched on my right side, I was able to shut off the water quite easily.
I then talked to the neighbor across the street and learned that they had noticed the problem and had tried knocking on her door. They promised to get the owner's phone number in case anything like that happened again. I also told my nextdoor neighbor's son that I got the line shut off.

After that fun, I went to my own backflow valve to check it. Everything seemed fine...water was still dripping in the basement (I had rigged it so the water was dripping straight into our sump mess). So since it was warmer, I decided to complete my check list.

I was now able to open the valve and I heard noise of air rushing in it! And sure enough when I checked the basement, the water had splashed on my splash guard. woo hoo! I then tried blowing air in the valve like DH does, more splashing. YAY! However I couldn't get the sprinklers to do anything when I turned on the system. Normally they spit and sputter.

So I left the valves open all day dripping and closed the outside valves this evening. The line is still dripping inside, so I figured I would let it drip until either it dries up or I can hire someone to blow out the lines.

Wish me luck!


  1. I'm suddenly in less of a hurry to own a home.

  2. yikes! such 'acitement!!

  3. Wow, those were like David Puddy's instructions on how to install a garbage disposal in the shower.

  4. Wishing you with luck with the list!!

  5. Whew! Now you've got me wondering about our pipes, even though we don't get your low temps. I noticed a plug in the crawl space shortly after we got here and DH said it's wrapped around the water pipes so it must be some sort of heating system.

    I guess those 20s did in your heirloom tomatoes, huh?