It’s Getting Cold, Here’s How To Winterize Your Sprinklers
Temperatures are beginning to drop in the Treasure State, which means it’s time to winterize our sprinklers.
You can do this on your own; however, it requires some equipment.
Don't blame me if you screw up and break something.
Tools and Materials You'll Need:
- Air compressor (a big one)
- Adjustable wrench
- Pipe wrench
- Drain valve (if not already installed)
- Insulation materials (optional)
Steps to Winterize Sprinklers:
- Turn Off the Water Supply:
- Locate the main water supply valve for your sprinkler system. This valve is typically located in your basement or utility room.
- Shut off the water supply by turning the valve clockwise.
- Relieve Pressure:
- Go to your sprinkler system's control panel or timer and set it to the "OFF" position. This will prevent the system from turning on during the winterization process.
- Open Drain Valves:
- If your sprinkler system has drain valves, locate them. These are typically located at the low points in the system.
- Use an adjustable wrench to open the drain valves. This will allow any water in the pipes to drain out. Leave the valves open throughout the winter.
- Detach Hoses and Fittings:
- Disconnect any hoses or other attachments from your outdoor spigots.
- Remove Backflow Preventer or Vacuum Breaker:
- If you have a backflow preventer or vacuum breaker installed, remove it. Use a pipe wrench or adjustable wrench to disconnect it from the system carefully.
- Attach the Air Compressor:
- Attach the air compressor to the sprinkler system's blowout connection. This connection is usually located near the main water supply valve. Not all systems have one.
- Blow Out the System:
- Set the air compressor to a pressure of around 50-80 psi (pounds per square inch).
- Starting with the zone farthest from the compressor, open the valve slightly to allow compressed air to blow out the water from the pipes. Work your way through each zone, allowing a few minutes for each zone to blow out completely.
- Pay close attention to the sprinkler heads; you should see water and moisture coming out. Once you see only air, move on to the next zone.
- Continue this process until all zones have been blown out and no more water is visible coming from the sprinkler heads.
- Disconnect the Air Compressor:
- After blowing out all zones, turn off the air compressor and disconnect it from the sprinkler system.
- Reinstall Backflow Preventer or Vacuum Breaker:
- If you remove the backflow preventer or vacuum breaker earlier, it is time to reinstall it.
- Insulate Exposed Pipes (Optional):
- If your sprinkler pipes are exposed and susceptible to freezing temperatures, consider insulating them with foam pipe insulation or heat tape.
- Shut Off the Main Water Supply Valve:
- Double-check that the main water supply valve is completely shut off to prevent any water from entering the system.
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