Winterizing your lawn sprinkler system is an important task to protect it from freezing and potential damage. When temperatures drop below freezing, the water inside your sprinkler system can freeze, expand, and crack the pipes, leading to costly repairs in the spring. Fortunately, you can winterize your sprinkler system from home with just a few simple steps. In this article, we will guide you through the process of winterizing your sprinkler system.
Step 1: Shut Off Water and Valves
Begin by shutting off the water supply to the sprinkler system using the main valve, which is typically located near your water meter. If your system has backflow preventer valves, there are usually two valves that lead into the device, so be sure to shut both off. If your system doesn’t use potable water, it might not have a backflow preventer. Shutting off the water and valves is important because it prevents water from flowing into the system and potentially causing damage.
Step 2: Turn Off the Timer
If your sprinkler system runs on an automatic timer, turn it off. Some systems have a “rain mode” that allows you to power down the timer without losing any programmed information or settings. Using rain mode throughout the winter is usually safe and won’t increase your energy costs. When spring arrives, turn off rain mode, and the timer should work normally.
Step 3: Drain the Water
It’s crucial to drain the water that’s already in the sprinkler system to prevent damage caused by freezing and expanding water. The drainage method you use depends on the type of system you have. For systems with manual draining, open the shut-off valves one at a time and let the water drain out. For systems with automatic draining, run one of the sprinkler heads with the water supply off to activate the drainage system. Loosen the solenoid on each valve to allow air into the system and water to flow out. Avoid using the blow-out method with an air compressor, which can be destructive and dangerous. Instead, hire a professional to do the job.
Step 4: Insulate Above-Ground Components
To protect above-ground components of the sprinkler system from the winter weather, wrap foam covers or insulation tape around exposed pipes, the main shut-off valve, and any backflow preventers. This step is important because it helps to prevent damage caused by freezing temperatures.