As the winter weather starts to arrive in force, many homeowners are taking steps to winterize their homes, vehicles, and garden fixtures. Winterizing is the set of tasks and chores that prepare items and areas to minimize damage from wintry weather conditions. For your home, this may mean cleaning all air filters and the coils on your heating system to get rid of accumulated dust. For your car, this may mean an extra oil change and general tune-up. For your lawn and landscape, this includes prepping your irrigation system for freezing temperatures. Here are some steps to follow to make this process as easy as possible for the home Do-It-Yourself-er.
Turn the water off
This seems to be a very straightforward suggestion, but it is this step that is so simple to forget. You can’t just turn the hose spigot off and call it done. Whatever the main water supply is for your irrigation system, you have to switch it off at the source. This means going as far back along the chain as possible to ensure you have successfully turned off all water to your outdoor systems.
Eliminate all water in the lines and components
This means opening all:
- backflow devices
If it has a way to open it, do so. Then you can switch your controller or timer to “ON” and let it “run” through a cycle. This will cause all of the automated components to open, and bleed the pressure that could otherwise build up in the main after you turn off the water supply. Once the cycle is complete, switch the controller or timer to the “OFF” or “Rain Off” position, and leave it alone until spring.
In most locations, there is enough moisture in the ground from rain and other precipitation to sustain your plants until spring. Where you must, water with a hose or watering can only, and avoid turning your irrigation system back on, because then you would have to go through this whole process again.
There is nothing more annoying than turning on the hose spigot to clean the dog’s water bowl or water your patio plants on a sunny winter afternoon, and the hose produces no flow. Hoses are usually made of a rubber compound; anyone who has ever tried to wear rubber boots on a cold winter day can attest that when rubber gets cold, it gets COLD! To keep your hoses from freezing, try to rig a hanging system along an exterior wall. Don’t count on a hose-winding spool to eliminate all water from the entire length of the hose during the winter. Instead, try hanging a shelf bracket above head-height, and then drape your hose over the arm of the bracket. This will keep long lengths of hose suspended, allowing gravity to pull out most of the water droplets before they have a chance to freeze. In the spring, you can go back to your crank-wound spool. But until then, string them up, and hang them high!
The Irrigation Experts
Andy’s Sprinkler is your local go-to service company for all of your lawn and landscape irrigation and drainage needs. For help winterizing your system, or gearing back up for the warmer months, give us a call or contact today!