M&M Plumbing

Family Owned & Operated in Olympia, Washington

irrigation

  • Burst pipes from unheated homes can cause thousands of dollars in costly repairs.  Photo credit: Graeme Maclean, Burst pipes from unheated homes can cause thousands of dollars in costly repairs. Photo credit: Graeme Maclean, flic.kr/p/93UN4YWith the rising cost of energy, some people are tempted to turn off their heat when they are away from home for extended periods, like when they are on vacation. Likewise, people who own vacant houses, for example, homes that are up for sale or for rent, may shut off the heat to save money.

    This is bad idea. While the Olympia, Washington area has a relatively mild winter climate, it does get below freezing during the winter fairly regularly, and we occasionally get cold snaps where temperatures plummet below 20 degrees. Without the heat on to keep your home above freezing, you risk pipes freezing, which can result in burst pipes. And since no one is in the home, it could be days or even weeks before the damage has been discovered.

    To make matters worse, many insurance plans will not cover frozen pipe damage if reasonable precautions are not made to prevent the damage. The insurance company will likely consider leaving the heat off to be an act of negligence, voiding your claim and leaving you with thousands of dollars in uninsured homes repairs, including water pipe replacement, flood damage, dry rot, drywall, and even electrical problems.

    As we've mentioned in a previous post about underground sprinkler systems, it's not 32 degrees you have to be worried about, but 39 degrees. At 39 degrees, water goes through a molecular change where it actually expands. As water cools below that temperature it starts to contract again. Ice also continues to contract as it gets colder.

  •  Underground sprinkler systems must be turned on slowly at the begining of the watering season to prevent damage to the pipes and sprinkler heads. Underground sprinkler systems must be turned on slowly at the begining of the watering season to prevent damage to the pipes and sprinkler heads.When you restart your irrigation system each spring, it’s important to follow the correct startup procedures so that you do not damage the system. Starting up the system is not particularly complicated, but it’s more than just turning on a valve. Be patient when turning on your irrigation system after it’s been winterized because if not, you could have a geyser of water filling up your yard and costly repairs.

    The key to preventing system damage is to turn on the water slowly. This allows the pipes to pressurize and all the air to purge. Turning on the water source too abruptly can cause pipes to burst. Even if your pipes don’t rupture right away, you could create stress on the pipes that leads to damage and leaks down the road.

    Hometips.com has a good explanation on how to properly start your irrigation system:

    “Begin the process by filling the main line of the irrigation system (located between the water source and the zone valves). Slowly open the shutoff valve that controls the water supply to the entire system. A quarter turn or so is all you will need. Take your time and remember that the water has to travel the entire length of the main line. Once the main line is filled, proceed with filling each zone, again, by very slowly opening the zone valve manually.”

  • Have you purged your underground sprinkler system yet? If you haven't, it's time to do it now.

    Here's why. Most liquids continue to contract (shrink and become more dense) when they get colder. That means they take up less space. But water has a unique property that causes it to start to expand when it reaches about 39 degrees. Then, gradually, it begins to contract again, but it still stays less dense than water.

Contact Info.

M&M Plumbing

Serving Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Thurston County

Business Hours
M-F 8am - 6pm

Emergency Services Available 24/7

360.491.9422

WA #MMPLUMP899P4
Bonded & Insured

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