In the Spring and Summer, your irrigation system works to keep your lawn and gardens hydrated and lush. As the cold weather approaches, however, you will need to prepare your irrigation system for frost. If you don’t take action, water left in the system can freeze, leading to costly damage and repairs come springtime. Here are some tips about how to winterize your backyard irrigation system.
Manual Valves. Some irrigation systems will come with manual valves already installed within the system. This makes draining water simple and easy. All you need to do is open the valve. To do this properly, you will need to shut off the water supply completely. Next, look for the valves the and low points and ends of the irrigation system piping. Some systems have check valves which only allow the water to drain out of pipes in one direction. If this is the case with your irrigation system, you may need to lift the sprinkler heads to make sure all water has been removed and drained properly and completely.
Another option is to purchase and install a sprinkler system that is pre-installed with automatic valves. These valves are set to automatically drain water in pipes. They do this when they sense a change in pipe pressure. Activate the automatic valve by running water through one sprinkler to allow a release of water pressure in the sprinkler heads. If there are also check valves, you may still have to manually empty water from these as well.
Finally, some homeowners choose to use a winterization method called the blow-out. This involves forcing compressed air through the pipes of your sprinkler system, sending extra water out through the sprinkler heads. Use caution when using this method, especially on your own, since a blowout can cause damage if it is used on the wrong type of irrigation system or if the user doesn’t take the proper safety precautions ahead of time. If you don’t have experience with blow-outs, it may be safer and less stressful to use a professional company like Stefano’s Landscaping Company for the best results. If you do it on your own, make sure you have an air compressor with a rating of 80-100 CFM, a coupler that will fit your system, and safety goggles or glasses for protection. Be sure to learn the proper steps to correctly blow out your irrigation system before getting started.
Failure to winterize your irrigation system in the cold months can lead to some serious, expensive damage when the weather begins to warm. Avoid burst pipes by draining your system effectively through manual, check or automatic valves. You may also want to clear the pipes of water through a method called the blow out. Either hire a professional to do this job, or make sure you understand the methodology completely and have the right tools and equipment to do the job. No matter how to handle winterization, it will have a positive impact on your irrigation system as an investment.