How to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

How to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

To winterize means that you have to prepare something for the upcoming winter season. The sprinkler system is no exception. After working it’s hardest on the summer season, it’s time to put it to rest during the winter season. It’s because winter will cause the water inside your sprinkler system to freeze, which in turn, will cause damage and rupture to your water pipes, valves, and fittings. That’s why it’s crucial that before winter, you’ve already winterized your sprinkler system.

And so, how do you winterize your sprinkler system? There are two processes you need to do to put your sprinkler system to rest during winter, and those are:

Rid the sprinkler system of water by manual draining.

To do so, you need to shut off the backflow valves that prevent the water in the sprinkler system to backflow into the house water system, and then open the manual draining valve of the sprinkler system. With this, the water inside the sprinkler system will flow out by itself. However, since the underground pipes of the system is subject to shifting over time due to various reasons, there might be leftover water that cannot be removed with this process. That’s why you need to the next process to completely drain the sprinkler system of water.

Use an air compressor to remove the remaining water inside the sprinkler system.

You need to do this to remove the leftover water inside the system. However, caution must be exercised at using the air compressor since it might cause irreversible damage to the sprinkler system. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Make sure the backflow valves are shut off first.
  2. Turn off the water supply valve for the sprinkler system.
  3. Set the system timer to open just one zone.
  4. Remove the plug at the blow-out port and insert the air compressor hose adaptor.
  5. Plug the other end of the hose adaptor to the air compressor.
  6. Proceed to blow out the remaining water out of the sprinkler in the zone. Release the air pressure once the head of the sprinkler comes out and begins releasing water. This is to prevent the tiny plastic gears inside the sprinkler head from being damaged.
  7. Once done, open up another zone and redo number 6.
  8. Once the entire sprinkler system is free of leftover water, remove the hose adaptor and seal the blow-out port with its plug.

Keep in mind a few things before doing this process. If you have an irrigation plan, check the respective output of each zones (in gallons per minute or GPM in short) then divide the values to 7.5 to see how much airflow in CFM you’ll need to blow out water without damaging the pipes in the zone. Or just use a 10 CFM (cubic feet per second) air compressor instead. Then set the air compressor’s pressure regulator to a maximum of 50 psi for the flexible black polyethylene pipe or 80 psi for rigid PVC pipe.

And with that, your sprinkler system is 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!