As we draw closer to another winter, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your lawn sprinkler system prior to freezing temperatures. According to Matt Leonard, Irrigation Specialist at All American Turf Beauty, proper winterization of your irrigation system can prevent broken pipes and sprinkler heads. “Freezing water expands within the piping and sprinkler components and can cause extensive and very expensive damage to a homeowner’s system” says Leonard. Fortunately, it can be prevented by using compressed air to remove water from the piping and components – a process known as winterization.
Leonard compares the winterization process to having preventative maintenance done on your car. “A little prevention – in this case using compressed air to forcibly eject water from the piping and irrigation components – can prevent a bigger problem caused by water remaining in the pipes and freezing” notes Leonard.
There also appear to be a right way to winterizing the system as well. Some contractors may rush to perform the service and use a very high volume and high amount of air pressure to speed up the job. This too can cause problems according to Leonard. “We prefer to use an air compressor that can generate a sustained pressure of around 50 psi – which your sprinkler system is used to running at, and what all major Irrigation Manufacturers suggest as the proper amount of air flow and pressure to prevent damage. I take the extra amount of time needed to do the job correctly and prevent damage from both freezing water and excessive air pressure.”
The other advantage of winterization, says Leonard, is it gives him another “hands on” or “visual” opportunity to assess how well the irrigation system is performing for his customers. Often times a minor problem can be corrected during the winterization process. If a major problem is encountered, the customer can be made aware of the problem and given a solution – which helps prepare the customer for repairs needed next spring. This is rare, but Leonard likes to work with his customers and prevent surprises when possible.