How Do You Winterize Your Sprinkler System?
When the winter arrives and everything starts turning to snow and ice, your sprinkler system is at risk. The water in and around the sprinklers can freeze and cause damage to the entire system. This is why winterizing it is so important. Here are some ways to get your sprinkler system ready for the winter season.
Disconnect the Water Supply
Start off winterizing your sprinkler system by turning off the water supply. With no water supply, there is nothing that can freeze and destroy you sprinkler system in the winter. There are a few different ways to do this. Start by looking to see if you have gate valves. These are meant as fire protection and used in newer sprinkler systems.
The bottom portion of it will be made of cast iron, while the top includes a red valve. Turn this valve clockwise to stop the water supply. Another way to shut off the water is by finding the double-check valve. This type of valve has two handles, and only one of them needs to be turned clockwise to stop the water. Test your sprinkler to make sure the water no longer comes on.
Remove the Pressure Vacuum Breaker
This is an additional step that makes sure no water will be coming out of the sprinklers. It is optional, but recommended for full winterizing of the sprinkler system. The pressure vacuum breaker is part of your irrigation system and keeps non-potable water from entering your water supply. There will be a valve on top of a chamber that is vented to the atmosphere. It should be near your main water source. If you can remove it before winter, do so. If you can't remove it completely, at least try to drain and insulate it.
Disconnect the Timer
The timer on your sprinkler system also needs to be disconnected and shut down. The timer should have an "off" mode or a "rain" mode. This tells the timer that it does not need to turn on at regular intervals anymore. If you don't have these modes on your timer, it needs to be disconnected completely from the sprinkler system. While no water will come out without water supply, it can still damage your sprinkler system having the timer go on when it isn't needed.
Drain the System
The final step to winterizing your sprinkler system is by draining the system. You need to remove as much water from the lines as you can to prevent this water from freezing in the winter. You might have noticed some of the water already draining when you shut off the water supply. This is because the lack of pressure when the valves are turned off can allow some of the water out. If this didn't happen, you should use auto drain valves to drain the rest of the water.
If you couldn't do these steps in time and your sprinkler system has frozen, contact a professional service like Hager Plumbing to diagnose and repair any damages.