A lawn sprinkler system is a measure of modern convenience and luxury. It saves the home owner many back breaking hours of lugging hoses around the yard and helps keep a vibrant healthy lawn all summer long. Proper lawn sprinkler winterization of the lawn sprinkler system helps keep the system running at top performance for years and years. Proper lawn sprinkler winterization also avoids costly lawn Sprinkler repair bills. Proper lawn sprinkler winterization is not as hard as it might sound and can be easily performed by the home owner or you can call in a professional.
Cold Michigan winters can attack a lawn sprinkler system and freeze every drop of water that is left inside of it. Even the water underground, and inside the pipes of the lawn sprinkler system is not safe. When water freezes it expands. As it expands inside a pipe, it can crack the pipe and rendering the system useless when spring and summer arrive. Not just the pipes but other equipment such as the backflow device, or shut off valves can also be damaged by freezing water. Opening damaged valves can create other problems in the system. Performing the proper lawn sprinkler winterization now can save headaches in the springtime, but it is important to perform the maintenance properly.
Lawn sprinkler winterization is essentially removing all the water from the system and depressurizing the system before the freezing temperatures take hold. Three basic methods for lawn sprinkler winterization; manual drain, automatic drain, and the sprinkler blow out are all that is needed. It is important to shut off the irrigation water supply first before continuing with any of the steps.
The manual drain method opens the manual drain valves.
Simply draining the mainline, the boiler drain and all manual valves will drain the water between the shut off valve and backflow device . This protects the exposed areas from freezing but does not fully protect you.
The automatic drain method leverages automatic valves located at the low points of the piping (if installed). These valves drain water automatically when the pressure inside the pipes drops to less than 10 PSI. Shut off the irrigation water supply and then activate a sprinkler station and the system pressure is relieved. Thi automatic valve opens and drains out the mainline. Like the manual drain method, the boiler drain valve still needs to be done manually.
After either manual or automatic drain methods, pull up the sprinkler heads to drain the water out to the bottom of the sprinkler head's body.
The blow out method gets all the water out. It utilizes compressed air to blow out or push the water out of the pipes and sprinklers. After the water in the mainline is drained, drain the water in between the shut off valve and backflow device. Then go over all the stations in the system again to make sure there is no water left in any of the pipes. If needed, you can contact a licensed contractor to perform this method, however there are a few things to be careful of with some âÂÂfly by nightâÂÂ contractors.
If using a large air compressor make sure you have a pressure regulator connected. The air compressor can put out up to 125 psi pressure. Qualified, professional contractors will only pump 60 psi air into the system or basically the same pressure as normal water supply. Not so professional companies will turn on all the valves and blow the very high pressure through the system in order to save time. If a contractor comes to you house for lawn sprinkler winterization and is finished in 5-10 minutes then they likely used this method and very possibly have damaged the system. In the springtime, the home owner is left with lawn sprinkler repair bills because the damage done during the lawn sprinkler winterization is usually not repaired by the original company that caused the problem.
A professional lawn sprinkler winterization company will also only do one zone at a time with the pressure regulator on the air compressor. This method takes on average of about twenty to thirty minutes, and it can cost almost twice as much. However it saves costly lawn sprinkler repair bills in the future.
The final step in lawn sprinkler winterization involves cleaning the sprinkler heads and storing them in a dry place after completing the lawn sprinkler winterization steps. After the winter season has gone, it makes sense to run water through your system for a few minutes to flush out all the dirt and debris collected over time, as well as drive away any rodents and snakes that may be living in the pipes before reinstalling the sprinkler heads. Taking care of the system by performing professional lawn sprinkler winterization can avoid lawn sprinkler repair bills when the cold Michigan winter takes hold. Take care of the system and it will take care of your lawn for you.