Winter will be here in Arkansas before we know it. Avoid the risk of damage and winterize your sprinkler system before temperatures drop below freezing. Winterizing is the process by which all water is evacuated from your irrigation pipes to prevent them from bursting in freezing temperatures.
Why Is It Important to Winterize Your Sprinkler System
The sprinkler system in your yard is probably the most important feature for the health of your landscape. Your irrigation system ensures that your grass, plants, and trees get the right amount of water at the right time of day. Winterizing your system will help you avoid costly damage to the pipes and the sprinkler heads throughout your lawn. Even if you have drained the water out of your irrigation system, some water will remain and can freeze, expand, and crack PVC piping. It can also cause the sprinkler heads to burst. Fixing burst pipes and replacing broken sprinkler heads is an expensive and time-consuming chore that can be avoided by winterizing your sprinkler system this fall.
When Should I Winterize My Sprinkler System?
Timing for winterizing your sprinkler system comes down to the weather. It’s best to aim for the middle of fall between October 1st and Thanksgiving. You want to have it winterized before the first hard freeze of the season. The first hard frost is when the temperatures drop below 28 degrees or below and stay there for more than a couple of hours.
Steps to Follow
Shut-Off the Water Supply
The first step in winterizing your irrigation system is to locate and turn off the main water supply that feeds your sprinklers. The main shut-off might be in your garage or basement. Some shut-offs are buried underground and may need a key to turn-off. If your main shut-off is outside, make sure it is protected against the freezing temperatures and is well insulated.
Drain Your Pipes
To make sure you get all the remaining water out of your pipes you must drain it in one of three ways: using the automatic drain valve, the manual drain valve, or attach an air compressor to blow out the valve and expel the water.
After shutting off the water, turn on one of the sections or sprinkler heads to relieve built-up pressure. Once the pressure falls below 10 psi the automatic drain valves will open and the water will drain on its own.
Drain valves are located at the ends of the low points of your system. Open the valves and the water should drain out easily.
Blow Out Method
This method involves using an air compressor with a CFM rating of 80 to 100. The air hose should be attached with a coupling device that matches the one located on your mainline. Compressed air is very effective in making sure all of the water is removed from the pipes, but this method is complicated and potentially dangerous. This should only ever be done by trained professionals.
What if The Temperature Drops Before I am Able to Winterize My Sprinkler System
At TLC Turfmaster Lawn Care, we recommend scheduling your winterization as soon as possible to ensure this doesn’t happen. In the unfortunate circumstance that it does, find all the above-ground pipes and wrap them with some form of insulation. This could include professional pipe insulation, old towels, or blankets.
Does all of this sound like a lot of work? It is! Why risk damaging the most important investment of your lawn care when you can call in the professionals at TLC Turfmaster Lawn Care. Our professional lawn irrigation installation program includes installing, digging, check-ups, spring start-ups, and winterization. We do all of the hard work and labor for you. Our knowledgeable and trained technicians are licensed, bonded, and insured. You never have to worry when TLC Turfmaster is on your side. Contact us online today to learn more about our irrigation installation and repair program, or call us at 901-509-9005. Want to get to know us better on a more personal level? Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or check out our boards on Pinterest.