I want to share with you the easy steps on how to winterize your sprinkler system during the winter season.
The first thing that you need to do is find your pressure vacuum breaker which is normally located on the side of your house.
Second, turn the valve that goes straight down completely off from the water supply line. By doing so, it will take the water off from coming to your irrigation system.
Third, check the side of the valve is having a test cock and what you need to do is turn each of them off with a screwdriver that places at an angle of 45 degrees.
What it’s going to do is to release the pressure from the system and actually drain the housing inside the valve. This is the most vulnerable part where the brass between the pipe connections is very easy to get freezing water inside. This can make the sprinkler cracks and you are going to get a problem.
Additionally, you can get foam insulation if your sprinkler system didn’t have one. You can found one at any local hardware store. Buy one and install it on the system. Make sure it is located nicely and securely with all exposed parts are being covered.
image from Hunter
1. Boiler Valve
2. Irrigation Shut Off Valve
3. Main Water Shut Off Valve
4. Water Mete
While you can find the controller usually set up inside the garage or mounted outside of your house. You may get into the inside and manually go to each zone and each station to relieve the pressure. What we are trying to do so there may still be some water inside the pipes.
You shouldn’t be so worried about that. We just don’t want it to be under pressure again. If water inside the pipes is under pressure and because the pipes get full expanding, they can be broken easily.
This process just takes a few minutes for the pressure to take off, once the pressure is taking off, you can just trip the switch to off position and you may close the controller cover.
Then you may go back to the PVB and check the vacuum breaker. The last step is to turn the valve off. That is the supply line to your actual irrigation system. You may put a towel or a jacket over the top of the valve to keep it as warm as possible.
How to Turn On Sprinkler System?
When spring is coming after a long winter, you should start inspecting your water irrigation system. You may go to your front yard and find the irrigation control valve box. First thing you want to make sure that the drain is shut properly with a pair of channel locks or you can use your hand to tighten it.
The next thing you are going to do is go outside your sprinkler valve cover boxes that making the backflow and make sure there is some stuff shut out there which will go check right now.
Locate your backflow prevention device which is on the side of your house. In most cases, there is 3-flow of water line up in the basement which is designed so that your household water doesn’t get affected by your sprinkler water system. This ensures no sucking air from sprinkler lines into your faucet.
So you may want to get to your back for a minute and you want to get to the test cock which is in line over the winter time. This means they are open in line and the opposite is close so before you turn your water on, you come out with a screwdriver to turn opposite to the pipe to shut them off.
The new handles are sometimes kind of half on, so you want to turn it to make it in line with the pipes. So now the backflow is ready to be charged with water. Another thing you may have to do is locate your valves sprinkler boxes down the drain.
You will need to find the drain handle sometimes is across like the royal blue handle. Just make sure that suit well and the drain is open when you turn on the water before the sprinkler system flow through to another box with a blue handle.
Extreme and even freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your irrigation system and cause irreparable damage. Your irrigation system represents a significant investment and therefore requires that you not only perform regular maintenance checks but winterize your system if you live in an area where you experience freezing temperatures. We will discuss the necessary steps that should be observed in order to winterize your Toro sprinklers.
Winterize Your Toro Sprinklers
The first step in the winterizing process involves safety. You should always exercise extreme caution when preparing your system for the winter. Preparation activities include the use of high powered blowers that can send debris flying through the air.
Goggles should be worn as well s protective gloves and you should never stand directly over any components such as pipes, valves or sprinklers as you could be in the direct line of any debris that might be extricated.
Once you’ve observed the safety precautions you should then turn off the supply of water going to your irrigation system. The main shut off valve should be protected from freezing and this can be accomplished by wrapping the valve tightly with some form of insulation such as foam insulation, electrical tape or even a plastic bag. Any exposed piping should also be insulated, foam insulating tape is the best for this type of job.
The next step is to shut down the controller if your system is automatic. If your controller comes equipped with a “rain-mode” you should set your controller to this mode so that only signals are shut down but the controller continues to maintain the present time settings and retains all program information.
Control Toro Sprinklers Pump
If your controller controls the pumps as well as the valves it would be a good idea to disconnect the wiring that links to the pumps to prevent accidental activation of the pumps resulting in overheating.
If your controller does not come equipped with a “rain mode” you will need to shut the entire system down and simply reprogram any cycles and timings when you reboot your system in the spring.
As the next step, you will need to examine the pipes to ensure that there is no leftover water in the pipes. Water left in the pipes during cold winters will freeze and expand causing the pipes to crack. This type of damage is irreparable and will require that you replace your piping in the spring before being able to start up your system.
To avoid this you need to drain your pipes thoroughly. There are two methods that can be used to effectively drain your pipes. The first is by using the drain valves to let the excess water flow manually out of the pipes. The second is by blowing the water out using an air blower.
This is where your protective gear will really come in handy. With your goggles in place, you can get a regular leaf blower and attaching it to one end of pipe engage the system to blow any excess water out.
The last step in winterizing your Toro sprinklers is to protect and insulate your valves and preventers. Insulation tape or even foam insulation works well for this project. Take care not to block the air vents so as to discourage the growth of mold. Drain the preventer backflow outlets.
After doing this you are done and ready to close up shop for the winter. By winterize your Toro sprinklers, when you reactivate your system in the spring it will be as good as new.
Read also: Top Winter Gardening Tips