Winterizing a sprinkler system involves draining the water and insulating the components. But how do you do that? Though it is best to contact a professional sprinkler system company to handle the task, you might be wondering how you can save the expense and learn how to winterize a sprinkler system yourself. In this step-by-step guide we’ll go over what it takes to make sure your sprinkler system is ready for the winter months ahead.
How To Winterize A Sprinkler System
Gather Your Supplies
To winterize your sprinkler system, you first need to gather the necessary supplies, which include:
- An air compressor
- Channel locks
- A wrench
- Insulation tape
Winterizing a Sprinkler System: Step-by-Step Guide
Once you have the supplies, you can begin the winterization process.
1. Shut Off the Water
First shut off the water supply. Locate the isolation valve on the water line leading to your irrigation system (typically found inside the house). To prevent water from flowing into the sprinkler system, shut off the valve.
2. Shut Down the Timer
If your sprinkler system has one, be sure to shut down the automatic timer. If the irrigation system doesn’t have one, turn it off or turn it to rain mode. When putting it in rain mode, you’ll be able to power off the timer without having to worry about the risk of having pre-programmed settings, or any other important information lost.
3. Drain the Water
This step is the most cumbersome, yet it’s extremely important. Find out your system’s draining method, which you can use to drain the water quickly and efficiently without a compressor.
If you have an automatic drain, run the sprinkler heads to reduce the water pressure and enable automatic water drainage. If you have a manual drain valve, open up the manual valves at both the ends and the low points of the system’s piping. Don’t forget to drain the backflow device.
If your irrigation system lacks an automatic or manual drain, you’ll need to use compressed air to blow the water out of the lines. Use either a quick-connect coupling or a hose bib to connect the compressor to the sprinkler system. Locate and open the irrigation station situated at the highest elevation and farthest from the air compressor. Afterward, shut off the backflow isolation valves.
Next, turn on the air compressor and add air to the irrigation system. Start slowly and add more air progressively until water sprays out of the open head. Once the water has stopped spraying out of the head, open the next one and close the previous head.
Continue this process until you have blown out all the water from the sprinkler heads. Turn off and disconnect the compressor from the irrigation system, open and close the backflow device valves to release any remaining air pressure from the pipes, and then close all the valves.
4. Insulate the Components
Finally, you’ll want to insulate all the components. Wrap insulation tape around the above-ground components exposed to cold temperatures: the water lines, valves, and backflow preventer, for example. Be sure to avoid blocking drain outlets or air vents.
Summing It Up
When preparing to winterize your sprinkler system, it’s essential to follow a precise process to safeguard your PVC pipes and system components.
Start by reducing the pressure in the system to around 50 psi. Next, slowly open the valves to release any remaining water from the piping. It’s important to do this slowly to avoid damaging the PVC pipes due to sudden pressure changes.
Monitor the cubic feet per minute (CFM) to gauge the airflow and ensure proper drainage. Aim to reduce the pressure to a safe level, ideally below 80 psi, before completing the winterization procedure.
Winterizing your sprinkler system is essential to ensure it remains in proper working order. With a few basic tools, the above-mentioned tips, and some patience and time, you can successfully winterize your own irrigation system.
Not comfortable winterizing your sprinkler system on your own? Call the professionals for sprinkler winterization services. Failing to properly winterize your sprinkler system can lead to hefty sprinkler system repair expenses come spring.
Additional Information: When Should I Winterize My Lawn in Omaha, Nebraska?
Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Omaha’s Best Commercial & Residential Sprinkler Systems
Contact Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers to schedule a free estimate on a system install or to find out what you can do to make your existing system more efficient. We welcome commercial and residential clients. And remember, whether you need our services now… or later in the season, Your Healthy Lawn is Our Passion and we are only a phone call away! Call 402-934-7900 to schedule your service.