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Winterizing Your Irrigation System

It is the time of year again to prepare your system for the winter. Please review this article to make sure that you follow all the steps necessary to avoid damage to your system. All sprinkler or drip systems that utilize valves, filters, plastic fittings, PVC pipe, poly pipe or drip hoses can easily burst if water freezes inside any of these components. This can prove costly to replace or repair. The following steps should be taken to minimize the risk.

Winterizing a sprinkler or drip system will take about fifteen minutes to an hour and must be done before the first freeze. A little bit of your time will result in a low maintenance irrigation system that will reduce the need for replacing frozen parts.

In extremely cold winters, freezing temperatures can severely damage your irrigation system and all the main water lines.

The goal in winterizing an irrigation system is to shut off the water supply to the system, and flush all of the water that is left in the system from the backflow device, valves, filters, main lines, sub-lateral lines, sprinklers, drippers and drip line.

  • Four steps to take in early fall
  • System components
  • Step 1

    When freezing weather is anticipated, simply turn off your main water supply to the irrigation system and make sure that the valves, backflow device, filter, pressure regulator, pipe, sprinklers, drip hose and drippers are free of water.

    Step 2

    After the main water supply is shut down, run the timer / controller through its normal watering cycle. This will allow each of the valves to open and relieve water pressure on the main line and valves. allow the lines to drain slightly. After the timer / controller runs through its cycles, turn the controller off, or set to the Rain Off position.

    Step 3

    The most important thing to do in very cold temperatures is to wrap all exposed pipe with insulating tape. The insulation should cover everything exposed up to the risers. However, it is unnecessary to wrap sprinkler heads or hose bibs.

    Step 4

    Through the height of winter, leave the system off and drained. If needed, water your plants and lawns with a hose only. In most cases, there is enough moisture in the ground from rain to sustain the plants and lawn during the extreme winter periods.