How To Prevent Damage? Guide to Winterizing Your Sprinkler System!
As the freezing winter season approaches, preparing and protecting your sprinkler system from potential damage is crucial.
The last thing you want is for water to freeze inside the irrigation pipes and system components, leading to cracks and costly repairs. One of the best methods to ensure the complete dryness of your irrigation system is the blowout method.
This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of blowing out your sprinklers before winter, providing you with the knowledge and confidence to safeguard your investment.
Why Choose the Blowout Method for Winterizing Your Sprinkler System?
Before we delve into the detailed steps of blowing out your sprinkler system, let's discuss why the blowout method is the preferred option for winterization. The blowout method uses high-pressure air to force out all the water from the irrigation system. Doing so eliminates the risk of any water remaining in the pipes, which could freeze and cause damage.
In contrast, other draining methods, such as automatic and manual drains, cannot guarantee complete water removal from the system. Leaving even trace amounts of water in the pipes poses a significant risk of cracking or rupturing when the water freezes and expands.
Moreover, relying solely on drainage methods can be unreliable, as underground pipes may shift over time, affecting the flow of water and hindering proper drainage.
Step-by-Step Guide to Blow Out Your Sprinkler System
Step 1: Shut off the Main Water Supply and Drain
To begin winterization, turning off the main water supply that feeds into your sprinkler system is essential. This prevents additional water from flowing into the pipes during the blowout process. Additionally, open the hose bib on the main water supply that connects to the irrigation system to allow any remaining water to drain out.
Step 2: Switch off the Timer
If your sprinkler system is equipped with a timer, shut it down. This precautionary measure minimizes the risk of electrical or mechanical malfunctions while the system is offline. Depending on the type of timer you have, consider setting it to rain mode, preserving your programming settings for future use.
Step 3: Attach the Compressor
Next, you must attach an air compressor to your irrigation system. Ensure you have a flexible hose and a coupler to connect the compressor securely. Close the airflow valves on the compressor and attach the coupler to the end of the compressor hose, then connect it to the blowout adapter on the irrigation system.
Choosing the Right Air Compressor
Selecting an air compressor with sufficient capacity is crucial to properly blow out your sprinkler system. Ideally, the compressor should provide a volume of at least 30-50 cubic feet per minute (cfm). Smaller compressors may need to deliver more air pressure to clear the underground piping over long distances effectively. Additionally, the compressor should generate pressure between 40 to 80 pounds per square inch (PSI). Exceeding the recommended PSI for your specific piping material can lead to burst pipes and subsequent damage.
Step 5: Blow Out the Sprinklers
Following a systematic approach when blowing out your sprinklers is crucial to ensure comprehensive winterization. Begin with the zone farthest from the mainline, gradually working toward it. This zone-by-zone method guarantees that each area receives proper attention and allows for an efficient blowout process.
If your sprinkler system is installed on uneven terrain, start with the higher-level zones first. These zones may require higher pressure, so it's advisable to address them before adjusting the compressor's pressure. Start by closing the backflow valves on the irrigation system, then turn on the compressor, monitoring the pressure carefully.
Important Safety Tips:
- Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from pressurized air or debris.
- Avoid looking directly over the sprinkler heads to prevent injury from the high-pressure air.
As the lines fill with air, you will notice water spraying out of the open taps connected to the sprinkler line. Allow all the water to spray out of the fixtures, then close each tap except for the one connected to the air compressor.
To ensure a thorough blowout, manually turn on each sprinkler head or use the controller. Wait until the water spray stops, then turn off that zone and proceed to the next one. Be mindful not to blow out each head or zone longer than necessary, which can waste excessive air and prolong the process. Once the water spray stops, promptly close the head or zone.
After completing the blowout process for each sprinkler head or zone, close the shut-off valve on the compressor. Additionally, open and close the backflow device valves several times to release any trapped air pressure.
Additional Tips and Recommendations
To further protect your sprinkler system during winter, consider the following tips:
- Insulate Above-Ground Fixtures: Insulating above-ground fixtures, such as valves and backflow preventers, can help prevent freezing. Use insulating materials specifically designed to shield these components from extreme cold temperatures.
- Consult a Professional: If you need clarification on winterizing your sprinkler system or need more tools and expertise, it's always a good idea to consult a professional. They can ensure the blowout process is done correctly and provide additional guidance tailored to your system's unique requirements.
- Use Quality Tools and Supplies: When performing any maintenance task on your sprinkler system, having the right tools and supplies is essential. Big Frog Supply offers a wide range of high-quality tools and accessories specifically designed for irrigation systems. We have everything you need, from multi-tools to specialized valves and fittings, to winterize your system effectively.
With the freezing winter season on the horizon, properly winterizing your sprinkler system is vital to prevent potential damage,
By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can ensure the complete removal of water from your irrigation system, minimizing the risk of cracks and costly repairs.
Remember to prioritize safety during the blowout process, wear appropriate protective gear, and follow all recommended guidelines. Should you require any tools or supplies for winterizing your system, Big Frog Supply is your trusted source for high-quality products and exceptional service.
Contact us today for expert assistance and access to a comprehensive range of sprinkler equipment. Don't let winter catch you unprepared – protect your investment with Big Frog Supply.
1. Can I use a regular air compressor to blow out my sprinkler system?
Yes, you can use a regular air compressor to blow out your sprinkler system. However, it is important to ensure that the compressor has sufficient capacity in terms of volume and pressure to clear the pipes effectively.
2. What happens if I don't winterize my sprinkler system?
If you don't winterize your sprinkler system, the water inside the pipes can freeze during winter, leading to cracks and damage. This can result in costly repairs and the need to replace components of your irrigation system.
3. Can I blow out my sprinkler system myself, or should I hire a professional?
You can blow out your sprinkler system yourself if you have the necessary tools, knowledge, and experience. However, if you need more clarification or are uncomfortable with the process, hiring a professional is recommended to ensure it is done correctly.
4. How often should I winterize my sprinkler system?
You should winterize your sprinkler system annually before the freezing winter season arrives. This will help protect your system and prevent potential damage.
5. Is it necessary to insulate above-ground fixtures during winterization?
Insulating above-ground fixtures, such as valves and backflow preventers, is a recommended step during winterization. Insulation helps protect these components from freezing temperatures, reducing the risk of damage.
Insulating above-ground fixtures, such as valves and backflow preventers, is recommended during winterization. Insulation helps protect these components from freezing temperatures, reducing the risk of damage.