Backflow valves are an essential part of any sprinkler system. They prevent water that enters the system (and becomes non-potable) from flowing backward into the pipes that carry potable water and causing contamination.
If you suspect that the backflow valve on your sprinkler system is not working as it should, then you will need to switch it out for a new unit.
Turn the ball valve on the main water line shutoff to the off position. This will stop the flow of water while you work on the backflow valve, which is typically installed over two pipes using a compression fitting.
Take a pair of channel lock pliers and use them to turn the nut that secures the bottom of the backflow valve to the first pipe counterclockwise. Stop when you see that the nut slides easily off the pipe. Do the same thing to the nut that holds the second pipe on the side of the valve.
Pull the valve off the two pipes, applying equal force to the bottom and side pipes.
Loosen both of the retaining nuts on the new backflow valve and place each of the two pipes into its respective hole. Make sure the pipe that was joined to the bottom of the original valve is attached to the same place on the new valve.
Press the valve firmly onto both pipes. Then turn both of the nuts clockwise until both are tight. Doing so will secure the valve over the pipes using compression fittings.
Slowly turn the ball valve on the main water line to the on position. The valve will fill with water and may spray slightly from the top. This should stop within a few seconds.
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