Why Should you Winterize your Sprinkler System?

old sprinkler head

Even though the likelihood of deep freezing temperatures and heavy snow is usually very small in North Texas, it is still a good idea to winterize your sprinkler system by the time winter arrives. This will help avoid any damage to your system just in case unusually cold weather hits. If water is left in your irrigation lines or valves, it could freeze and expand, causing them to split or burst. When that happens, you may be in for a nasty surprise come spring when you turn your system on. Burst pipes can cause flooding, significant same to your home’s plumbing system, and much more.

There are 3 ways to winterize your sprinkler system. The method you choose will depend on what type of system you have.

Manual Drain Valve Method

For systems with a manual drain valve:

  1. Turn off your sprinkler system from its mainline shut-off valve.
  2. Open one of the system’s control valves to relieve pressure on the mainline. This can be done manually or from the system’s control box.
  3. Open the manual drive valve.
  4. Repeat for all manual drain valves on the mainline.

You will need to remove any remaining water from the valves. This can be done by taking the valves apart and drying the parts or blowing compressed air through your system. Replace any valves you may have removed and leave all in the open position to prevent the system from repressurizing during the winter.

Automatic Drain Valve Method

For systems with an automatic drain valve:

  1. Turn off your sprinkler system from its mainline shut-off valve.
  2. Open one of the system’s control valves to relieve pressure on the mainline. This can be done by hand, or from the system’s control box.
  3. Open the manual drive valve.

The automatic valves automatically remove water when your sprinkler system shuts off. However, you will still need to take apart the valves or blow compressed air through the system to remove any water that may still be in the valves.

Blow-Out with Compressed Air Method

Unless you know what you are doing, you may want to have a professional winterize your sprinkler system if it needs to be done with the compressed air blow-out method. Doing this incorrectly could cause damage to your sprinkler system, so if you have any doubts about doing it yourself, contact a professional outdoor contractor in North Texas.

  1. Begin by shutting off the main sprinkler valve.
  2. Release pressure in the system by slowly opening one of the manual shut-off handles.
  3. Attach your compressor hose to the system’s blow-out adapter.
  4. Set your compressor to 50 psi, but do not turn your compressor on.
  5. Open the zone valve to be blown out and then turn the compressor on.
  6. Increase the pressure slowly until all sprinkler heads for that zone pop up.
  7. Allow the air to blow through for no more than two minutes.
  8. Turn off your compressor to allow air to purge from the irrigation line.
  9. Close blown-out valve.
  10. Repeat the above steps twice for each zone in your sprinkler system.
  11. Disconnect your compressor and turn the power off to your sprinkler system.

Taking the time to properly winterize your sprinkler system before winter arrives can help you avoid expensive repairs in the spring.

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