Your irrigation system serves the important role of keeping lawns, plants, and other types of landscaping properly hydrated. However, during the winter, the icy and low temperatures can easily damage your irrigation system if it is not properly prepared for the cold. Do I need to winterize my irrigation system? The answer is yes because you could face costly repairs come springtime without winterization. The following steps can help keep your irrigation system safe this winter.
Four Steps To Protect Your Irrigation System This Winter
1. Insulation: One of the first steps in how to winterize my irrigation system is to apply proper insulation. First, you should shut off the water supply to your irrigation system from the main value. This prevents water from collecting in the pipes and keeps your irrigation system safe. Once this is done, you should wrap exposed parts of your irrigation system (such as the sprinkler heads) in plastic and foam tape, including any above-ground pipes. Foam tubes can be used to insulate exposed pipes.
2. Check the Controls: Any irrigation system with an automatic system will have to have its timer shut off. Most automated systems have a rain mode that shuts off the valves but continues to save other essential features, such as existing settings and configurations. This also allows the system to keep time correctly, which makes reactivating it in the spring as easy as turning off the rain mode setting. Another alternative is to simply disconnect the power however, this means you will have to fully reprogram the system when you power it back on. As an extra precaution, you can also disconnect the wires from the main pump, so it cannot activate. This prevents accidental activation and possible pump damage.
3. Drain Water From the Pipes: Once the water has been cut off and the system deactivated, the next step is to remove any residual water from the pipes to prevent freezing. Methods to do this can include a manual drain valve, an automatic drainage system, or using an air compressor to blow the water out of the pipes and sprinklers. Hiring a winterization specialist is also an option if you want to leave it to an expert.
4. Protect Valves or Backflow Preventers: These parts of your irrigation system are often found above ground. Insulation tape can help keep these parts safe but be sure not to accidentally cover up any vents.