Winterizing Your Sprinklers

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 19, 2016)

If you live in a region where winter temperatures dip below 32° for extended periods of time, then it is wise to take measures to remove all of the water from the piping in your water sprinkling system. If you don't remove all of the water, it can freeze, expand, and then crack or burst the pipe and fixtures. This ends up resulting in high repair costs the following spring, if you're lucky. For those really unlucky individuals, this could result in astronomical emergency repairs.

So, how do you winterize your sprinklers and rid the pipes of water? There are three methods for draining water from your sprinkling system, and they are; manual draining, automatic draining and blowing out the system. Newer models of automatic sprinkler systems include manual valves that you can open and close. Follow these steps to manually drain water from your sprinkler:

  1. At the main valve, turn off the water supply and open the drain valves.
  2. If you have an automatic system, turn off the timer controller.
  3. Allow the water to drain from the backflow preventer and then store it away.
  4. Remove the water from the risers and then cap them.
  5. When you've drained all of the water, close the manual valves.

The only difference between the manual and automatic drain methods is, well...the automation. With the manual method, you do all of the work opening and closing valve. With an automatic drain, the system has a set point at which the valves open when the pressure in the pipes are at or below a preset threshold. Follow these steps and you can use the automatic draining method to the greatest advantage when draining water from your sprinkler:

  1. Turn off the water supply at the main valve.
  2. Once the water drains from the main line, open the boiler drain, allowing the water to flow from between the shut-off valve and backflow preventer.
  3. Allow the automatic system, and gravity, to do the rest.

The last technique for completely removing water from your sprinkler system is the blowout method. Most experts agree that this is a method homeowners should not try since the procedure involves using air under high pressure. An inexperienced homeowner could easily set the pressure too high and wind up damaging the entire sprinkler system. Instead, hire a professional to blowout the pipes and deal with the air compressor and high pressure.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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