November 1, 2011

Winterizing Your Automatic Sprinkler System

by Andrew Bottrell.

Time to Winterize your Sprinkler System

Whether you have a professional help you out, or you do it yourself, there are some things to remember as you start the process of preparing your Orbit Irrigation System and your lawn for the winter months. Mostly, you want to avoid having any frost on any above ground equipment, which can lead to costly repairs.

If you have any above ground components, make sure to get them covered for additional protection.

"Backflow devices may be wrapped with several old towels or blankets and then covered with a trash can," said a release from Barr's Sprinkler Systems in North Platte. Freezing can easily damage pumps and backflow devices.

Also, cutting back on the frequency of your irrigations to just once per week is recommended. Plants use less water during the winter months and surplus water is just wasted.

Third, check your system for any damaged equipment, broken sprinkler heads, leaking valves or damaged pipes.

For do it yourselfers, T.J. Williams, with the Sprinkler Medic in North Platte, recommends making sure you have the proper air compressor.

"A lot of home air compressors don't have the volume to blow them out properly," Williams said.

However, he said anything above 80 PSI could damage your system. He said his company uses about 50-60 PSI when they winterize systems. Barr's recommends a one horsepower, or more, air compressor.

"Make sure your water is shut off at the source," Williams said. "Leave your blackflow open to drain when you're done blowing it out. Make sure you have completely evacuated the system."

Also, for do it yourselfers, remember to set your Orbit sprinkler valves to semi-open, or at a 45-degree angle.


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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