Winterize Sprinkler System
Irrigation winterization protects your system from potential freezing damage and repair expenses. We recommend that you winterize each Fall to prevent potential problems with your lawn sprinklers. Water left sitting in irrigation lines over the Winter can freeze and expand, causing busted, broken, or damaged pipes. These repairs are often troublesome and expensive. We winterize sprinkler systems as a part of our basic irrigation maintenance service offering in an effort to help avoid these issues.
If you have lived in the Springfield area for a while, you understand that the weather here is unpredictable. Some years it snows in April and October. Some years it doesn’t snow at all. Our weather alternates between warm and cold winters. During our warmer winters you can get away with not winterizing, yet have no damage to your system. The ground never freezes deep enough to affect the irrigation lines during our warm winters. The problem is that we also have some very cold winters. In the cold winters you could easily sustain a thousand dollars worth of damage tracking down hairline fractures in poly or pvc lines across a sizeable lawn. Not winterizing your irrigation system is a gamble that we do not recommend taking. Irrigation troubleshooting and repair costs can add up quickly. We recommend signing up for your winterization services long before they are needed. So when are they needed, you might ask?
When to Winterize Your Lawn Sprinkler System
Like most things in landscaping, the proper time to winterize your lawn sprinklers depends on many factors. The climate conditions of your area are the most important factor in determining when to winterize your irrigation system. In some places, irrigation systems never need to be winterized. Here in the Greater Springfield Missouri Area, we usually recommend that our customers have their systems winterized prior to the start of December. However, it is not uncommon for some people to winterize as early as October.
Our lawn sprinkler winterizing services usually begin in late October. The ground here doesn’t typically freeze until at least December, but usually it’s more like January or February. Since we just can’t predict the weather, our goal is to leave the systems on long enough to water the new grass growing from our aerating and over-seeding services to a point of establishment. Since it takes four weeks for fescue seeds to establish, and Fall Aerating and Over-seeding finishes by the second week in October, we are usually finishing the winterization of irrigation systems by about the second week in November. Of course, we always have some new customers sign up late. It is better to winterize your sprinkler system sooner rather than later.
How to Winterize Your Landscape Irrigation System
In Springfield and surrounding areas, blowing the water out of your irrigation lines is a sufficient method of winterization. We use an air compressor. As long as the compressor is capable of pushing enough cubic feet of air per minute, you are able to see the water shoot out as we perform a winterization service. Once the heads are blowing out mist, your lines should be clear enough to safely make it through the winter.
Our technicians are trained to winterize the uphill zones in a system before the lower zones to avoid water back-flowing into a zone already cleared of water. In some areas, anti-freezing additives are added to a system for winterization. Such systems have an increased backflow hazard risk and require backflow prevention devices with greater protection. We do not advise that anyone attempt to utilize this method in our area unless they are an experienced professional and a Department of Natural Resources Certified Backflow Assembly Tester. Chances are, your residential lawn sprinkler system doesn’t need anti-freeze additives anyways. Rather than risk contaminating your water source trying to figure out how to winterize your lawn sprinklers, it may be worth the investment to contact us or another qualified professional in your area.