Here at A-Team Irrigation, nearly everything we do is centered on building and maintaining irrigation systems. More than anything, we want our customers’ lawns to stay green, and we want their irrigation systems to remain functional with as few mechanical problems as possible.
One of the best ways to ensure that things continue to run properly is through the winterization of the irrigation system when the weather starts to cool off. Our professionals can take care of this for you, but it’s important to get yourself on the schedule at the appropriate time.
How Cold is Cold Enough?
So when should you winterize your sprinkler system? It’s not as easy as just marking a date on the calendar each year and adhering to that schedule no matter what. Rather than a date, keep an eye on the weather and know that when temperatures start to drop, the time to winterize your irrigation system will come up on you very quickly.
Essentially, you want to drain or blow out your lines (or have a professional do it for you) before the first hard freeze, which is when the outdoor air temperature drops below freezing for the first time. This varies depending on what part of the country you’re in, but here in the Midwest that usually comes sometime in October. The rule of thumb for winterizing your irrigation system is to plan it about a week before the first hard freeze.
How Do You Winterize?
While it’s almost always better to have a professional take care of this for you, there are a few easy to steps to follow to winterize your sprinkler system once autumn comes on with a vengeance.
Prepare Your Control System
Be sure to ready your system’s controller along with your pipes as you winterize. Most controllers offer a way to “shut down” the automatic watering schedule without losing programmed information or erasing the proper time/day settings. If your system doesn’t have this function, simply shut it down knowing you’ll need to reprogram the clock and schedules in the spring. As an integral part of your irrigation system, the main shut off valve will need protection from freezing. The main shut off valve and any above-ground piping should be wrapped in insulation to protect from frigid winter temperatures. Many home supply stores offer foam insulating tubes or self-sticking foam-insulating tape that work well for winter protection.
Drain Your System
Because water expands as it freezes, you’ll need to drain the water from your pipes before the temperatures get frigid. There are multiple ways to do this, including manual or automatic draining, or the “blow out” method. We reiterate, however, that we recommend hiring a professional to ensure that the process gets done safely and efficiently. A-Team Irrigation specializes in Sioux City underground sprinkler maintenance and offers winterization in our bi-annual maintenance plans.
In short, when the weather drops, it’s time to consider winterizing your sprinkler system, and if you need any help with that process, call the professionals here at A-Team Irrigation!