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Starting Member


Sunday, April 8th 2007, 3:26pm

Trouble with PVB valve

A couple of weeks ago, my sprinkler guy came by and turned on my residential system one day when I was at work. So, I find a bill in my mailbox for the turn on, a test of the system, and two sprinkler heads that he apparently replaced. Since there has been a lot of rain, I haven't yet used the system since it was turned back on.

So, today, I go to take a shower and I notice that my water pressure is really bad. I can barely take a shower. I do a quick inspection around the house and then notice that there is water at the end of the driveway near the street. I go to inspect more closely and I see that the backflow preventer that is hidden in the bushes near the end of my driveway is spraying water out of the top like a geyser. So, I go into the bushes and pull a couple of the levers until I succeed in getting the water to turn off.

I don't know anything about sprinkler systems and only know that this thing is the BF preventer because I have been told in the past that it needs to be tested each year and I get a nice bill for it. After a little research on the Internet and looking at some pictures, I have determined that it is a PVB type BF preventer.

Ok, so my question is, what in the **** happened? Can I just replace the top piece or is there something else wrong with my system? Do I have to replace the whole PVB valve?

Oh, and another thing. It has been unusually cold where I live. For the last four or five days, the highs have been in the mid to upper 30's and the lows at night have fallen into the low 20's and even the upper teens. Since the PVB valve is located about a foot and a half above ground and isn't insulated by the ground in any way, is it possible that the water in the valve could have frozen and broken the valve? If so, would it be fair for me to ask my sprinker guy to fix the problem at his expense? I did not ask him to turn on the system yet, we just have an agreement that he takes care of it in the spring. I will admit that it has been unusually cold, but did he turn the system on too soon (he turned it on 03/25; I live in Central Indiana)?

I appreciate any advice.



Supreme Member

Posts: 5,198

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, April 8th 2007, 6:55pm

As much as you want water for a dry lawn in March or early April, it pays to wait until the danger of freezing is past, or to have some electric heating cable wrapped around the exposed plumbing.

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