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How to Prepare for Winter with Irrigation, Winterizing & Activation

It’s that time of the year again when you should start to prepare winter’s arrival. While addressing all the aspects of your home that will need to be prepared, don’t forget about your irrigation system. With temperatures dropping, it is essential that your irrigation system should be winterized to avoid any damage caused by the cold and harsh weather.

Irrigation system activation is essential

It would be careless to assume that everything will be functioning as expected once you turn on your water in the spring. Even a small amount of water left in a backflow device during the wintertime can cause damage by freezing, expanding, and eventually cracking your piping.  When temperatures drop, your exposed pipes and sprinkler system are most likely to be damaged first as they will be most vulnerable. If the soil starts freezing, your underground pipes would be next.

To minimize this risk of damage, you will need to winterize your irrigation system. You can do this by starting off with shutting down the water supply to your irrigation system. The main valve needs to be protected the most and needs to be wrapped with insulation so that it is not damaged during the winter. The same goes for any piping that is not underground. Foam-insulating tape or tubes can come in handy for protection here.

Draining your pipes

Along with ensuring that all the sprinkler heads are correctly adjusted and running for the proper amount of time, you also need to make sure that the pipes are completely drained. This can be done through the manual drain valve, the automatic drain valve, or the blow out method.

With a manual drain, you can shut off the water irrigation supply and open all the manual drain valves to remove the water from the mainline. If your sprinklers have check valves, you will need to pull up the sprinklers to allow the water to drain out of them. Once all the water has drained out, you can close all of the manual drain valves.

With the automatic drain valves, water will drain out of the pipes if pressure falls below a certain number of pounds per square inch. These valves can also be activated by turning off the water supply and relieving the water pressure in the system. However, you may still be required to drain the water between the shut-off valve and the backflow device.

With the blow out method, compressed air will need to be forced through the irrigation system to remove excess water through the sprinkler heads. This method requires a lot of proper safety precautions if you are attempting to do it yourself. Having professionals do this service for you would be much safer and also save you from any repair costs.

Compressed air can cause serious injury, especially to the eyes because of flying debris. Instead of taking a chance where you may not be properly equipped or geared up, allow trained technicians to perform this instead and make your life much easier.

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