Having frozen pipes is a big problem when it comes to sprinklers during the winter season. This happens because the water inside the sprinkler pipes are undrained before the winter season comes. If the pipes get frozen, the ice inside might cause damage to other parts inside the sprinkler. Or worse, the expansion of ice inside will cause it to rupture, which leads to huge expenses from repairs during springtime.
Which is why it’s crucial to winterize your sprinklers. Which leaves this question: how do we winterize sprinklers?
There are steps you need to do, and here it is:
1. Drain off the water inside the pipe.
Removing the source of the future problem is the key. There are two approaches to this method, in which it depends whether the sprinkler has an automatic drainage or not.
- Manual Draining
Begin by turning off the water supply for the sprinklers, and the backflow valves. And then, open up all the manual drain valves in the system. It will drain off most of the water inside the pipes and sprinklers. Why majority? It’s because the pipes can be moved from its original position over time, which will leave behind water that the manual draining cannot remove easily. Do step no. 2 if you did this mode of draining.
- Automatic Draining
Having automatic draining valves is a good idea when it comes to sprinklers. Simply turn off the water supply for the sprinklers and the backflow valves, and let the automatic draining valves do its work as the pressure in the pipe recedes. Also, open up the drain valve near the water supply valve and the backflow device to remove the trapped water there. If you have automatic draining valves, proceed to do step no. 3.
2. Blow off the remaining water in the pipe
If you did manual draining, you need to do this after removing the leftover water inside the system. However, caution must be exercised at using the air compressor since excess air pressure might cause damage or rupture to the sprinkler system. Before doing this, make sure the water supply and the backflow valves are still shut. Then, remove the plug of the blow-out port and connect the air compressor (preferably 10 CFM model, or if you have a different air compressor model, limit the air pressure to at least 40 psi) using a hose adaptor. Open up just one zone, then proceed to blow out the water at that zone. Release the air pressure once the sprinklers stop blowing out water. Change to another and repeat the process. Once completely finished, then seal the blow-out port again with its plug.
3. Insulate the exposed pipes and main valve
As extra insurance for the upcoming winter season, cover the main valve with a plastic bag and foam insulation tape and above-ground sprinkler pipes with foam insulation tubes. By doing this, these exposed parts can be protected from the severe cold temperatures brought about by winter.
And with that, your sprinklers are now ready for the oncoming winter season! If you think these tips have helped you winterize your sprinkler system, don’t hesitate to share this with others!