Winterizing Your Irrigation System
Take precautions so your irrigation system doesn't create a potential traffic hazard in freezing weather. There are several options available, but Option 3 below provides the most protection from breaks caused by freezing temperatures.
Consider adding a rain or freeze sensor so the system will not turn on when temperatures are near the freezing point. Have the sensor checked at least annually to make sure it is working.
Turn your system off or to maunal operation so it will not automatically come on during the winter.
Shut down your irrigation system for the winter and bleed the lines to remove water from the system to prevent breaks in freezing weather. Turning the system off at the controller and not the backflow leaves water under pressure in the irrigations lines. If the line freezes, the water will expand, creating the potential for broken heads, lines or fittings. You can do this yourself or hire a licensed irrigation specialist to do it.
If you choose to do it yourself, the steps below explain the process.
- Find the backflow preventer, which is normally located in the ground near the meter in a separate box or close by a flower bed.
- Turn off the backflow preventer by turning one or both shut-off handles.
- At the sprinkler system controller or timer box, turn on the closest station to the controller. (This will let you know if the water was actually turned off). This will also depressurize the main line that feeds the entire system.
- It is also recommended to place the controller in the “off” position. If you are not sure, unplug it from the wall.