Backflow Tests Prevent Sprinkler System Mishaps

Spring is the time to make sure your irrigation system weathered Portland’s winter. Summer is fast approaching, and before the rush is on, you should get your sprinkler system inspected and, if needed, repaired.

Oregon’s biggest metropolitan area typically has a few icy days each winter. This past season, Portland had several extended periods of snow and ice. The harsh weather may have taken a toll on your plumbing and sprinkler system.

Before your irrigation system makes its seasonal debut, here’s what you need to do to make your home irrigation-friendly.

A Backflow Device Requires a Professional Inspection.

Backflow devices are required for in-ground sprinkler systems. These devices should be inspected yearly by a certified tester.

Before using your irrigation system for the first time this season, contact Meticulous Plumbing for an inspection.

Backflow is when water flows in the reverse direction from normal flow. It happens when differential pressure exists between two points in your sprinkler system.

Backflow can lead to contamination of potable water. It’s a dangerous situation that can threaten the health of your family and neighbors.

Avoid a Pressure Surge

A rush of pressure can burst pipes and break valves. Bypass surges by slowly opening the main water valve. Pipes will fill with water gradually.

The first time you turn on the main water valve, you should test the water pressure. Systems with excess pressure can break pipes, valves and sprinkler heads. You can buy a water pressure gauge at a home improvement store. The gauge attaches to the faucet.

Your system will have a recommended range. Usually that will be 45- 65 PSI. If the pressure is too high, you’ll need a pressure regulator.

Wait Until the Ground Thaws

Starting a sprinkler system while the ground is frozen can damage pipes. Use a shovel to check to a depth of 12 inches. Be sure you’re digging in a safe place where you won’t nick pipes or tubes in the system. If the ground is frozen, test again in a week.

Test the Controls

Do a trial run of the sprinkler system controls and programs. Check the date, time and settings. Replace batteries.

Clear Debris

Inspect the sprinkler or spray heads for blockages. Remove dirt, sand, rocks and foliage obstructing the flow. Even distribution of water keeps your yard and garden healthy and makes the most efficient use of water.

Replace Damaged Parts

If nozzles, sprinkler heads or tubing is damaged, replace them. Look for cracks, chips and worn areas.

Check Valves

Valves are key to an efficient irrigation system. They keep the flow of water even through the network of pipes and tubes. Find and inspect every valve before turning on the system for the first time. Close manual drain valves before turning on the water.

Meticulous Plumbing can install or inspect your home’s backflow device. Contact us for help with your indoor or outdoor plumbing.

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