Your home’s sprinkler system is at risk for freezing during the harsh Kansas winter. Since it represents a big investment, it’s a good idea to take steps to protect your irrigation system before the temperature drops. Every fall, your sprinkler system should be winterized. Due to the potential hazards involved with the winterization process, it’s best to hire a professional.
What is Sprinkler System Winterization?
The most common sprinkler system winterization method is a “blow out”, which is when air is used to remove water from all of the pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads. A high-powered air compressor is used to push air through all of the irrigation system components, including the sprinkler control valves, lateral pipes, mainline pipe and out through the sprinkler heads. The air forces all the water out of the system, so there’s nothing left to freeze during the winter.
Why You Should Hire a Professional
If the winterization process isn’t done correctly, your sprinkler system can be damaged, leading to costly repairs.
Having the right compressor for the job will ensure an ideal balance of both pressure and volume, allowing the lines to be blown out without damage. A standard compressor can only pump air out at a rate of 3-5 cubic feet per minute (CFM), while professional compressors blow out air at 185 CFM. A pressure regulating valve must be used to avoid over pressurization of the system, as air volume should be high and air pressure low. The combination of high volume and low pressure will minimize the damage that can occur during the sprinkler winterization process. Compressed air moving through dry pipes can cause friction, which will create heat and could cause damage – a professional will never run the compressor without at least one irrigation control valve open.
Caution must be taken when blowing out a sprinkler system to avoid excessive pressure which can damage sprinklers, valves or pipes. And, as you can imagine, pumping extreme amounts of pressure into a sprinkler system can create dangerous chunks of flying debris. To ensure the safety of you and your sprinkler system, call a professional.
There is a proper procedure when it comes to blowing out an irrigation system. Knowing when to shut off certain valves and when and where each station and zone should be activated, are vital to doing the job safely and correctly.