Another year is flying by. Seasons are changing and fall is upon us. As temperatures begin to lower, there are multiple things we all have to do to protect our homes and prepare for the bitter cold. One of the most important tasks to check off the list is irrigation system winterization.

Irrigation systems are tasked with keeping our yard healthy and protected, so when winter is around the corner we have to protect our lawn irrigation systems. Extreme cold conditions can cause significant damage to your sprinkler heads and irrigation pipes. This damage can result in lengthy and costly repairs. Following this article’s steps will ensure you are prepared for any winter conditions. Clearwater Irrigation is happy to help with any questions or services needed to winterize your sprinkler system.

What Does it Mean to Winterize Your Irrigation System?

Winterizing simply refers to the act of conditioning an item for the freezing of winter. Like all things involving water, it is especially important to winterize your irrigation system. Frozen water expands and hardens which can damage all parts of a sprinkler system. Winterizing removes the water from your system so there is no threat of damage during colder weather. Removing water from your system can be done by following our tested 3-step process.

3 Steps to Winterize your Irrigation System

Clearwater Irrigation has serviced many systems for our clients in order to protect them for the winter months. During our experiences, we have developed these 3 simple steps for customers looking for a more DIY approach.

1. Shut Down Your System

This is a two-part step. When preparing your system for a long-dormant phase, you must shut off BOTH the water supply and irrigation system controls. Shutting down the system completely guarantees water will not reenter your system after you drain the water, a later step. This step will also lower your utility bills by reducing the energy and water expenses associated when your lawn irrigation systems are in use.

The first part of this step is to turn off the water supply to the system. While working on locating and turning off the valves of your irrigation system, it is safest to turn off the main shut-off valve at your home’s water meter. After the water pressure has been cut off to your home, you should find the valves specifically for the irrigation system within your home. This valve can be a simple manual valve or a backflow preventer valve if your system has a backflow preventer installed. When all control valves leading to your system are closed it is safe to reopen the main shut-off valve to your home.

The second part of shutting down your system is to turn off the controller or timer. It is important to turn off the device governing your system as well as the water supply. This will guarantee water will not be accidentally reintroduced over the winter season. You can simply turn the device off, but this step varies based on the type of controller you have. Some devices have a rain mode which will prevent your controller from drawing energy or water while preventing the loss of any programmed settings that can be lost by the complete shutdown. The first step of the winterization process is the most crucial to prevent accidents in the next steps to come.

2. Drain Your Irrigation System

Draining your irrigation system is the most vital step to winterizing your irrigation system. The way your system is drained is determined by the type of system you have installed. There are 3 types of draining methods:

  • Manual Draining
  • Automatic Draining
  • Blow-out Draining

Manual draining is the simplest and most straightforward method of draining. Manual draining utilizes control valves at the lowest part of your irrigation system to use gravity as the working force to drain your system. in order to manually drain your system, open these control valves to release the excess water and all them to work their magic. Simply return later to close off the control valves once all water has been drained.

Automatic draining uses the remaining pressure in your system to force the water out by running a sprinkler after the main shut-off valve is closed. This process will not entirely clear the excess water though. You should locate valves and slowly open them to allow air to push out the water remaining.

Blow-out draining utilizes compressed air blow-out methods. Some systems have connections designed for connecting an air compressor to your system. This allows for condensed air pressure to forcefully remove water. Blow-out draining is the most dangerous, but effective method of draining. Improper use of a powerful air compressor can cause damage you are trying to prevent resulting in costly irrigation system repair. We suggest reaching out to a professional for this specific winterization service.

3. Insulate Above Ground Parts

The final step is to insulate any piping or valves that may be exposed to winter temperatures. Underground pipes are naturally insulated, however, ground parts require extra care. Wrapping exposed areas with foam insulation to prevent damage and protect from environmental damage.

Clearwater Irrigation by Landsburg Landscaping is an experienced irrigation professional and ready to help you with your lawn sprinkler system needs. Whether you are installing a new system, getting ready to open a sprinkler system in Spring, or need to repair your current one, The Clearwater Irrigation team is ready to be at your, and your lawns’, service. Contact us today and have your lawn happy and healthy throughout the warm season!