When to Start Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

6 Sep 19

When to Start Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

As summer temperatures begin to dissipate, and fall temperatures come into the mix, the need to water your lawn becomes less of a necessity. Soon, the grass across the state of Missouri will begin entering a dormant state in preparation for the winter season.

So in order to protect your outdoor piping and sprinkler system, when is the right time to start winterizing? To avoid any possibility of damage, sprinkler lines need to be drained prior to temperatures dipping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Failing to winterize a sprinkler system before a hard freeze (air temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit) can lead to expensive and time-consuming repair costs.

A good rule of thumb is to have your sprinkler system winterized in early fall, but we recommend keeping an eye on the weather, and ensure that your watering system is drained and blown out at least one week prior to the seasons first freeze.

Why Winterizing is Important

Failing to winterize a sprinkler system can lead to water freezing inside piping, causing cracking and even bursting. In addition, when water is left inside a system, sprinkler heads can break and pop off the main body attachment. The most important section to protect during the winter months includes the manifold, which is the main component of a sprinkler system and controls the water supply to different watering zones. Needing to replace the manifold can be both expensive and challenging.

As the majority of sprinkler systems are buried between 8 to 12 inches underground, the avoidance of freezing in locations like the Midwest is unlikely, and with installations averaging over $3000, protecting your investment is recommended.

How is Winterizing Done?

While winterizing your sprinkler system can be completed by yourself, it is suggested to have the process done by a trained irrigation professional as the proper technique and required steps can be complex.

A brief overview of a sprinkler system blowout consists of:

1. Turning off the water supply
2. Open valves to manually draining water left in the sprinkler system (backflow preventer, manifold, etc.)
3. Attaching an industrial air compressor to blow out remaining water through sprinkler heads
4. Leave valves open at 45 degrees for winter months

If you are attempting to winterize your system on your own avoid these mistakes in order to preserve the integrity of your sprinkler system.

Avoid These Mistakes

• Do not allow the air pressure to exceed 80 PSI for systems with PVC piping and 50 PSI for systems with polyethylene piping.

• Do not leave the flow sensors installed. Always remove them first and seal the pipe to avoid damage to the sensor. Do not stand over component parts while the system is pressurized with air.

• Do not leave the air compressor unattended.

• Do not blow the system out through the backflow or pump. First blow out the system, then drain the backflow or pump.

• Do not leave the manual drain valves open after the blowout.

Need Your Sprinkler System Winterized?

Is your sprinkler system ready to be winterized? Don’t hesitate to contact us to help provide you with the irrigation services you need! Invest in protecting your sprinkler system for the summers to come.