sprinkler winterization – Winterization is usually at the top of everyone’s mind. That’s because we can all nature of the plants in winter.
see the benefits of a properly maintained and winterized system. A typical winter creates the need to winterize.
This is done by removing the water from the system to ensure that the lines don’t freeze and ensuring that the system is properly secured. However, some winters are very mild and may only dip below freezing a few times throughout the season.
It’s the mild winter that causes the most damage to our grass and flowering plants and isn’t typically realized until the spring or early summer – by then it’s too late. We monitor the weather very carefully and advise if winterization is necessary. It may only be that we advise you to suspend the watering for a short time then turn the system back on. REMEMBER – A DRY FREEZE does more damage to your plant life and a wet freeze helps to protect the delicate.
Sprinkler winterization – should be for systems in regions wherever cold winter weather is probably going. Water expands when it freezes, and any water trapped in a sprinkler system will put stress on the plumbing, causing cracking and breakage. If your pipes break, you will have a much more costly problem on your hands.
Many people choose to do this project on their own, but if you do not have a great degree of slope to your land you will need to buy or rent an air compressor to blow out all the water. In the long run, you’ll get your money’s worth, though it may be easier to schedule a pro to get this job done right.
Table of Contents
How much does it cost to winterize your sprinkler system?
It usually costs $50 to $100 to have your sprinkler system blown out for the winter. You can do it yourself with a one-time purchase of a $150 air compressor.
How do I protect my sprinkler system from freezing?
Insulate your assets:
Shut off the water to the irrigation system. The most shut off valve for your irrigation system should be secured against the freeze. Make sure it is protected with insulation (foam insulation tape and a plastic bag) to protect it from hard winter temperatures and avoid it from freezing If you do not have a main shut off valve, you would possibly think about putting in one as a preventative investment. Also, any on prime of ground piping ought to be insulated. Self-sticking foam-insulating tape or foam insulating tubes sometimes found reception offer stores square measure fine.
Stay in control:
If you’ve got an automatic system then you’ll ought to “shut down” the controller (timer). Most controllers have a “rain-mode” that merely shuts off the signals to the valves. The controller continues to remain time, the programming information isn’t lost (start times, valve run times, etc.) and also the clock continues to run throughout the winter.
The only change is that actually, the valves will not activate. If your controller is to blame for activating a pump, as a precaution you ought to take away the wires that square measure connected to the MV (Master Valve) and customary terminals. This can prevent the possibility of the pump being accidentally activated which it could cause damage from overheating. An alternate to victimization the rain mode is just to shut off the ability to the controller. If you do, you ought to reprogram the time and probably all of your settings still, within the future spring.
Drain the pipes:
Now you wish to get rid of the water from the pipes and sprinklers so it will not freeze/expand and break the pipe.
There are a few ways to drain your pipes: a manual drain valve, an automatic drain valve or the compressed air blow-out method, However, since there we tend toll be} potential safety risks we tend to advocate contacting your native irrigation specialist. Several provide mechanical device winterization services this point of the year.
Protect valves and backflow preventers:
Insulate backflow preventers and valves if they on the ground. You can also use insulation tape for this. Be sure you are not blocking the air vents and drain outlets on backflow preventers.
What happens if your sprinkler system freezes?
If there is still water left in the pipes over the winter and freezes, there is a very good chance that the ice will expand and break or crack the irrigation system. Once the water thaws those cracks will send water within the house or underground, inflicting flooding or excess water to leak and pool. It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to find out that their lawn has become a swamp in the spring because of a burst pipe underground. The backflow, located outside,
should be removed and brought within to stop phase transition. “A frozen flow on a home will value up to $350 to switch,” advises Malarkey.
How much psi do you need to blow out a sprinkler system?
CAUTION! WEAR PROPER EYE PROTECTION!
Extreme care should be taken once processing out the system to avoid excessive pressure which might harm valves or mechanical device pipe or cause physical injury as a result of flying detritus. Don’t stand over any irrigation parts (pipes, sprinklers, and valves) throughout air blow out. Gas pressure mustn’t exceed fifty pounds per area unit (psi) for systems with polymer piping, and eighty psi for systems with PVC piping.
Local irrigation contractors usually offer this service for a reasonable fee which may also include start-up in the spring. Depending on how extensive your system is and what type of equipment you have installed, you may want to choose a professional who is fully equipped to provide this service.
The blow out methodology utilizes AN compressor with a cubic measure per Minute (CFM) rating of 80-100 for any inject of 2″ or less. These styles of compressors are often rented at your native instrumentation rental yard. Blow out procedure activating sprinkler control valves from the timer:
Close mainline sprinkler shutoff valve.
Relieve the water pressure on the mainline by activating a circuit, or zone, from your timer. Activate the circuit that is furthest from the air connection before introducing air into the piping.
Attach the compressor hose to the blow out adapter.
Set the pressure control valve on the mechanical device to fifty psi for poly pipe systems or eighty psi for PVC pipe systems.
Turn on the mechanical device. Step by step increases the flow of air till the sprinkler heads pop. Range} of flow or volume needed is dependent upon the length of the pipe run and also the number of heads.
Sustained heat from the compressed air may damage the pipe and other components. Do not blow any circuit more than 2 minutes at a time. Switch to a different station, or zone, by advancing the timer to the succeeding circuit. Do not turn the timer off at any time during this operation until the compressor is first shut off.
so as to substantiate adequate remotion of lines, repeat the cycle a pair of or plenty of times, activating each zone from the timer, until nothing over a fine mist appears from the heads. Several sprinklers that use plastic gears in their drive mechanisms additionally use water for lubrication and cooling. If a circuit is allowed to run with nothing however air for extended periods there’s a big risk of damaging the drive mechanism of the sprinkler.
After blowing out all the zones, leave one zone on while shutting down the compressor. Turn the compressor off at this time.
detach the compressor from the adapter to the system inject.
Turn the timer to “Off”.
Blow out procedure activating valves manually:
Close main sprinkler shutoff valve.
Relieve the water pressure on the mainline by slowly opening the manual shutoff handle on one of your irrigation zone control valves.
Connect the compressor hose to the blow out adapter.
Set the pressure regulating valve on the compressor to 50 psi for poly pipe systems or 80 psi for PVC pipe systems.
Turn on the irrigation location you want to blow out.
Turn on the compressor. Gradually increase the flow of air from the compressor flow valve (not from the sprinkler control valve) until the sprinkler heads pop up. The amounts of flow or volume needed are going to be dependent upon the length of the pipe run and also the range of heads.
Sustained heat from the compressed air may damage the pipe and other components. Do not blow any circuit more than 2 minutes at a time.
After a pair of minutes, flip the compressor off, and permit all of the air to fully purge from the compressor tank and therefore the system.
Turn on the next irrigation control valve you wish to winterize.
Turn off the last irrigation control valve you have just blown out.
Repeat Steps five through ten till you’ve got completed a pair of or additional blow out cycles per zone. There ought to solely be a fine mist processing from every station if the winterization procedure was winning. Cycle once more PRN.
Turn the compressor off. And then let the air at intervals the tank or irrigation components to spread before approaching the hose or valves.
Unhook the compressor from the adapter to the sprinkler mainline.
Do you really need to blow out your sprinklers?
A lot of time people say: I didn’t blow out my sprinkler system last year and I didn’t have a problem. Or, I’ve been doing it this way for years. Or, I have an auto-drain sprinkler system. Explain why it’s a good idea to have your sprinkler professionally blown out for the winter. After all, your sprinkler system is the longest lasting appliance in your house. Take a little care and you’ll get 40-60 years of life out of it!
Many people often just turn off their sprinkler and let it drain out.
In that instance we’re just hoping that evaporation takes place in the ground and cross your fingers after the first freeze, nothing happens.
There is one potential drawback therewith methodology – sprinkler pipes don’t seem to be perpetually put in with the pipes parallel to the ground; there square measure usually peaks and valleys within the pipe. In other words, there may be one part of your hose that forms a dip, creating a great place for water to collect and freeze, and even a little bit of ice in one spot will destroy over time.
When the water freezes and expands, the PVC pipe will likely burst in multiple places. Furthermore, frozen water trapped in the backflow assembly will cause destruction to the internal components of the pipe. This kind of harm would price far more than the value of having All piece of ground do an expert blow out.
Okay, so you have an auto drain sprinkler system?
Let’s explain how these work: your auto drain sprinkler system has a spring. When there’s pressure, it pushes the spring closed. When you turn off the pressure, the spring opens and allows the water to run out. Or that’s the plan anyway. If that spring doesn’t open for some reason, you have cracks in your pipe…or worse. Let’s face it, we’ve seen auto drains fail. Look at it this way – you are working with a $5 spring, burying it and then trusting that it, will work to protect your $2,000+ system.
Although the compressor you have at home is great, it only offers a rating of 3-5 CFM (cubic foot per minute). After all, it’s not pressure that’s the issue, it’s the volume. Often, your DIY project ends up in exploitation an excessive amount of pressure and not enough CFM – and whereas your system build takes it, over time the heads can merely crumble. Long story short, if you utilize the compressor you picked up at the native ironmongery shop, you’ll have a large amount of pressure, however, it additionally ends up in plenty of wear and tear and tears on your system!
The blow out technique involves inserting a tiny low quantity of pressure behind the system employing an industrial compressor at solely 55-65 psi however that delivers 185 CFM. Too much pressure will cause injury to the valves or piping and employ a little look compressor can lead to it not having enough “free” air to properly ready the system. When properly done, the blow out method forces all of the water out of the sprinkler system so there is no chance of freeze damage throughout the winter months.
When should you stop watering your lawn in the fall?
Fall lawn care is critical to a maintaining a beautiful front yard. You’ll need to change the cultural care you offered your grass in summer to fit the new season and the lawn’s needs. Here are some field care tips for the fall: Watering – after you are caring for season lawns, watch your irrigation. With the dry, hot summer behind you, your field desires less to drink. While reducing irrigation is an essential part of caring for autumn lawns, don’t stop watering abruptly. You need to stay minimal irrigation going all winter long unless your space gets a minimum of one inch. of precipitation per week.
Mowing – Keep mowing! You thought you could stop mowing the grass when the kids returned to school? Think again. You need to keep mowing as long as the lawn is growing. For the final, before-winter mow, cut cool-season grasses to 2½ inches and warm-season grasses between 1½ and 2 inches. This is an important part of lawn maintenance in autumn. Mulching leaves – Care of lawns in fall requires you to get out the garden tools. Those tree leaves that have fallen on your grass could also be thick enough to smother it, however raking and burning isn’t necessary. To take care of lawns in fall, use a mulching mower to shred the leaves into small pieces.
Leave these in place to protect and nourish your lawn through winter Fertilizing – fall field care includes feeding your field if you’ve got cool-season grass. Warm-season grasses mustn’t get fed till spring. Make certain to use a slow-release granular chemical. Put on garden gloves, and then sprinkle the correct amount evenly over your lawn. Water the all the area well unless rain arrives within a few days Seeding – If your cool-season grass is trying vacant or bald in spots, you’ll reseed it as a part of field maintenance in fall, since the bottom is sometimes heated enough to germinate grass seeds. Sprinkle the suitable form of field seeds on those spots that require facilitating. Use seeds at regarding 0.5 the suggested rate for brand spanking new lawns. Fill again warm-season lawns in spring, not as half care of lawns in fall.
Sprinkler winterization Summary
sprinkler winterization – Many landscape companies offer to “winterize” irrigation systems. This typically involves debilitating water from pumps (if a surface water body is that the water supply) and pumping compressed gas into the system to force any water out of the piping.
Removing water from any surface-water pumps is a must for the winter. Even a little quantity of water left in an exceedingly pump casing will freeze and crack the casing, requiring some costly repair. As little as ¼ inch of water in the bottom of a pump casing has been known to freeze and crack a pump casing.
These square measure areas wherever it does not freeze or a typical freeze lasts for less than a couple of hours. If it snows the snow melts in an associate hour some. Ice may form at night but quickly melts in the morning. If you have hose bibs or water pipes on the outside of your house chances are they are not wrapped in insulation to keep them from freezing (because they don’t need to be!).
Here’s the procedure for all temperate climate areas:
Shut off the water supply to the irrigation system The main shut off valve for your irrigation system has to be “freeze proof”. That means it should be below the frost line, within a heated area, wrapped with insulation, or somehow shielded from chilling. It doesn’t do much good if the shut-off valve freezes and breaks! So what happens if you don’t have a main shut-off valve for your irrigation system? Then you’ll need to install one!
If you have an automatic system then you will need to “shut down” the controller (timer) also. Most controllers have a “rain mode” that merely shuts off the signals to the valves. The controller continues to stay time, the programming info (start times, valve run times, etc,) is not lost, and therefore the clock continues to run, all that changes is that the valves do not return on. An alternate to exploitation the rain mode is just to shut off the facility to the controller. If you do, you’ll have to reprogram the time, and perhaps all of your alternative settings too, within the spring! How much electricity is saved by turning it off? That depends. Solid state controllers use a little energy-about constant as an evening lightweight. Mechanical controllers use more- the maximum amount or quite a one hundred watt bulb in several cases My rule of thumb is that if the controller features a digital time show you must use the rain setting on the controller If the controller uses a dial, form of an analog face., close up the facility to the controller to avoid wasting electricity. If a pump is wired to your controller you should disconnect the power to the controller rather than using the rain shut down in the feature. There is a foreign risk that the controller might harm the pump by accidentally beginning it whereas the system is close up.
In temperate areas, it is not necessary to remove the water from the underground pipes since it doesn’t freeze that deep.
If you have gear-drive rotor sprinklers installed above ground the water needs to be drained out of them or they may freeze and rupture. Often the water will drain out on its own. If the water doesn’t drain out you will need to install a drain valve somewhere on the sprinkler supply pipe so you can drain the water out. A 1/2″ valve will work fine another option is to get rid of the rotors and shake the water out of them, then replace them (or store them within for the winter). Many rotors have a built-in check valve that prevents the water from draining out, so you have got to get rid of them and shake the water out. thus if you have got any gear-drive rotors mounted on top of ground certain make sure take care} to ascertain to create sure the water has drained out of them.
Any above ground piping needs to be insulated. You can obtain self-projecting foam friction tape to wrap around the pipe that works fine. You can also install the foam insulating tubes commonly sold at home supply stores on them.
Insulate backflow preventers and valves (or remove and store them) if they are above ground. You can also use insulation tape for this Do not block the air vents and drain retailers on back flowing preventers! An inexpensive trick is to induce some R-11 fiberglass insulation and wrap it around the valve or backflowing preventer. (Crumpled up newspaper will also work for emergency insulation!) Then place a heavy duty plastic trash bag over the whole thing to keep it dry and use duct tape to hold it all in place. (For a more permanent installation you may want to use heavier plastic than a trash bag!) Don’t seal the bag tightly, allow for an air passage at the bottom so water will run out and air will flow in! Simply wrap it tight enough to stay the bag and insulation from processing off. Insulation won’t work if it gets wet You can conjointly obtain ready-made insulation blankets for your valves and flowing preventers at the most mechanical device provide stores!. (You may need to special order them.) These consist of a large bag made from fiberglass filler sandwiched between soft vinyl cloths, much like a sleeping bag this insulated bag goes over the back flowing preventer and ties or padlocks in situ. One whole that I even have used is “Polar Parka”. They get a free plug as a result of they sent American state a little sample insulation bag, regarding the dimensions of a bed pillow! I carry it in my truck wherever I exploit it as Associate in Nursing emergency pillow, a hand hotter, or a good place to place six-pack of soda to stay them cold throughout the summer!
Chances are if you live in one of these climates I don’t need to provide a definition of “how cold is cold” for you! If you ever need to shovel snow, or if ice forms and doesn’t melt for days on end then you’re in a neighborhood wherever you would like to require some major measures to shield your irrigation system from chilling.
Here’s what you need to do if you live in a cold climate area.
Shut off the water supply to the irrigation system. The main shut off valve for your irrigation system needs to be “freeze proof”. That means it should be below the frost line, inside a heated room, wrapped with insulation, or somehow protected from freezing. It doesn’t do much good if the shut-off valve freezes and breaks! What if you don’t have a main shut-off valve for your irrigation system? Then you’ll need to install one!
If you have an automatic system then you will need to “shut down” the controller (timer) also. Most controllers have a “rain mode” that merely shuts off the signals to the valves. The controller continues to keep time, the programming information (start times, valve run times, etc,) isn’t lost, and the clock continues to run, all that changes is that the valves don’t come on An alternative to victimization the rain mode is just to shut off the ability to the controller. If you do, you’ll need to reprogram the time, and maybe all your other settings too, in the spring! How much electricity is saved by turning it off? That depends Solid state controllers use little energy-about a similar as an evening lightweight. Mechanical controllers use more- as much or more than a 100-watt bulb in many cases. My rule of thumb is that if the controller features a digital time show you ought to use the rain setting on the controller. If the controller uses a dial, like an analog clock face, turn off the power to the controller to save electricity. If a pump is wired to your controller you should disconnect the power to the controller rather than using the rain shut down feature. There is an overseas risk that the controller might harm the pump by accidentally beginning it whereas the system is clean up.
Remove the backflow preventer, remove water from the risers, and cap the risers. (If you are lucky you can siphon the water out of the risers. More likely you will need to pump it out. I’ve found a wet/dry shop vacuum works fine with a few modifications. The hose on the vacuum is usually too large to work; you will probably need to rig a smaller hose onto it using duct tape.) Drain the water out of the flow preventer and place it in storage for the winter. (You can reinstall it after the water’s drained out if you want to, but I prefer to store it out of harm’s way.) If you’ve got valves put in on top of ground you would like to empty the water out of them, it is a sensible plan to get rid of and store them additionally. An alternate method is to install pipe heating cables on the above ground valves and backflow preventer then install insulation over the heater cables. Of course, you’ll have to pay for electricity to run the heaters all winter, and if the electrical power goes off for an extended period crack!
While we’re on the subject of backflow preventers, your backflow preventer, along with an above ground pipe, should have permanent insulation installed on it. This is to protect it from those unexpected early and late season freezes! Those freezes area unit usually lightweight, thus insulation can offer you the protection you would like. Backflow preventers are very expensive to replace. A few years back an unexpected freeze resulted in so many broken backflow preventers that for a short period it was impossible to buy one due to lack of availability One way to insulate the pipes and flowing preventer is to use the self-stick foam insulation tape that is accessible at the most hardware and residential offer stores!. Do not block the air vents and drain outlets on backflow preventers! A cheap trick is to induce some R-11 covering material insulation and wrap it around the valve or flow preventer. (Crumpled up newspaper will also work for emergency insulation!) Then place a heavy duty plastic trash bag over the whole thing to keep it dry and use duct tape to hold it all in place. (For a more permanent installation you may want to use heavier plastic than a trash bag!) Don’t seal the bag tightly, allow for an air passage at the bottom so water can run out and air can flow in! Just wrap it tight enough to keep the bag and insulation from blowing off. Insulation will not work if it gets wet! You can also buy ready-made insulation blankets for your valves and backflow preventers at most sprinkler supply stores. (You may need to special order them.) These consist of a large bag made from fiberglass filler sandwiched between soft vinyl cloth, much like a sleeping bag This insulated bag goes over the flow preventer and ties or padlocks in situ. One complete that I even have used is “Polar Parka”. They get a free plug because they sent me a small sample insulation bag, about the size of a bed pillow; I carry it in my truck wherever I exploit it as an associate emergency pillow, a hand hotter, or an excellent place to place six-pack of soda to stay them cold throughout the summer!
Now you need to remove the water from the pipes and sprinklers so that it won’t freeze and break the pipe. There are 2 ways that to try to this, drain the water out through drain valves, blow it out victimization air, you’ll even suck it out typically with a store vacuum (that’s a lot of work though, you’ll have to empty the shop vac over, and over, and over…!). Blowing out the system is the best method to use.