Q:

How do you winterize an underground sprinkler system?

A:

Quick Answer

Prepare an underground sprinkler system for winter by shutting off the water supply, draining excess water from the system, and preparing valves and controllers. The three draining methods are automatic, manual and blow out.

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Full Answer

First, shut off the water supply, and drain field tubing. This keeps additional water from entering the system. Determine the sprinkler system type installed before draining the system. Some systems have automatic drain methods, and others have manual. Either system can use the blow out drain method.

For automatic draining, find valves at the end and low points of the sprinkler piping. Initiate valve opening by running a sprinkler head to relieve system pressure. The valves will automatically open once pressure falls below a certain level. For the manual draining system, locate the valves at the end and low points, and open all valves. Close the valves once water has completely drained.

It is recommended that a professional perform the blow out method. However, with appropriate precautions and knowledge, one can perform the task without hiring a professional. An air compressor, a coupler and safety goggles are needed.

Connect the air compressor to the system. Turn on the sprinkler zone farthest from the compressor, and close backflow valves. Slowly add air pressure.

Wait for water to spray from the active sprinkler head, and turn it off once spray ends. You should see a spray of water from the active irrigation head. Do this for each zone. Disconnect the compressor, and allow remaining air pressure to escape the system.

Drain water between the shut off valve and backflow device. Check isolation valves for remaining water and air . Leave the controller power on but set to "Off" so it will not activate.

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