It’s always kind of a relief when the summertime heat breaks, isn’t it? Most people enjoy the milder weather of fall. And another benefit of transitioning from blast-furnace heat to cool fall temperatures is that we need to use our sprinkler systems less and less.
And then soon, winter will settle in and we’ll have no need of our sprinkler systems for several months.
But don’t entirely forget about your sprinkler system. Because it needs a bit of TLC to see it safely through the winter. And if you ignore your sprinkler system now, you’re likely to be in for a very unpleasant surprise when you try to activate your system next spring.
Just follow these three relatively simple steps and you’ll be set for the winter:
- Take Control. Your irrigation controller has probably been managing your irrigation cycles for months. It’s time for you to take back control. You can just power-down the controller, if you’d like. But if you do that you’ll have to replace the battery, reset the clock, and reprogram all your settings next spring.
An alternative is to keep the power on, but put the controller in “rain-mode” or “off.” That should prevent the controller from attempting to initiate an irrigation cycle during the winter. (A controller left powered-up will use very little power during the winter.)
- Drain. Pipes that are left with water standing in them are at risk of being damaged by freezing water as it expands. Unless you live in an area with a mild climate, even underground pipes should be drained. The most certain method of assuring the complete drainage of your pipes is with the use of compressed air. (Unless you really know what you’re doing, call a professional for help with this step.)
- Insulate. Any above-ground parts of your system, including valves, should be insulated for further protection. There are many options available for this purpose, including pipe-insulating sleeves and insulated tape. And in some cases, simply packing a valve or fixture in an insulating material such as pine straw may suffice.
Winterizing Now Will Pay-Off Come Spring
Giving your sprinkler system a bit of TLC now will pay off when it’s time to kick the system on next spring. Because starting up a system that’s been dormant all winter, and then suddenly finding geysers erupting throughout your landscape – well, that’s a really bad feeling.
[box] If you’d rather not bother with the winterization process, of course, you can give us a call 410-721-2342.
We’ll be happy to handle it for you. Otherwise, somebody will likely be digging up your lawn next spring looking for leaks![/box]