As winter temperatures continue to drop, one thing you will need to pay attention to is the issue of freeze damage and how it relates to pest control spray equipment. Freeze damage to your pest control sprayer or weed control spray rig can result in unnecessary expenses, downtime and missed appointments. My team and I are continually surprised by the number of pest management professionals (PMPs) reporting freeze damage, even though this problem is avoidable.

1. Freeze damage affects both manual (hand sprayers, backpacks) and power sprayers.

2. Spray equipment that is left under pressure will experience more severe freeze problems than equipment that is not under pressure. As you have heard numerous times before, release the pressure on all sprayers after each stop and at the end of the day. A few years ago, we had a rare deep freeze in Phoenix. The next day, every PMP who had left his B&G under pressure came in with a burst spray wand. There was a shortage of B&G wands in Phoenix for a week after that.

3. If you live in a climate where freezing is common, be sure to discuss this with your equipment provider so the equipment can be designed appropriately.

4. If your equipment freezes, do NOT use it until it thaws. There is a reasonable chance that no damage occurred. But if you try to run a frozen system, you may do damage, even if damage did not previously exist.

Here are some suggestions for preventing freeze damage in lowest to highest risk.

1. Do not expose the equipment to freezing. Store it inside a heated space: Zero risk.

2. Drain as much water as possible out of the system. Remove the pump, gun and filter cup (and any other valuable components at risk of freezing) and store them inside. Be sure all valves are open. Be sure to tell your equipment vendor that you will be removing the pump. Your vendor can utilize fittings that make removing the pump a little quicker.

3. Use antifreeze to prevent water in the pump from freezing and bursting the pump. Antifreeze can be put into the tank and the pump run long enough to get the antifreeze through the system. You can also request that your spray equipment provider install fittings in line in front of the pump so that antifreeze can be poured directly into the pump.

4. Keep the pump warm with an electric battery-heated blanket (designed for spray pumps or car batteries) or a light bulb suspended in a box over the pump (be sure you have not created a fire hazard). Again, drain the system, then remove spray gun, filter cup and open valves. This probably is more appropriate where the deep freezes are periodic, rather than a full season.

Winter is normally a slow period for most PMPs. Do not compound your problems by allowing a deep freeze to damage your pest control spray equipment.

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Article Source: Spray Equipment Blog