Winter is coming. That means it’s time to turn off your sprinkler system for the year, so it doesn’t get damaged by the extreme cold. It’s even more critical this year with scientists predicting frigid temperatures. Here’s how to prep your system so it’s ready for spring and avoids damage from the cold.
How To Blow Out Sprinkler Systems
Step 1 – Read Your Manual
Make sure to read the manual that came with your system. While it’s not common, there might be something in the instructions that you should be aware of. Without this information, you could accidentally damage your sprinkler system. Before winterizing the system, always give the manual a thorough going-over. It could save you thousands of dollars down the road!
Step 2 – Turn Off The Water Supply
Once you’ve given your lawn one last dose of moisture – which is ideal to do right up until the frost comes – you’ll want to turn off the main water supply to your sprinkler system. Typically, the main shut-off valve is located in the garage, basement, or even buried under the earth, in which case you might need a key to turn it off. If the shut-off valve is indeed outside, you should cover it and make sure it’s insulated, and this will help protect it against freezing temperatures.
Step 3 – Drain The Lines
There are three ways to remove all the water from the lines: employing the automatic system, manually draining the valves, or blowing them out.
Some sprinkler systems have the luxury of coming equipped with automatic draining. If you have this type of system, after you’ve shut off the main water supply, simply turn on the sprinkler heads to remove built-up water. It’s the same way you’d drain water from a garden hose. It’s important to note that proper draining can only happen if the water pressure has reached a specific PSI. Further, you may still need to address residual moisture between the shut-off valve and the backflow device. If your system comes with check valves, you’ll need to empty those separately.
Manually Draining The Pipes
Once you’ve shut off the main water supply, you’ll have to find the manual valves. Look for them at the ends and low points of the system’s pipes. After locating each valve, open them so the water will be released. Don’t forget to drain the backflow device as well. Like with the manual draining procedure, if your system comes with check valves, you’ll have to raise each individual head because these types of valves prevent water from flowing backward. After all the water has been drained, close all the valves.
The Blow-out Method
It’s important to note that this method can cause injury if done improperly. It’s highly advisable to let the professionals at Green Vision handle this type of sprinkler system maintenance. Absolutely do not perform this method without the proper safety gear, namely eye protection. Be careful not to stand near an active head during the process.
After you’ve shut down the water supply, you’ll need to connect your air compressor to the sprinkler system with a coupler. It’s important to note here that you should never blow air directly into the backflow device. After you’ve connected the coupler, you’ll need to locate the sprinkler head that is the farthest and highest from the compressor. Essentially, you’ll be starting with the most distant head and working your way back towards the compressor. Close the backflow valves while slowly opening the valve on your air compressor. Add slowly but ever-increasing air pressure so that you can stop the flow of air quickly if something goes wrong. Release the air pressure as soon as you can see water coming through.
Once the water is coming out of the opened sprinkler head, you’ll need to find the farthest head from the compressor and activate it. Once the water has stopped coming out, shut off that head. Walk along the pipe and follow it from the farthest head from the compressor to the closest. After all the heads are drained, you can disconnect the air compressor. Be sure to release any excess air accumulated in the system, and open/close the valves on all backflow devices or manual drain valves. Doing this will make sure there is no built-up air pressure. Finally, close all the valves, and you’re done!
Step 4 – Insulate Exposed Parts
As we touched on previously, any part of the system that is outside the home will need to be protected during the coldest part of the year. This includes shut-off valves, backflow devices, or exposed piping. You can insulate them by using foam covering or insulation tape.
Let Us Take Care Of Things
If the thought of donning safety gear to clean out your sprinkler system gives you pause, you’re not alone. It’s a daunting task that many homeowners would rather not do themselves. At Green Vision, our team of professionals will make sure the job is done correctly, so the system is tucked away for winter and ready to hit the ground running when spring arrives.
Get Sprinkler Repair Near Colorado Springs
From winterizing your sprinkler system to lawn care services, the experts at Green Vision have got you covered. We offer both spring start-ups and winter blow-outs, so your system is in good hands all year round. Let us handle the hard work, so you don’t have to! Call 719-453-2000 or leave us a message online. Don’t forget to check out our blog page as well! We post monthly articles to help you keep your yard in peak condition. You can also connect with us on Facebook, where we post the latest deals and discounts as well as photos of our work!