Winterize Your Lawn Sprinkler System
Every year, before the first freeze, the ritual of irrigation "blow out" becomes the priority for all irrigation systems, where the frost level extends below the depth of the installed piping. Even if you have drained some water out of the system, the remaining water will freeze, expand and crack the PVC piping (rigid, white pipe), usually from fitting-to-fitting. Polyethylene pipe (flexible, black pipe) is used in many freezing climates. Although polyethylene pipe is more flexible and can expand under pressure, water left inside will freeze and rupture the pipe walls. Freezing water in the backflow assembly will damage the internal components and could possibly crack the brass body and ball valves.
To minimize the risk of freeze damage to your irrigation system, you’ll need to "winterize" your system.
Call Cummins Sprinkler at (402) 420-1063 to get on our Winterizing List.
Your system is designed to be blown out with air pressure at the end of the watering season. You will need to follow steps 1-4 below, and then call our office to schedule an appointment to have it blown out.
Your system will need to be drained before the temperature drops below 32 degrees F at night. Here are some instructions on how to shut the water off inside your house and to protect your backflow preventer in case the temperature drops below 32 degrees before we come out to winterize your system.
Sometimes we get a surprise early freeze with little notice and we can’t get everyone winterized in time. By doing Steps 1-4 you will protect your plumbing from freezing. The sprinklers and valves under the ground will be ok until the temp drops well below 30 degrees.
1. Go to the Sprinkler Control Clock, start a complete manual watering cycle
2. Press the run manual program button on your sprinkler controller
If watering does not start, call our office at (402) 420-1063 (CONTINUE WITH STEPS 2-4)
STEP 2: Shut off the water to the system (A)
STEP 3: Go outside to the backflow and open the test cocks with a screwdriver by turning the screw ¼ turn in either direction. This will allow the water to drain from the valve. Leave the screws open all winter. (D)
STEP 4: Open the drain valve in the basement and drain the water into a bucket or floor drain. Leave drain open all winter. (B) On some sprinkler systems this drain is located outside under the backflow and sometimes there will be two drains, one inside the house and one outside under the backflow. If outside or two drains, go ahead and open both of them.
PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT TOUCH THE LARGE HANDLES ON THE BACKFLOW VALVE. TURNING THE HANDLES WILL RESULT IN FREEZE DAMAGE. (C)