In previous blogs we have discussed the importance of fall yard clean up, garden clean up and getting your lawn equipment ready for the winter. Fall is also the time to do the annual winterizing of your irrigation system. As landscaping and stonework professionals we have seen the problems associated with not doing this job carefully and completely. It is our suggestion to have a professional team complete the annual blow out and inspection of the irrigation system. An irrigation specialist or the company that installed your particular system would be best. If that is not possible, then be sure you follow all the necessary steps and follow the instructions for your type of system carefully.
In order to avoid a damaging and costly repair all irrigation systems should be winterized before the first frost. This can happen at different times across our region depending on your location. Each system has different components that need to be emptied of water and cleaned thoroughly.
- The Water Supply – Shut off the water supply using the main water valve. This main valve and components leading to it and to the outside should be insulated for the winter months with wrapping.
- Water Removal – Depending upon the type of system and your level of knowledge and expertise, there are several methods to drain and remove the existing water from the system. These include: a manual drain valve, an automatic drain valve or the compressed air blow-out method.
- Valves and Backflow prevention – If your valves and backflow preventers are above ground they should be insulated for the long cold winter they are about to encounter.
- Heads – This is a good time to inspect and make any needed repairs to the sprinkler heads throughout your lawn. A summer of foot traffic and activity can bend and damage heads. Some heads are removable for easy cleaning and storage through the winter.
Without proper preparation your sprinkler system might be damaged by freezing temperatures. Be sure to take proper steps during the water removal and cleaning stages so that you don’t have serious repairs or replacement to do next spring.