Cold stormy weather, freezing temperatures, and ice can damage your sprinkler system. Therefore it is important to be proactive and winterize your sprinkler system ahead of inclement weather. In this article, we look at common sprinkler problems, as well as how to winterize and repair damaged sprinklers.
Repairing Cold Weather Damage to Your Sprinkler System
Blocked sprinkler heads
Although it is not common, sprinkler heads can clog during heavy rains. Clogging prevents the water from flowing. As a result, this can cause water to build up in the pipes which can then freeze and crack. To unblock the sprinkler, unscrew the head and remove debris and dirt from the filter. Once the sprinkler head is clean, switch on the water and test the system.
Broken sprinkler heads
It is not uncommon for sprinkler heads to perish and break after years of wear and tear. Broken sprinkler heads can lead to patches of flooding as they obstruct water flow. After turning the sprinkler system off, inspect the yard for flooding and damp patches. Inspect all sprinkler heads for cracks and drips. You will need to replace broken sprinkler heads. Instead of trying to DIY a broken sprinkler head, contact a lawn irrigation system company to fix the issue.
Pipes can crack in the winter because of residual water inside them freezing and expanding inside the pipes. The expanding ice creates pressure and puts stress on the pipes until they have no option but to crack. This results in water leaks and a reduction in water pressure in parts of the sprinkler system. After shutting off the water supply, follow the path of the buried pipes and look for wet patches and flooding. You could try taping over the cracks as a temporary solution, however, it is best to replace the sections of piping that have cracks.
How to winterize the sprinkler system
Protect your sprinkler system ahead of winter by following these four sprinkler system winterization steps.
Shut the water off
Shut off the water at the main valve. The shut-off valve should be located near the water meter. In the case of a system with backflow prevention valves, switch those off as well. Backflow preventers are used in irrigation systems that don’t make use of potable water.
Switch off the timer
Switching the timer off doesn’t always mean having to reprogram the system when switching it on again. Some sprinkler systems have a feature known as rain mode. This feature lets you shut down the timer without the system losing any information or settings. You can use this setting during the winter months to save on energy costs. When switching the rain mode off in spring, the system should work as it was previously programmed.
Drain off the water
Depending on your system, draining will either be done manually or automatically. Some systems will enable an air compressor to be attached for blow-out draining.
If your system is new or you are not familiar with your system, especially an automated system, contact a professional sprinkler system company before attempting to winterize your sprinkler system yourself. Improperly winterizing can cause damage to your sprinkler system and cost you more money down the road. Sprinkler winterization is best left to the professionals!
Additional Reading: What Happens if Sprinkler System Freezes?
Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Omaha’s Best Commercial & Residential Sprinkler Systems
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