Temperatures are dropping and winter is on its way. For most households in the United States, that means it's time to close up the garden for the season until the spring provides a more cooperative growing environment. One of the most important tasks when it comes to prepping your yard for winter is to shut down and store your irrigation system properly to prevent damaged equipment and plumbing leaks. Read on to learn how to safely put away your hoses and sprinklers so they will be ready to go when you need them in the spring.
Shutting Down the System
If you live in a cold part of the country, your priority is to prevent water in your irrigation system from freezing, which can lead to winter plumbing leaks. That means you need to remove all the water from any outdoor pipes and hoses as best you can. To begin, turn off any shut-off valves that lead to your outdoor areas and drain out the water that remains in the system. Next, shut down any automatic or electronic components of the sprinkler system.
With everything shut down and drained, you can disconnect the hoses and break down the sprinkler system if possible. Note that some sprinkler systems may require extra steps to drain and disassemble, like removing the backflow preventer and using compressed air to blow all the water out. Consult your system’s documentation for more precise directions if possible. Store all removable components in an area that's protected from the weather, such as a shed or garage.
Avoid Springing Winter Plumbing Leaks
In most irrigation systems, there will still be components that are exposed to the weather. In order to prevent frozen pipes, you need to insulate any parts of the plumbing system that are found outside the heated area of your home. Cover up any pipes, faucets and above-ground sprinkler equipment that can't be stored with insulating foam or tape, which you can purchase at any hardware store.
Furthermore, you should leave the valves open on your hose hookups and other outdoor faucets, so that any water that does remain inside can escape in lieu of freezing and expanding. Finally, once everything is secured, stowed and insulated, it's worthwhile to make periodic checks on your system throughout the winter to make sure you haven't sprung any plumbing leaks.
Expert Plumbers Can Help Prevent Frozen Pipes
If you need help shoring up your irrigation system for the winter, or have other plumbing leaks that need to be addressed, call up a residential plumber right away.