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Starting tomorrow (Feb. 13) and through the end of next week, we can expect freezing overnight temperatures. THEREFORE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE YOUR BACKFLOW PREVENTER (BFP) IS INSULATED, TURNED OFF, AND DRAINED!

Disclaimer:  I offer the following helpful information, given to me by a licensed irrigation specialist. Neither I nor the WHHOA assumes any liability for damages that might be incurred by using this information.

Here is a picture of a BFP which includes the three main parts: (1) waterline pipe, (2) backflow valve “bell,” and (3) two “test” ports.

1). The pipe coming from the ground is connected to your main water line. You will notice the pipes are insulated. This picture shows the handle up high; however, some are close to the ground. The pipe is how water gets to the BFP.  As shown in the picture, this handle is horizontal to the pipe. In plumbing, a handle going in the same direction as the pipe is in the "open" position, allowing water to flow. A handle across the pipe is "closed." This picture shows the closed position. You do not need to worry about the other handle being in the open position because there is no water coming into the BFP.

2). You will notice the copper “bell” and the two "test" ports at the right part of the pipe. The bell is the backflow valve and, if damaged, replacement cost could be $150.  You want to drain the bell of water so there is nothing to freeze.  

We use the ports to drain the bell.  The ports might be covered with plastic caps. If so, remove the caps. Each of these ports has a small valve where you can insert a screwdriver. Normally, that "slot" is vertical, which is the "off" position (across the pipe). This forces water to go to the irrigation pipes. However, we want to make sure the BFP is off to reduce the water that can freeze. Therefore, turn the slot to the right on each port. If the water is off, you will see a small spray, then the water will drain out. If water continues to spray then it is still on.  Turn it off.  Once all the water is drained you have completed the process.   Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about water still in the waterline pipe above the handle when you turned off the system.  If this pipe is well insulated you should be okay.  

FYI: Depending on water pressure, a blown BFP will allow between 1,000 to 3,000 gallons of water to flow per hour. If your BFP fails during the night and you don't catch it until the next morning, you will have a substantial water bill. Woodlands Water bases their charges on the meter reading, and they do not make adjustments because of leaks.

Remember to  bring your potted plants indoors and cover outside vegetation as best you can.

Belton Byrd, HOA Board

Chairman, Landscape Committee


Members of the Landscape Committee met on January 18. They discussed possible common-area projects, mulch, our new landscape company, Horizon, and other landscape topics.     
The HOA has been providing homeowners with front yard mulch every two years.  In December, the HOA put out a bid for mulch, including the cost to deliver and spread it.  After reviewing the four responses received, Landscape Committee members recommended that the contract  be awarded  to  the low bidder, Horizon Lawn and Landscape.  The Board did this at their January 28 meeting.  The $49,800 contract provides for up to 1,200 cubic yards of mulch. The quality of the brown mulch is even better than in previous years. At the end of February, we plan to spread approximately three inches of it to common areas and homeowners’ front yards.  If you prefer not to receive mulch for your front yard, please contact the Clubhouse.

Should you be watering your yard now? No.  During the winter months, The Woodlands receives an average of three inches of rain a month. That is more than enough water to keep the roots of your grass growing.

Winter weeds are sprouting. Master Gardener Bob Dailey says you should not use weed and feed products. Ideally, it would be best if you destroyed winter weeds before they seed. Use industrial strength vinegar in a spray bottle and spray each weed. If you can’t find it at a local store, it is available through Amazon (like everything else).

We are pleased to announce that, after a two year break, Belton Byrd has returned to the position of Chairman of the Landscape Committee.  Our next meeting will be held via Zoom at 1 PM on Monday, March 15.  All residents are invited to attend.
Windsor Hills,
Oct 12, 2020, 9:03 AM