You have put a lot of time and money into your yard to reap the benefits of beautiful landscaping and a green lawn. Because your sprinkler system is an integral part of maintaining your hard work, it is important to avoid any sprinkler and irrigation system repairs come next spring. To do this, you should be sure to winterize your system before temperatures drop below freezing.
1. Insulate valves
The first thing you should do is shut off the water supply to your irrigation system. Next, it is extremely important to insulate your main shut-off valve to protect it against freezing. To do this, you can simply wrap the valve with insulation products, such as some foam insulation tape and a plastic bag, to ensure the extreme winter temperatures cannot cause freezing. If your system does not have a main shut-off valve, you should consider installing one as it can help you to avoid expensive sprinkler and irrigation system repairs.
Additionally, you should be sure to insulate all piping that is above ground. You can use foam-insulating tubes or foam-insulating tape to protect your pipes from freezing. However, if possible, the best option is to bury the piping.
2. Rain mode
If you have an automatic system, the next step in irrigation system winterization involves shutting down the controller or timer. Most systems can be shut down by simply switching the controller to the rain mode. This setting turns off the signals typically sent to the valves. That said, although this step effectively shuts down the system, your controller will continue to keep time throughout the winter. As a result, any programming information, such as valve run times and start times, is preserved. In fact, you can rest assured that the only change to your sprinkler system is that your valves will not be activated.
However, if your controller activates a pump, you should be sure to disconnect the wires to prevent accidental activation. Accidental activation could lead to overheating and cause serious damage. To disconnect, you can simply remove the wires that are connected to common terminals and the master valve.
If you do not have a rain mode, you can simply shut off the power to the controller. However, if you use this option, you will mostly likely need to re-program all of your settings as well as the schedules.
3. Drain the system
The next step in sprinkler system winterization is to remove any water left in the sprinklers and pipes. If water is left behind, it will freeze. Frozen water expands and poses a serious risk of breaking your pipes.
Although frozen water poses a serious risk, there are a variety of ways to drain the water from your pipes. Depending on your system, you can use the blow-out method, which uses compressed air. However, since draining your system can pose serious risks to your safety, it is recommended that you contact a professional to complete this step in your sprinkler system winterization program.
4. Backflow preventer and valves
The last step in an irrigation system winterization plan is to insulate above-ground backflow preventers and valves. You can use insulation tape to protect against freezing, but you should be careful to not block any drain outlets and air vents.
Some homeowners may feel that installing an automated, in-ground sprinkler irrigation system is a luxury item and not necessary, however an installed irrigation system can actually pay for itself over time in the form of water cost savings. Plus, irrigation systems are easy to use and efficient at distributing uniform water to your landscape which keeps all of your grass, plants and flowers thriving. Many homeowners are also surprised at how affordable a new sprinkler system really is. An in-ground sprinkler irrigation system offers many benefits including environmental, financial and overall aesthetic benefits which we will discuss in greater detail in this article.
Irrigation system manufactures and designers have come a long way over the years. Systems that are on the market today are built with sophisticated moisture sensors, water gauges and timers that work together to give your landscape just the right amount of water based up on each watering zone’s unique needs. Because sprinkler irrigation systems are designed for efficient and effective water usage very little water is wasted as compared to manual watering devices that are often hard to set-up and manage.
A beautifully maintained landscape can instantly improve a home’s curb appeal and add real dollar value to a home’s resale value, to the tune of about 15%. In addition to the added home resale value of a healthy beautiful lawn, a sprinkler irrigation system can also provide a water cost savings because they are designed to reduce water runoff waste. As if those financial benefits of an in-ground sprinkler irrigation system are not enough there is also a third financial benefit for homeowners in the form of time savings – when you install an automated irrigation system you will save lots of time by not having to manually water your lawn which has been found to be inefficient anyway.
When your lawn and surrounding landscape is properly water – not under watered or over watered, your property’s curb appeal and resale value are instantly increased. Your yard will be healthy and thriving and a delight to enjoy with family and friends. Another great feature of sprinkler irrigation system is that they are low-profile, meaning you rarely see the sprinkler heads except for the short period of time they rise up to water. After the watering is completed (usually just 15-30 minutes once per day) the sprinkler heads lower back down into the ground leaving a wide-open lawn for pets and kids to play.
If you are interested in installing an in-ground sprinkler irrigation system on your property, please consider giving our team of experts a call. We have designed and installed thousands of irrigation systems over the years and can work with you and your budget to design an irrigation system to fit your needs. Give us a call today and let’s get started!
A healthy lawn is a happy lawn, and by following these steps you can rest easy, knowing that your lawn is ready for spring. Installing an efficient irrigation system, performing a sprinkler blowout, and soil analysis effectively increases the wellness of your lawn, and properly assessing your lawn's overall soil condition helps you determine how best to prepare your lawn for spring.
Getting your lawn ready in advance guarantees you'll pass any unannounced spring inspection. Having a plan and knowing what needs to be done is essential, and these tips will assist you in promoting your lawn's total health.
If you blew out your sprinklers in preparation for proper spring sprinkler operation, then your lawn is right on track. Performing a sprinkler blowout prior to the beginning of winter safeguards you from having to deal with issues that may occur once your sprinkler system is active again. Winterizing your sprinkler system prevents pipes from cracking or bursting, saving you the time and hassle of having to possibly install a new sprinkler system. Hiring a professional to blowout your sprinklers makes your spring lawn preparation simpler, and they can suggest additional treatments to increase the health of your lawn before the beginning of the spring.
Soil analysis is highly beneficial for determining the health of your soil. Having a professional analyze your soil helps them to find out what your lawn's precise needs are. If valuable nutrients are discovered to be low, they can be easily integrated back into the soil to increase future growth. Adding more fertilizer at the beginning of spring, prepares your lawn for the rest of the season and restores any missing nutrients, giving you the healthy lawn that you want.
Irrigation of your lawn is vital to preserve the soil's nutrients and prevent weeds from growing and spreading. Installing a proper irrigation system ensures that your lawn will be evenly watered, saving you time, water, and money. An effective system for irrigating your lawn will also improve its growth, allowing it to flourish while conserving important nutrients. No matter what type of system you choose, irrigating your lawn is essential for its health and continual growth and is essential for passing a spring inspection.
Now that you've properly prepared your lawn for spring by implementing a system for irrigation, blowing out your sprinklers, and having your soil analyzed, your lawn is ready to pass any unannounced spring inspection.