2 Easy Methods For Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

From hosting guests to cooking multiple course meals, the holiday season can be a jubilant yet stressful time. Once the festivities are through, spring moves in to thaw out the frozen ponds and frostbitten lawns to make room for yet another blistering summer. But if you forget to winterize your sprinkler system, your worries won’t be melting away with the snow!

Learn How To Winterize Your Own Sprinkler System

Manual Drain Method

This is ideal when manual valves can be found at the end or lower points of the irrigation system. The first step to winterizing your sprinkler manually is draining your system, which can be done by shutting off the irrigation water supply and opening all of the drain valves.

Snake on ground.

Once you have successfully drained your system, the next step is to open the drain cap located on the stop/waste valve. This step is important because it allows you to flush out any remaining water between the shutoff valve and backflow device.

Next, open the test cocks on the backflow device and pull up on the sprinklers if yours has check valves. Once all of the water has drained, you can close all of the manual drain valves.

Blow Out Method

The blowout method requires an air compressor, which you can usually rent from an equipment or hardware store. Before starting to winterize your sprinkler system using this method it is essential that you wear ANSI-approved protective eye gear and avoid standing or leaning over any pipes, sprinklers or valves. Because this method uses compressed air, it can potentially become dangerous if not done properly.

Once you are ready to begin the winterization processes, attach the compressor to the main line using a quick coupler. Make sure that no compressed air enters a backflow site. To proceed, shut off the irrigation water supply and close the compressor valve. Once the valve is closed, attach the air compressor hose to the fitting. Next, close the backflow isolation valves and slowly open the valve on the compressor. Continue to introduce air into the system but never exceed 80 PSI (pounds per square inch).

Every zone should be activated, beginning with the one furthest from the compressor and gradually moving closer. Each zone should remain activated until there is no water exiting the sprinkler heads; this will take about two minutes per zone. Once all of the water is expelled, we encourage you to immediately switch off the air compressor to avoid damage from friction.

After the air compressor is shut off, disconnect it and release any excess air that is left in the device.

When using the blow out method, it is essential that you avoid these potentially dangerous mistakes:

  • Do not allow your air compressor to exceed 80 PSI.
  • Be sure to uninstall flow sensors.
  • Be sure to never stand over any piece of equipment or system while it is pressurized.
  • Do not leave a running air compressor unsupervised.
  • Do not leave manual drain valves open after the pressurization is complete.

If you have any questions regarding sprinkler winterization, would like schedule a professional winterization with one of our experts or have any other lighting, lawn care or irrigation needs, feel free to contact us at (973) 366-8754!