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How to Winterize Your Home’s Irrigation System

It’s been predicted to be colder than usual in Dallas this year, and we’re all learning how to prepare for winter weather. We’ve already covered how to thaw frozen pipes. We’ve already explained how you can protect your pipes from freezing. Believe it or not, however, you’re not done winterizing just yet.

Your home’s irrigation system is even more vulnerable to freezing and other cold damage than your pipes. It’s also just as dangerous to leave it alone when temperatures fall. If your irrigation system freezes, it could inflict substantial damage on your property. Luckily, winterizing your irrigation system is quick and easy. All you have to do is follow these steps:

1. Shut off the water supply connected to your irrigation system.

You don’t need to worry about winterizing the main shut-off valve, because they’re usually below the frost line. Still, you should shut off the water supplying system itself. If your system is automatic, make sure you turn off the timer, too. Turning off your irrigation system water prevent that water from freezing and expanding inside the system. You’ll have to re-program the timer on your automatic system in spring, but that’s a small price to pay.

2. Drain the system.

Luckily, here in Texas you shouldn’t have to worry about draining any underground pipes. It may get cold here, but it’ll never get that cold. What you will need to do, however, is drain your rotor sprinklers. After you turn off the water, just move the rotors by hand, shake out the water, and screw them back on. You might need to remove the check valve from the rotor to shake out the water. It’ll be easy to tell if you’ve cleared the rotor sprinklers or not after you shake them a few times.

3. Insulate pipes that are part of your system.

Again, you really only need to worry about exposed pipes. Wrapping some simple Foam insulation tape around the pipes by hand should do the trick. You could also cut some foam insulating tubes to fit the pipes. Either way, insulation is important and easy to apply.

4. Insulate your backflow preventers and valves.

Use your leftover insulation material for this. Backflow preventers keep sewage or wastewater from flowing back up into your pipes. They look like half-rectangle pipes sticking out of the ground. Backflow preventers are susceptible to freezing and bursting during the winter if they aren’t insulated. Simply wrap them up in insulation, just like your pipes. Get the pipe’s valves, while you’re at it. Covering everything up will seriously help keep it from freezing.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your home irrigation system will be ready for whatever Dallas’ weather has in store. All you’ll have to do to get things up and running again in the spring is turn the water back on and maybe reset the automatic timers.

If you need help any step of the way in winterizing your irrigation system, contact the pros at Ben Franklin Plumbing. We’re always happy to answer your questions and prepare you for long-term plumbing success. Give us a call today.