Winter is Coming – How to Winterize Your Irrigation System

Close-up photograph of ice and frost on grass and leaves on a cold foggy winter morning

 

Winter is coming! Sadly, we aren’t talking about Game of Thrones. It’s that time of year that the cold temperatures roll in and present a threat to your irrigation system. It’s time to shut down your lawn irrigation system and prepare for the cold. If you don’t prepare properly, your pipes risk freezing over and cracking in the cold. To avoid irrigation repair, here are three things we highly suggest you do to winterize your system:

 

Insulate

Start by shutting off the water supply to your system before the temperature drops below freezing. The main shut-off valve in your system is what mainly needs protection. Ensure it’s sheltered with some kind of insulation to prevent damage. Any other above ground piping also needs to be insulated. To insulate, look for foam insulating tape, foam insulating tubes or even pine straw in your local hardware store.

 

Drain the Pipes

Don’t forget to drain your pipes! In warmer areas like Florida, it’s not necessary to drain all the water from your underground pipes. Although it’s unlikely to freeze that deep, if you have a small garden watering system, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Stay on the safe side and remove a good amount of water so the pipes won’t freeze and crack.

There are several ways to drain your pipes. These include the manual drain valve, the automatic drain valve or the compressed air blow-out methods. Due to potential safety risks, we recommend calling your local irrigation specialist, Harrison Irrigation, to get the job done. This step is crucial to the winterizing process. The last thing you want to do is replace your whole pipe system in the spring.

 

Protect Valves and Backflow Preventers

If your valve or backflow preventers are above ground, make it a priority to get those insulated. Again, use pine straw, foam insulating tape or tubes found in your local hardware store for insulation. Replacing these will be an expense if they crack in the freezing cold! Consider having your pipes buried before next winter because the chances of them freezing above ground is much higher than if they’re buried.

This all might sound a little overwhelming but we’re going to simplify it for you. Basically, turn off the water to the irrigation system at the main valve. Second, set the automatic irrigation controller to the setting “rain”. Third, turn on each of the valves to release pressure in the pipes. Lastly, drain any water or other liquid that could freeze. It’s a piece of cake!

 

Knowing that in the spring your system will start and operate properly without any repair is definitely worth the effort. It will save you a fortune and a massive headache! If you have any further questions on winterizing your irrigation system or if you need a sprinkler repair, don’t hesitate to reach out to Harrison Irrigation with any questions. We’d be happy to answer any questions and help in any way we can to get your system ready for winter! Winter is coming, call today 904-289-1354!