Happy fall! Alongside Halloween costumes and holiday parties, your irrigation system should be at the top of your priority list. Really! We are working on a tight schedule to get all systems done by Thanksgiving, so be patient and we will be in your area soon. In the meantime, here are some things you can do yourself to maintain the system during the winter weather.
You can begin to take steps on your own to winterize your system. We strongly recommend hiring a professional, but if you’re in a pinch, these tips will help you out.
Deactivate Programs and Timers
If your irrigation system, like most, is equipped with programmable timers and other settings, these will need to be deactivated for the duration of winter to avoid complications. How exactly you go about this may differ somewhat, depending on the model and age of your irrigation system. For most systems, simply placing it in the “off” mode setting will take care of things.
However, if these options are not available, or your system is not equipped with timer/programming options, you will need to kill power to your irrigation system and shut it off completely. Do be aware that if you do use a programmable system, cutting power will reset and remove all of your programming and information. We suggest waiting for a professional if you have a high-tech system.
Insulate Exposed Pipes and Valves
Exposed irrigation lines are at a very serious risk of breaking or cracking if temperatures drop too low, which is a very real threat here in Topeka with the kind of winters we encounter. You can use insulating pipe foam tubes, which is readily available in many hardware stores, to protect your pipes. If your backflow device is above ground, be certain to cover it with a towel or blanket if temperatures are forecast to drop below 35 degrees. Try to cover up the entire thing as best as you can.
In the future, it would be best to look into having a landscaping professional bury any exposed pipes if at all possible, as it removes much of the risk of needing to re-insulate when your insulation materials wear out.
Shut Off Water To The System
If you know where the water shut-off for just your sprinkler system is and are comfortable shutting it off, you can do that at any time you are not using the system and it is recommended if/when the weather is forecasted to have temperatures below 35 degrees.
Drain Irrigation Pipes
Any remaining water in your pipes absolutely must be removed to the fullest extent possible to prevent the risk of frozen or burst pipes. The job can be handled a few ways, including automatic and manual drain valves, or by a forced-air removal. However, this job can actually be very dangerous if mishandled, so we would strongly recommend (if not outright insist) that you have this done by a professional trained in draining irrigation lines.
Contact Topeka Landscape for Your Irrigation System Winterization!
The Topeka Landscape team is always happy to help, and we plan on doing a lot of winterization this season. We’re already out getting systems shut-off and will be in your area soon!