Winter is right around the corner, but your irrigation system should be winterized appropriately before temperatures drop below freezing. Winterizing is the process by which all water is evacuated from your irrigation pipes to prevent them from bursting in freezing temperatures. These steps are the best way to protect your irrigation investment from winter freeze damage.
Prepping Your Lawn Irrigation System For Winter
Shut Off The Water Supply
The first step to winterizing your irrigation system is locating and turning off the main water supply that feeds your sprinklers. The main shut-off might be in your garage or basement, and some shut-offs are buried underground and may need a key to turn off. If your main shut-off is outside, make sure your main shut-off is protected against freezing; make sure it is well insulated.
Drain The Pipes
To ensure you get all the remaining water out of your pipes, you must drain it in one of three ways: using the automatic drain valve, the manual drain valve, or an air compressor to the blow-out valve to expel water.
An auto drain system is named after its valves that automatically drain water from the pipes. Note: this will only occur when water pressure has reached a specific number of PSI. If this is your type of system, once you’ve turned off the water supply, run a sprinkler head to remove the water pressure in the system. This should start the automatic draining process and remove any excess water. It should be noted that you might still need to drain residual moisture between the shut-off valve and the backflow device. If your sprinkler heads have check valves, be sure to empty them separately.
After shutting down the water supply, locate the manual valves at the ends and low points of your sprinkler system’s pipes. Once you’ve found all valves, open them so the water can drain, and also be sure to drain the backflow device. If your system has check valves, you’ll need to raise the sprinkler heads since these valves only let water flow in one direction. After raising the sprinkler heads, you should be able to drain the water from the whole system. Close valves once the water is fully drained.
This method requires an air compressor, and you should be sure to wear appropriate safety gear, including goggles. And if you need to perform this type of draining procedure, do not stand near an active head during the blow-out process. Once the water supply is shut off, connect your air compressor to the irrigation system via a coupler. Note: do not blow air directly into the backflow device. Locate the sprinkler head that is the highest and farthest from the compressor and turn it on. Close the backflow valves and slowly open the valve on your air compressor. You should slowly add increasing air pressure so that you can abruptly halt the flow of air if needed. Once you can see water coming through, stop.
After you can see water spraying from the opened sprinkler head, you’ll need to do the following. Locate the head that is farthest from the compressor and activate it. Once the water is done spraying, shut off the head. Follow the pipe from the farthest head to the head closest to the compressor. Once all heads have been drained, you can detach the compressor. Release excess air from the system and open and close all valves on backflow devices or manual drain valves. This will prevent a build-up of air pressure. Lastly, be sure to close all valves, and the blow-out process is finished.
Insulate Any Above-Ground Parts
Anything exposed – like the main shut-off valve, piping, or backflow devices – should be insulated from the elements. Cover them with insulation tape or a foam cover.
Always Read The Manual
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual in case there are specific instructions you ought to know. The last thing you want to do is damage your sprinkler! And while this may seem tedious, it’s an integral part of landscape maintenance in late fall.
Let The Experts Handle It
If the idea of winterizing your sprinkler system seems like a lot of hard work and time, we don’t blame you. Contact O’Connor Landscapes and let us handle everything for you! We offer both spring start-ups and winter shut-offs, so you’re covered from season to season.
Let The Professionals At O’Connor Landscapes Winterize Your Lawn Sprinkler System
At O’Connor Landscapes, we can handle all your irrigation needs from winterization, start-up, and regular maintenance. Need a new system? Our irrigation installation can provide you with the ultimate watering solution. Don’t wait too long to winterize your system, or the water in your pipes will burst, costing you a lot of money in the spring. Call us at (910) 691-9227 or fill out a request on our contact page, and we will send out our trained professionals to perform all of your winterization services.
Be sure to check out our blog page for more helpful articles on caring for your yard!