Winterization is all about taking the water pressure off the lines. As water freezes, it expands, and at some point, the pressure is too great for its surroundings, and the components holding in the water will expand/distort or worse—break.
Understanding that all installations are different and you may be working with an outdoor drinking fountain by another manufacturer, the fundamentals are the same. Here are some tips to keep things running smoothly for years to come:
1. Disconnecting the main water source into the fountain
In some installations, valves are installed at the connection point between the drinking fountain and the water line. The best way to prevent water from staying in the drinking fountain lines is to completely disconnect the water connection for the drinking fountain.
This is just a matter of unscrewing the water line (after the water is turned off). If you only close the valve—effectively stopping the water—you will trap water in the system and not allow it to drain.
2. Purging the valves
Once the drinking fountain is disconnected from the water supply, you should start high-to-low on the valves.
Press, and hold, each valve for five seconds. The valve is essentially a switch with two positions—on and off. When you open the valve, and there is no pressure in the water system, the remaining water lines act like a drain, and the water escapes.
3. Extra protection
In many climates, the previous steps are enough to protect your investment. We want you to understand that the BEST way to protect the valves from damage is to remove the water input line from the valve. On drinking fountains manufactured by WSF, this is a push-to-connect line that does not require a tool to remove. The water “IN” is clearly labeled with an “I” for in.
4. Areas with extremely cold weather
In areas with extremely cold weather, maintenance teams typically install bowl covers (an optional WSF accessory) to cover the drain and bubblers on the fixtures. This prevents the build-up of ice and snow—and the processes of thaw and freezing—that can cause problems in the drain lines. Take time to consider if your climate is one that you would need this accessory.
Remember that valves supplying your outdoor drinking fountains, bottle fillers, and more are like anything else—they can and will fail over time!
Most of the time, you will not notice the failure because the valves do not always leak onto the ground, leaving a puddle. The valves typically leak at the stopping point inside the fixture, resulting in the water passing through the stop and into the winterized fixture. This is why removing the connection point between the outdoor fixture and the main water supply—taking the water pressure off the lines—is critical.