How do you Winterize Irrigation Sprinklers?
Preparing your home for the winter months is a process that should be planned out well before this harsh season arrives. An important part of this process is completing your sprinkler system winterization. The cold temperature can wreak havoc on the underground pipes and nozzles of your irrigation system. If they are not prepared for the cold, they could be susceptible to damage from exposure to harsh weather conditions. Winterizing your irrigation system is an essential task.
We have put together a quick checklist below of tasks that will help you answer ‘How do I prepare my irrigation system for winter?’
Drain the Pipes
The first step of your winterization process should be to turn off the main water supply to your irrigation system. Any pipes leading to the irrigation system should be drained completely. An easy way to confirm the pipes are clear of water is by blowing compressed air through your system, if there is water left in the system it will be forced out as the air travels through the pipes. If your pipes contain water when winter is at its harshest, there is a very high likelihood of them bursting, cracking, or suffering other damage.
When the pipes are drained and the water system is off, you can insulate the heads by covering them with a protective membrane, which will help to prevent damage that could occur due to freezing. You can purchase these covers from your local hardware store. Some sprinklers are wide enough to be insulated from the inside so you can place specially designed insulation materials there as well.
Check The Control Panel
Check that the control panel to ensure the system is set to off or is deactivated. Turn off all the valve controllers and make sure they are not activated for irrigation. Some automatic irrigation systems have a central switch to disable the system, while others don’t. It is very important to the health of your system that everything is off during winter.
While winterizing your irrigation system’s main objective is to keep the cold at bay, you also need to be cognizant of the amount of heat your system is exposed to as well. You can use insulation tape to cover your backflow preventers and valves (if they are above ground) but you should allow for ventilation into the air vents. This way, you can prevent heat damage while achieving proper winterization of your sprinklers.
With the appropriate measures in place, you can avoid damage and the cost of repairing your sprinkler system due to the cold winter temperatures. Winterizing your irrigation system takes a bit of time but does allow you one less thing to worry about over the winter months.