How to Winterize Your Sprinkler System
Winterizing your sprinkler system is important because it prevents the water in the pipes from freezing and expanding, which can cause the pipes to burst. It’s also a good idea to winterize your system to protect any other components, such as valves and backflow preventers, from freezing and malfunctioning.
By winterizing the sprinkler system, you can avoid costly repairs and ensure that your system is in good working order when the warmer weather arrives. Winterizing your sprinkler system can also help conserve water by ensuring that it is not being wasted on frozen ground during the winter months.
Here Is a Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Winterizing Your Sprinkler System
1. Turn Off the Water Supply to Your Sprinkler System
Turning off the water supply to your sprinkler system is an important step in the winterizing process because it prevents water from entering the system and potentially freezing and causing damage. Easy one right? But if you forget that’s when it becomes an issue.
To turn off the water supply, you’ll need to locate the main valve that controls the flow of water to your home. This valve is usually located near the water meter or where the water main enters your home. Once you’ve located the valve, simply turn it off by rotating it clockwise until it can’t be turned any further.
It’s important to note that turning off the water supply will also cut off the water supply to your entire home, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough water stored or available to meet your needs while the valve is closed.
2. Drain the Water From the Pipes
Locate the drain valves or the lowest points in your sprinkler system. These are usually located near the main valve, at the base of the sprinkler heads, or in the basement.
Open the drain valves or the lowest points to allow the water to drain out of the pipes. You may need to use a pipe wrench or pliers to loosen them.
Once the water has drained out, close the drain valves or the lowest points. Make sure they are tightened securely to prevent any leaks.
Phew, you could think that “I have turned off the water supply and the job is done!!!”, No it isn’t.
3. Disconnect Any Above-Ground Sprinkler Heads and Store Them in a Dry Place
Once the water supply is turned off, you can disconnect the sprinkler head by following these steps:
- Locate the sprinkler head that you want to disconnect.
- Look for the small plastic or metal ring that is located just above the ground. This is the collar that holds the sprinkler head in place.
- Place the blade of a flat-head screwdriver against the top of the collar and gently pry the collar up.
- Once the collar is loose, you should be able to twist the sprinkler head counterclockwise to loosen and remove it from the pipe.
- If the sprinkler head is difficult to remove, you may need to use a pair of pliers to loosen it. Just be careful not to apply too much force, as you don’t want to break the pipe or damage the sprinkler head.
Once you have disconnected the sprinkler head, you can then remove it from the pipe by gently pulling it up and out then store in a dry place.
Bonus tip: If you need to replace the sprinkler head, you can install a new one by following the same steps in reverse.
4. Blow Out the Remaining Water in the Pipes Using Compressed Air
To blow out the remaining water in the sprinkler pipes using compressed air, you will need a compressor and an air hose with a blowout adapter. Here’s how to do it:
- Locate the blowout adapter that came with your sprinkler system. This is a small, rubber fitting that is used to attach the air hose to the sprinkler pipes.
- Attach one end of the air hose to the compressor and the other end to the blowout adapter.
- Open the valve on the compressor to begin filling the air hose with compressed air.
- Locate the end of the sprinkler pipe that is closest to the compressor. This is usually the end that is connected to the valve that controls the water supply to the sprinkler system.
- Insert the blowout adapter into the end of the sprinkler pipe. It should fit snugly into the pipe.
- Turn on the compressor and allow it to blow air into the sprinkler pipe for several minutes. This will force any remaining water out of the pipes and into the yard.
- Repeat the process on all of the sprinkler pipes in your system, working your way from the valve to the farthest sprinkler head.
- When you are finished, turn off the compressor and remove the blowout adapter from the sprinkler pipe.
- Close the valve on the compressor and disconnect the air hose from the blowout adapter.
By following these steps, you should be able to effectively blow out the remaining water in your sprinkler pipes using compressed air. This is to be 100% sure there is no water left in the pipe to freeze.
5. If You Have an In-Ground Sprinkler System, Locate the Main Valve and Remove It From the Valve Box
To locate the main valve for your in-ground sprinkler system and remove it from the valve box, follow these steps:
- Locate the valve box for your sprinkler system. This is usually a small, rectangular box that is buried underground near the main water supply line for your sprinkler system. It may be located near the water meter, near the house, or near the point where the sprinkler system connects to the main water supply line.
- Use a shovel to carefully dig around the valve box until you can see the top of it. Be careful not to damage the sprinkler pipes or other components as you dig.
- Once the top of the valve box is exposed, use a screwdriver to remove the screws or bolts that hold the lid in place. Set the lid aside.
- Inside the valve box, you should see the main valve for your sprinkler system. It will be a large, round valve with a handle on it.
- To remove the main valve from the valve box, you will need to loosen the bolts or screws that hold it in place. Use a wrench or pliers to loosen these bolts, and then gently lift the main valve out of the valve box.
- Once the main valve is out of the valve box, you can then remove it from the pipe by loosening the nuts or bolts that hold it in place. Use a wrench or pliers to loosen these nuts or bolts, and then gently pull the main valve off of the pipe.
Keep in mind that it is important to turn off the water supply to the sprinkler system before attempting to remove the main valve.
6. Cover the Valve Box With Insulation or a Plastic Cover to Protect It From Freezing Temperatures
To cover the valve box for your sprinkler system with insulation or a plastic cover to protect it from freezing temperatures, you will need the following materials:
- Insulation material (such as foam insulation or fiberglass insulation)
- A plastic cover specifically designed to fit over the valve box
- A sharp utility knife
- A stapler or tape
Here’s how to do it:
- Measure the dimensions of the valve box, and then cut a piece of insulation material to fit over the top of the box. You can use a sharp utility knife or scissors to do this.
- Place the insulation material over the top of the valve box, and secure it in place with a stapler or tape.
- Place the plastic cover over the top of the insulation material. The cover should be specifically designed to fit over the valve box, and it should be large enough to cover the entire valve box and the insulation material.
- Secure the plastic cover in place with tape or a stapler.
By following these steps, you can cover the valve box for your sprinkler system with insulation and a plastic cover to protect it from freezing temperatures. This will help to prevent the valve and other components from becoming damaged due to freezing water inside the valve box. This can save you money next summer.
7. If You Have a Sprinkler System With a Backflow Preventer, It’s Important to Drain It as Well to Prevent It From Freezing
Don’t forget about the backflow preventer. To drain a sprinkler system with a backflow preventer, you will need to follow these steps:
- Locate the backflow preventer for your sprinkler system. This is a valve that is designed to prevent water from flowing back into the public water supply. It is usually located near the main water supply line for your sprinkler system.
- Turn off the water supply to the sprinkler system. This is usually done by turning off the valve that controls the water supply to the sprinkler system.
- Locate the drain valve on the backflow preventer. This is a small valve that is used to drain the water from the backflow preventer.
- Open the drain valve on the backflow preventer by turning it counterclockwise. This will allow the water to drain out of the backflow preventer and into a drain or a bucket.
- Once all of the water has drained out of the backflow preventer, close the drain valve by turning it clockwise.
- Repeat the process on all of the backflow preventers in your sprinkler system.
If you need any help with winterizing your sprinkler system, don’t hesitate to give us a call! Our team of experienced professionals is ready to assist you with all of your sprinkler needs. Whether you need help draining the water from your system, covering your valve box, or disconnecting your sprinkler heads, we’ve got you covered. So don’t wait. Give us a call today and let us help you get your sprinkler system ready for winter!