Today’s Saturday Project was to replace our backflow prevention valve. Our old home didn’t have a backflow valve (or it was underground and I didn’t know about it) so we were used to leaving our irrigation system turned on until late November without any freezing problems. South Jordan requires backflow valves to be installed above ground. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how easily an above-ground valve can freeze and last last November Nancy called me at work to tell me that she had discovered water squirting out of the valve and onto the house. Nancy shut off the water at the street and left it for me to fix when I got home. Of course, I decided to procrastinate fixing the valve until spring. Why do something when you can procrastinate it for 5 months?
The casing of the valve had frozen and burst. The water pressure spraying onto the house had also knocked a chunk of stucco off the foundation. Fortunately, we had the foresight to tell our landscapers to put the valve in the back yard behind the fence where nobody could see it (many of our neighbors have the valve right in the middle of their front flower beds) so I really wasn’t too worried about the stucco on the foundation.
The broken valve – you can see the crack in the middle of the casing
As spring rolled around I kept procrastinating the valve issue until the sudden hot weather forced me to finally fix it so we could start watering the garden and lawn and also turn on the stream. The hardest part of replacing the valve was getting the broken valve out of the line. I had to buy a huge pipe wrench and it took several coats of WD-40 to loosen the joints before I was finally able to undo the coupling.
Unfortunately, Home Depot didn’t have a valve the same size as my old valve and I didn’t want to do any extra plumbing work to change the spacing in the lines so I decided to order a valve over the internet. For the curious among you, it is an Apollo 40-205-T2 1″ Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventer manufactured by Conbraco. You can buy it for $211 with free shipping from SprinklerWarehouse.com
The new valve – you can see where the water knocked the stucco off the foundation
I slapped some Teflon tape on the threads, used a “cheater bar” to screw the elbow joints in tightly, recoupled the valve assembly to the line, and crossed my fingers while Nancy went out to the street to turn on the water. Whaddayaknow – it worked! No leaks or clogs. Not bad for an amateur. Now we just have to be careful and remember to turn the main water off before it freezes this fall.