Win­ter­ize your sprin­kler sys­tem

The Progress-Index Weekend - - HOME - By Laura Firszt

Fall is the time to get mov­ing and get your house and its equip­ment win­ter-ready. If you live in any part of the United States that ex­pe­ri­ences freez­ing win­ters, pre­par­ing your lawn sprin­kler sys­tem for the cold is an im­por­tant part of your fall home main­te­nance rou­tine. Here’s why it’s es­sen­tial to win­ter­ize your sprin­kler sys­tem be­fore the first frost is ex­pected in your area.

Af­ter every wa­ter­ing, small amounts of liq­uid re­main in your sprin­kler sys­tem, even when it sits un­used for a long pe­riod. If this wa­ter is left undrained through the cold weather, it will freeze and ex­pand, dam­ag­ing the sys­tem’s pip­ing and other com­po­nents.

Win­ter­iz­ing a lawn sprin­kler sys­tem con­sists of drain­ing out the wa­ter in one of three ways, de­pend­ing on the type of sys­tem you have: man­u­ally, au­to­mat­i­cally, or with the help of an air com­pres­sor. Win­ter­ize your sprin­kler sys­tem at the right time and save money and has­sle, be­cause you won’t have to re­pair the setup when spring rolls around again.

• If your sys­tem has man­ual or auto drain valves, you will see them at the ir­ri­gation pip­ing’s low points and ends. To prep for win­ter, first close down the main wa­ter sup­ply to your sys­tem.

• For a man­ual drain sys­tem, open all the man­ual drain valves and al­low the wa­ter to flow out of the main line. Be sure to drain all liq­uid from the sprin­kler heads, pip­ing, and back­flow de­vice. Then close the man­ual drain valves.

• For an auto drain sys­tem, re­lieve the sys­tem pres­sure, which will ac­ti­vate the auto drain once the pres­sure has gone down be­low 10 PSI. open the back­flow de­vice’s test cocks.

• Grad­u­ally taper off the amount of wa­ter you give the lawn, start­ing a few weeks be­fore you plan to win­ter­ize your sprin­kler sys­tem. You’ll have health­ier grass and soil next grow­ing sea­son.

• Take this op­por­tu­nity to re­pair any dam­aged sprin­kler com­po­nents, so the sys­tem will be in great shape for spring.

• Which­ever win­ter­i­za­tion method you use, once you’ve drained the wa­ter, pro­tect the main wa­ter shutoff valve with foam in­su­lat­ing tape topped with a plas­tic bag.

• Don’t want to worry about sched­ul­ing sprin­kler win­ter­i­za­tion? You can ar­range a sprin­kler main­te­nance con­tract with a re­li­able lo­cal land­sca­per.

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