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View Full Version : Backflow preventer freezing and breaking


m249saw
02-05-2009, 04:01 PM
Hello all,

I have a Febco 1" back flow preventer and twice it has frozen over (a rare thing but quite common this year in Florida). Both times the bonnet and poppet have cracked (my guess due to being submerged in frozen water).

The first time I didn't have my irrigation valve off and it flowed for about 5-10 minutes before my neighbor noticed it and shut it off. This time my water is off and I found it in pieces on the ground.

My question, the obvious: how do I prevent this from happening? Siphon out all the remaining water in the preventer valve or somehow insulate the brass body?

Thanks all,
Kyle

DanaMac
02-05-2009, 04:05 PM
If you are in FLA., insulating should be sufficient. the problem arises because the water INSIDE the PVB freezes, and EXPANDS, and pushes up the bonnet and poppet.

Best solution is turn the water off and drain as much water out as you can. Maybe still insulate during cold times in Jan. and Feb.

Wet_Boots
02-05-2009, 04:18 PM
Other means of protection would involve running a tiny flow of water through the device, if you manage to make it happen BEFORE the freezing temperatures.

Waterit
02-05-2009, 10:36 PM
Just cut that sucker out of there completely. As the TV ad used to say, this is Florida, the rules are different here.

Sprinkus
02-06-2009, 07:48 PM
I typically install a freeze protection valve (http://www.apollovalves.com/_products/40-000-fpv/TS_30-000.pdf?zoom_highlight=freeze#search=%22freeze%22) along with insulating the pipes.
Ummm, you mention that the device may be submerged in freezing water. Is it installed below grade?

m249saw
02-06-2009, 07:51 PM
I think I might just go with a cover for the 6-7 nights it actually goes below freezing. Thanks all!

AI Inc
02-07-2009, 08:18 AM
If you plan to not use it for a few months , you can degut it.

DanaMac
02-07-2009, 08:24 AM
If you plan to not use it for a few months , you can degut it.

But then it must be re-tested!! :)

AI Inc
02-07-2009, 08:28 AM
But then it must be re-tested!! :)

In fla, I thought down there inspectors are just so happy to see ya have one , they will go down on ya. no?

m249saw
02-07-2009, 08:38 AM
In fla, I thought down there inspectors are just so happy to see ya have one , they will go down on ya. no?

That might explain why my neighbor has 5 of them.

m249saw
02-07-2009, 08:41 AM
I typically install a freeze protection valve (http://www.apollovalves.com/_products/40-000-fpv/TS_30-000.pdf?zoom_highlight=freeze#search=%22freeze%22) along with insulating the pipes.
Ummm, you mention that the device may be submerged in freezing water. Is it installed below grade?

Its not below grade. Its about 2' above ground. What freezes is the water left in the bowl where the bonnet and poppet sit.

AI Inc
02-07-2009, 08:45 AM
when we have customers with new lawns that want to keep watering as late as possible we tell em to wrap it with either , insulation , a heavy blanket or hay.

Sprinkus
02-07-2009, 08:53 AM
Hmmm, maybe some heat tape (http://www.mygreathome.com/fix-it_guide/heat_tape.htm) would work.

DanaMac
02-07-2009, 09:12 AM
Hmmm, maybe some heat tape (http://www.mygreathome.com/fix-it_guide/heat_tape.htm) would work.

I have quite a few customers that have the heat tape wrapped around the BFV and pipes, with insulation around it. Now, if they would just plug it in and use it, it might actually work.

Wet_Boots
02-07-2009, 10:11 AM
Makes you wonder if a solar-powered cover/heater could work.