Winter can be a dangerous season for your irrigation system. The extremely low temperatures are uncomfortable, and so is your irrigation system. The water in your pipes can freeze due to the low temperatures, and the pipes would freeze and burst. Therefore, freeze protection is necessary, and this article will teach you how to protect your irrigation system during the winter.
Please refer to this chart to determine when you need to start preparing for winter in your area.
Step1: Turn off your water supply
This is undoubtedly the first step, you need to turn off the water supply to prepare for the well blowout later. Turning off the water source will also prevent waste caused by leaks. So, turn off the valves on the pipes that supply water to your irrigation system. If you don't know where this valve is, find the location of your water meter and turn off the main valve near the meter.
Step2: Drain the water
It's not enough to prevent water from coming in; you need to drain any water that remains in the pipes. If you have an air compressor, you can do this work yourself and save on service charges.
Some sprinkler systems may allow you to drain the water manually. These systems have shut-off valves at low points or ends of the piping. Make sure to wear eye protection while completing this step because the water supply in the system is under pressure. Slowly open the valves one at a time and let the water run out, then close them when finished.
Other systems have components that will automatically drain the water once the main valve is shut off and the water pressure drops. You can usually activate the system by running one of the sprinkler heads with the water supply off. However, there will still be some water trapped within the valves themselves. Locate the solenoid on each valve—a plastic cap with wires coming out of the top—and loosen it. This will allow air to flow into the system and water to flow out.
Some sprinkler systems allow you to hook an air compressor up to the pipes to force the remaining water out of the sprinkler heads. However, this method is destructive and even dangerous when tried on a sprinkler system that isn’t built for it. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that a typical DIYer’s air compressor might create the 50 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure needed to clear out PVC piping. However, at-home machines can’t usually generate the 10 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of volume needed to quickly and completely blow out the water. For these reasons, we don’t recommend attempting the blow-out draining method on your own. Even if you don’t damage the system, you might not get the job done completely, and even a little water left in a sprinkler system over the winter can cause problems. Hiring a professional for this job is a once-a-year cost that’s well worth it. ImoLaza recommends hiring an irrigation professional to perform well spraying. Without specialized equipment and expertise, this process can be very time-consuming and may even result in damage to the system.
Step3: Enable the Standby Mode
You can enable standby mode on the controller to disable the irrigation schedule throughout the entire winter season.
How to enable the standby mode?
Step4: Isolate above-ground components
Finally, ensure that all above-ground components of the sprinkler system are properly isolated from the weather. The main shutoff valve and any exposed piping or backflow preventers should be wrapped with a foam cover or insulating tape. On backflow preventers, make sure not to block any vents or drains.
Still need help?
In case the above method doesn’t work for you, please contact our technical support team directly using the contact information below. We will respond to you by email within 12h after your message reaches us.