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Put Your Sprinkler System in Hibernation for the Winter
If you have an automated sprinkler, your lawn has probably remained green and hydrated through the summer. However, there are a few things you need to know to properly prepare your sprinkler system for colder weather. Temperatures drop quickly and may dip below freezing before you know it. Don’t get caught unprepared. Contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain to winterize your automatic sprinkler system. We can come take care of the system before the pipes freeze and necessitate expensive repairs.
Here are the steps needed to winterize your sprinkler system. Save yourself the hassle of figuring it out on your own and call a plumber to perform these crucial tasks correctly.
Guide to Winterize Sprinklers
Sprinkler systems come with either automatic or manual valves. You can refer to the owner’s manual that came with your system. If you no longer have the manual, you may be able to find one online. Before starting any of the tasks, make sure that you know which type your system has. For automatic sprinkler valves, water drains from the pipes after the pressure dips below a certain setting. Manual systems have valves that drain water when you open them.
Step 1: Shut Off the Water Supply
When our plumber comes to winterize your irrigation system, they start by shutting off the water supply. This is often the first step when working with any plumbing system. The water shutoff valve is usually inside the home, often located near the water heater. Once we find the water main, we closed the valve, which is usually blue or red and properly labeled.
It’s important to ensure that water does not get into the system over the winter. To prevent this from happening, locate the pipe coming from the water main that feeds the sprinkler system. Turn off the supply via the valve, which probably resembles the water main. If you aren’t sure which valves to turn off, call a licensed plumber from bluefrog Plumbing + Drain for assistance.
Typically, the pipes are marked. While labels vary, the one to the sprinkler system will probably say something like “sprinkler” or “irrigation system.” The line feeding the house might say “house.” If your pipes are not correctly labeled, our plumber can mark them for future reference.
Step 2: Deactivate the Activation System
Automatic sprinklers have activation systems to control the timing and duration of when the system waters your lawn. To prepare for the winter, this system must be shut off. Locate the system controller and determine the proper setting to deactivate it. If you have a difficult time locating the system or determining the proper setting to turn it off, we can help.
Some modern systems have a rain mode or off position, our sprinkler specialists are familiar with all makes and models of sprinklers and can quickly deactivate your system. Call a bluefrog plumber if you aren’t sure how to turn off the system and make a note of how to do so for future reference.
If you have a complex system with a rain mode, use this setting instead of turning off the control system entirely. That way you can save your personal settings for next year.
Step 3: Drain Water from the Pipes
Remove all water from the pipes. To do so, you blow out the system or drain the pipes manually. Blowing out the system means pumping air through the pipes to flush out any remaining water.
To manually drain the pipes, locate the bleed valve and open it up. Typically, it’s located outside the home where the irrigation system emerges from the ground. Place a bucket under the valve to collect the remaining water for disposal.
If you plan to use compressed air to blow out the sprinklers, make sure you know what you’re doing. working with air under pressure is potentially dangerous. For safety, you may want to hire a plumber to perform this task. To begin, close the backflow preventer valve. Then, remove the plug screwed into the port. You can use a connector to attach the air compressor to the port.
Determine how much air you can pump into the system by checking the sprinkler heads for the gallons per minute rate. For each zone, divide the GPM by 7.5. Open the zones up one at a time and use the compressor to blow water out of that zone. A licensed plumber can perform this task safely and efficiently.
Step 4: Repeat the Process for Every Zone
Once you notice the sprinkler head pop up and water come out, turn off the compressor, so you don’t damage the system. Repeat this step for every zone, making sure to open only one zone at a time.
Step 5: Hire a Plumber to Help You Understand Your Sprinkler System
If you aren’t familiar with your sprinkler system, it may be a good idea to hire a professional. For example, blowing out the system requires a specific calculation to ensure that you get all the water out without damaging the hose. The cost to winterize your sprinkler system depends on where you live and how complex the system is.
Hiring a professional can prevent you from making mistakes that cost more than the professional service to get your system ready for the winter. We make sure that you don’t have to worry about frozen pipes and broken lines following a harsh winter.
Contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain Today!
Call a bluefrog plumber to perform the winterization of your sprinkler system in about half a day. It may take you much longer to do this on your own. When we come to your home, we can help you understand your system better, starting with where the main shut off valve is located.
Call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain when you need a plumber for your sprinkler system or for any other plumbing needs in your home.