7 Tips for Protecting Your Sprinklers in the WinterPosted on November 28, 2017
Sprinklers are a low-effort, efficient way to water your landscape in summer. When winter comes, it can be tempting to shut it off and forget about it. Unfortunately, sprinklers don’t go dormant like trees and shrubs: low temperatures can break pipes and other components. Winterizing your sprinklers helps protect them and ensure they work faithfully again when summer comes.
- Find out if your sprinklers are in danger. Check out a frost line depth map for your area to find out how deep the ground freezes on your property. If your sprinkler pipes are located below the frost line, you may have little to worry about.
- Take care with winter watering. In areas with less frost risk, you may wish to continue cold season irrigation. Just remember that overflow could produce icy sidewalks and driveways. Use your sprinklers only in warmer weather if you need them during winter.
- Get all the water out. Draining your system is an obvious way to reduce the risk of broken pipes, but it’s not enough. If you have a home air compressor, use it to blow remaining water out of the pipes, one zone at a time.
- Wrap it up! If your system features any above-ground pipes, cover them in insulation tape or foam tube insulation.
- Protect valves. Your system is more than just pipes: you’ll need to insulate any above-ground valves and backflow-preventers as well. More insulation tape will do the trick, but you can also use pine straw.
- Turn off your controller. If your sprinklers work automatically, you’ll need to disable the controller to ensure a dormant system. Some controllers have a setting called “rain mode” that lets you retain programming while the controller is off. Others require you to just unplug.
- Call an expert. Draining your system or insulating pipes might seem daunting for beginners. If you don’t have the equipment or don’t feel comfortable with the job, hire a professional with sprinkler experience!
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