Tips to Protect Your Home’s Sprinkler System For Winter

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The key to a gorgeous lawn is keeping your sprinkler system in good condition throughout the year. If the pipes aren’t properly cared for to prevent freezing, you’ll be left with a yard dilemma when springtime arrives. And if you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, it’s crucial that every aspect of your home is in working condition weeks, or even months ahead of time. Here, you’ll find the steps to take to keep your sprinkler system prepared to withstand winter. For best results, start prepping your home for winter as soon as the weather hints that a freeze could be near.

Turn Off the Water

When you begin the process of winterizing your sprinkler system, start by locating the shut off valve. Once you find it, turn it off, paying careful attention to treat this valve gently and avoid using excessive force. After you’ve turned off this valve to cut off water supply, it’s time to move on to the next step of draining the backflow device.

Drain the Backflow Device

Draining the backflow device is an important part of the process to ready your sprinkler for winter. Be aware that drainage procedures for the backflow device vary depending upon the type of device that’s installed. Pressure Vacuum Breakers, or PVBs, are the most common type of backflow device for modern homes. For a PVB that can drain using gravity alone, all you’ll need to do is close the sprinkler supply valve and follow up by opening the ball valves and test cocks. If there are additional drain ports nearby, open those, as well. For a PVB in which the sprinkler shut off valve is located outdoors, you might need to take extra action to ensure proper drainage. In this case, repeat the process of closing the main sprinkler supply valve and opening one test cock and one ball valve. However, for this type of PVB, you’ll need to leave additional test cocks and ball valves closed. Regulate the air compressor to the range between 20 and 50 psi, and allow the pressurized air to force the water from the system upstream. Once this step is complete, open the remaining test cocks, ball valves, and outdoor faucet to allow adequate drainage. Sprinkler system components vary, so if you’re unsure about exactly how to proceed, consult with an irrigation maintenance company.

Flush Water From the System

After draining the backflow device, it’s time to purge water from the rest of the sprinkler system. For this step, you’ll be using the air compressor again. Keep in mind that each sprinkler system is designed differently and the air pressure required to purge the system will differ between models. To determine the appropriate air pressure for your system, check the manual or find the manufacturer’s instructions online. In general, setting the air pressure to 50 psi is a guideline to abide by. When choosing an air pressure setting, don’t exceed 80 psi. After setting the air compressor to the appropriate pressure, begin the flush by attaching the compressor to the outdoor faucet in each sprinkler zone. Switch the sprinkler setting to “run,” and allow air to push the water out of the system until the sprinkler head is no longer expelling water. After each sprinkler zone is completely depleted of water, be sure to leave the ball valves and test cocks halfway open throughout the duration of winter.

When it’s time to clean up after fall and prepare for winter, take this opportunity to protect your home’s sprinkler system. A broken irrigation system can make a negative impact on a home inspection, so it’s best to take care of this important aspect of the yard.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, finding a trusted home inspection company is a must. Homerun Inspection is based in Denver, and we pride ourselves on providing reliable inspections and excellent customer support. To schedule an inspection or learn more, call or book an appointment online.

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