If you’ve just mowed the lawn for what feels like the final time this year, then it’s also time to close down your sprinkler system for the winter. This might just seem like another thing that adds to the cost of having an irrigation system, but the fact is it will be more expensive to fix than it will be to winterize. This is also the perfect time to aerate and fertilize, that way you can ensure a vibrant lawn next year.
The Winterization Process
The winterization of your sprinkler system is basically removing all the water that is in the lines, pipes, fittings, valves, sprinklers, pumps, etc. If water is allowed to remain in the system, it will freeze and expand and break some or all of these materials. Draining and/or blowing out sprinklers leaves nothing to freeze and protects the integrity of the sprinkler system throughout the winter.
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This process of winterizing sprinklers is accomplished first by securing either manual or automatic drain valves, which rely on gravity to drain the water from the system. Of course a properly installed system laid to grade with no humps in the pipe to trap water in low areas is required for this process to work properly. Since this manual gravity draining happens underground, there is no way to be sure that enough has been drained to prevent freeze damage. The only positive way to be sure enough water has been expelled is to blow out the system.
Blowing out sprinklers is where a professional will attach an air compressor to the system and literally “blow out” the water from the lines, pipes and other parts. A professional knows how much volume and pressure to use when blowing out sprinklers, as many do-it-yourselfers typically use an insufficient volume of air and after having forced some water out, the air will ride over the top of the remaining water. This results in the remaining water draining into low spots and subjecting the system to freeze damage.
Winterize Sprinklers and Feel Secure
Some things people can do themselves like painting, staining and lawn care. Certainly, professionals can do these things better and faster, but they also cost money. However, there are some things you can do that is still probably best left to the pros. Winterizing a sprinkler system is something that should be left to those who know what they’re doing. Winterizing sprinklers does not cost that much, even if you consider the cost of doing it once a year for several years, but the cost of not doing it right can mean replacing the whole system.