If you have a lawn or a garden, then you understand the need for sprinkler systems. A sprinkler system is highly beneficial because it saves you a lot of time and effort in maintaining a healthy lawn and garden. However, part of owning a sprinkler system is keeping it in top condition.
Maintaining a sprinkler system is one thing, but maintaining it to be ready for winter is an entirely different thing altogether. If you don’t prepare your sprinkler system for the winter months, it will most likely greet you with damage the next time you open it, which is most likely in spring.
In this article, we’ll guide you through winterizing your sprinkler system properly. Read on below to learn more.
The Steps to Take in Winterizing Your Sprinkler System
Most of the steps we’ll list down are doable on your own, but some will require special equipment and professional expertise.
#1 – Turn off Your Water
It should not come as a surprise that the first and foremost thing to do when winterizing a sprinkler system is to turn off the water. The valve to turn it off is usually found next to the meter itself. If your system has valves installed to prevent backflow, these also need to be shut off too. If your system doesn’t use potable water, then it might not have a backflow preventer—simply leave it alone if this is the case.
#2 – Turn off the Timer
If your system uses and runs on an automatic timer, it also has to be shut off. Some systems have a “rain mode,” which powers down the timer without losing any programmed settings. If you let the system run in rain mode through the winter, it’s a good thing because it’s safe and wouldn’t drive up your energy bills. Once spring rolls in, the rain mode can be turned off, and the timer should properly work again.
#3 – Drain the Water
The water itself must also be drained. This is also the heaviest and most time-consuming part of the process, but you should not skip it in any way. Depending on the type of sprinkler system you have, there are three methods of draining the water.
Some sprinkler systems allow manual draining. They have shut-off valves either at low points or at the ends of the piping. You must wear eye protection while doing this because the water supply in the system is under pressure. The valves must be opened one at a time slowly to let the water run out and close them back again once finished.
Just as there’s manual draining, some systems have automatic draining components that drain the water when the main valve is shut off and the pressure drops. You can simply activate this process by running a sprinkler head with the water supply turned off.
However, it’s most likely that there might still be water trapped inside the valves. Luckily, the fix is just as easy because all you need to do is find the solenoid on each valve, a plastic cap with wires coming out of the top. Loosen it to allow air to flow into the system, and the water will come out flowing.
Blow-out draining is used with sprinkler systems that let you hook an air compressor to the pipes to drain the water out of the sprinkler heads forcefully. It’s worth noting that this is a dangerous method that you won’t be able to do on your own, so you’ll need to call in a professional.
#4 – Insulate the Above-Ground Components
Once everything is done, the above-ground components of the sprinkler system must be properly insulated from the weather. These include the main shut-off valve and any exposed pipes or backflow preventers. You must wrap them in foam covers and insulation tape—this is a more crucial step to the backflow preventers because you must ensure that there isn’t anything blocking any air vents or drain outlets.
Winterizing your sprinkler system is vital not only for the winter months but also in prolonging its lifespan. If you don’t prep it for the winter, you might end up paying more for repairs or a new sprinkler system altogether.
Extreme Irrigation & Lawn provides top-quality services for sprinkler system installation and repair at reasonable rates. Contact us today to request a quote!