Backflow Freeze Alert

If you have an irrigation system, during freezing temperatures, your backflow prevention device is especially vulnerable to the cold temperatures. You can prevent costly repairs before the temperatures drop!

  • Your device is typically located in your front yard and has a white box-like cover.  Standard covers need additional insulation to protect the device from freezing temperatures.
  • The pipes also need to be insulated or covered.  This can be as simple as wrapping or taping insulation, newspaper, a blanket or even a pool noodle around the pipes to prevent freezing.
  • If your backflow does freeze or bust, turn water off at meter or contact PWC. Repairs are the responsibility of the customer and a licensed plumber may be needed.

VIDEO: Simple Tips for Winterizing Backflow Preventers


Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

Water expands as it freezes. The expansion puts pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler/irrigation lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber

  • Keep the faucet open/on. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
  • If your backflow does freeze or bust, turn water off at meter or contact PWC.  Repairs are the responsibility of the customer and a licensed plumber may be needed

Licensed Plumbing Contractors