Sprinkler winterization is the process of removing all water from your lines and equipment to ensure frozen water in the system doesn’t cause any damage in the winter months. Winterization is an essential part of properly maintaining your lawn sprinklers. Failing to winterize each year can result in broken or cracked pipes, valve damage, backflow preventer damage, and broken sprinkler heads and fittings.
Winter Ground Freezing
You might think that because your sprinkler system is underground it is immune to freezing, but in locations where the ground can freeze for months on end, that isn’t the case. Frost in the soil will go deeper and deeper the longer temperatures stay below freezing.
If water is left in your system when the ground freezes, it will also freeze inside the pipes and expand causing bursts or cracks. A burst may or may not be noticeable, depending on when the frozen water can leak out of the pipe. Small cracks are often not noticed for months or years. A crack can waste a lot of water, and eventually the crack can grow, causing a major underground leak that can be difficult to track down.
The process of freezing and thawing is already hard on your system, but when water isn’t removed each winter that process decreases the life expectancy of each system component. As water cools, it contracts until it reaches 39 degrees. As it reaches 32 degrees, water will expand as it turns to ice adding stress and pressure to any system component it touches.
Frozen Backflow Preventer
If your system uses a backflow preventer, which is often above ground, it is even more susceptible to damage from freezing. These devices are required by most city water systems, and they can be expensive to replace or rebuild.
Protect Your Backflow From Freezing
Winterizing Your Sprinkler System
Most homeowners hire a professional to winterize their system. It is a small preventative maintenance cost that can save you a lot of hassle and expense later. Winterizations typically involve a system check, shutting down the water to the system, shutting down the controller, and blowing compressed air through each zone and component.
When you winterize depends on your location and climate, but it’s best to complete the process before the first freeze of the year. See our winterization services here.
Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.