From servicing the furnace to adding insulation, getting a home ready for the winter season is no small feat. If you have an automated sprinkler system, the task list is a bit longer. You must winterize your sprinkler system to avoid catastrophic problems in the spring once it’s time to water your lawn again.
Continue reading to learn a few cold weather winterization tips that’ll ensure your sprinkler system doesn’t fail next spring.
Shut off outdoor water
Your first step is to shut off your outdoor water supply to prevent water from accidentally running into the system. The shutoff valve is typically located near the main water meter. If your sprinkler system has a valve to prevent backflow, be sure to shut these off, too.
After you’ve shut off the valves, wrap them with foam insulation tape and a plastic bag to prevent damage from snow, sleet and frigid temperatures.
Turn the timer off
If your sprinkler system runs on a timer, your next step is to shut that off. This part of sprinkler winterization is as easy as unplugging the transformer or pushing the off button (if there is one). Keep in mind that you’ll need to reprogram your system in the spring after unplugging it.
Many of today’s sprinkler systems have a rain mode that stops the sprinkler from running if there’s rain in the forecast. If your system has this function, setting your sprinkler to rain mode works in place of turning it off. Plus, you won’t have to recalibrate your system in the spring if you put it in rain mode.
Drain the water
Next you’ll need to drain all existing water from the system. This is the most time-consuming step, but failing to do it leads to the pipes freezing and bursting in the winter. You can either drain your system manually or automatically, or you can blow the water out:
- Manual: Manually drain your system by slowly opening the shutoff valves at the end points of each pipe. Let the water run out of the valves one at a time, and then close them when you’re finished.
- Automatic: You can also tackle this sprinkler winterization step automatically by running one of the sprinkler heads after the water supply has been shut off. The sprinkler will continue watering until all the remaining water is drained out.
- Blow-out: Using an air compressor is the fastest way to drain the remaining water. Attach your compressor to the pipes, and quickly blow out all the remaining water. Keep in mind that this approach can damage the system if performed improperly.
Insulate above-ground components
In addition to covering the valves we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to insulate any exposed pipes, backflow preventers and any other components located above ground.
Call Star Sprinkler Systems Inc.
Instead of doing all of this work yourself, one of our best cold weather winterization tips is to hire our team. We’re experts in sprinkler system winterization, and we can take care of all these steps for you in no time at all. Call us today to schedule your appointment before it gets too chilly out.