How Do I Winterize My Irrigation System?
Most irrigation systems get terribly damaged by the freezing cold during the winter period, incurring hundreds of dollars in repair cost. Without proper preparation, this will be inevitable no matter the quality of the material of your sprinkler system. Here are 4 easy ways you can protect your irrigation system this winter;
1. Drain The Pipes
Ensuring no water is left in your irrigation pipes is very important. Why is this something you should never forget to do? Water unlike other liquid substances expands on freezing, exerting enormous pressure on the containing vessel, which ultimately causes them to crack or break. You can prevent this from happening to your irrigation pipes by either draining them manually, through automatic drain valve or using the compressed air blow-out method.
To keep your irrigation system in good shape through the winter, your home and family won’t be the only thing you’ll have to protect and keep warm. From the main shut-off valve to the pipes appearing above ground level needs to be properly insulated to prevent them from getting damaged by the cold. Insulating the valves and pipes can easily be done using self-sticking foam-insulating tapes or even foam insulating tubes.
3. Switch To Manual Control
If you use an automatic irrigation system, switching to manual control during winter is a very good way to prevent serious damage from occurring. Switching to manual control can be done in a number of ways. You can either shutdown the controller also known as the timer by switching to “rain mode” to prevent signal from being sent to the valve or you can simply disconnect the wires connected to the master valve if the controller is responsible for activating the pump. You can also achieve this feat by completely shutting off the power to the controller. All of these are done to eliminate the risk of accidental activation of the pump which could lead to overheating and in-turn damage the irrigation system.
4. Hire a Winterization Professional
Winterizing your irrigation system is definitely not rocket science but there are certain benefits to hiring an irrigation system maintenance expert. Properly winterizing your irrigation system requires a sound knowledge of your specific irrigation system for easy identification of the irrigation system layout zones. Blowing out your irrigation pipes can be a very delicate operation and can cause a lot of damage when done wrong. This the more necessitates the need for an irrigation expert with the right equipment and profound knowledge of your system for proper handling of your winterization operation.
5. Protect Backflow Preventers And Valve
In the event your backflow preventer and valve are above ground level, ensure to protect them with proper insulation. This can be done with common insulation tape but extra precaution must be taken to ensure you don’t block the drain outlets or air vents on the backflow preventer with the tape.