Changes in weather can be hard on your garden and sprinkler system as the seasons change. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to prepare your sprinkler system for whatever Mother Nature might throw at you! Whether your home has an automatic or a manual sprinkler system, it will need to be checked and maintained seasonally.
The effectiveness of maintenance on irrigation systems saves water, and when performance improves, you save money!
Here are some helpful spring and winter preparation and maintenance tips that you can use all year round!
When Should You Blow out Your Sprinklers for Winter?
It’s time to blow out your sprinkler system before the first frost in the fall with your other fall clean-up tasks like gutter cleaning, power washing, and window washing. This is the right time for winterizing your sprinkler system before the winter officially kicks in and destroys any full water lines. However, if you have an early winter, it’s best to blow them out earlier. Northern states typically blow their sprinklers out in October.
If you live in a state where the ground is icy and snow comes later, your sprinklers could freeze if they’re still on when an unexpected frost occurs. This ruins the entire system. Keep track of when the last projected frost is for your area.
Steps for Winterizing Your Sprinkler System
- Turn off the water: Shut off the sprinkler valve that comes from the shut-off valve from the city (mostly found in the basement, crawl space, or valve box). Also, turn off the valve on the water manifold outside.
- Turning off the timer: Turn off the sprinkler system timer or set it to rain mode to preserve your settings.
- Drain all the water from the pipes: You can automatically or manually drain water or blow out the sprinkler system with an air compressor. Blowing out the water is the most effective method. Ensure you leave the outlets on the manifold open throughout the winter.
- Cover all visible parts of the sprinkler system: use insulation tape to cover the irrigation system parts above the ground to keep them from freezing.
When Should You Prepare Your Sprinkler for Spring?
There’s no exact time to prepare your sprinkler system for spring because it depends on when the snow clears each year. It’s best to wait until a chance of frost has passed.
The best time to prepare your sprinkler system is when spring has officially arrived. Using the expertise of a professional to determine the best time to activate your sprinkler system is the safest option. The length of the process will depend on the number of sprinkler zones.
Before anything else, it’s good to check if the ground is still frozen. If it’s still frozen, give it at least 10 to 14 days and check again. Be sure not to run your sprinkler system when the ground is still frozen, as this can damage your water pipes/lines. You can use a meat thermometer to measure the ground temperature if you are unsure. It should be around fifty degrees.
Steps for De-Winterizing Your Sprinkler System
- Ensure that the ground is not frozen. You can use a meat thermometer to measure the ground temperature if you are unsure. It should be around fifty degrees.
- Remove the insulation tape and inspect the sprinkler system to ensure that the cold weather caused no physical damage to existing equipment.
- Inspect your sprinkler heads to determine if they need cleaning. Dirty sprinkler heads may block or restrict water flow.
- Close the outlets on the manifold but leave the valve open. Then turn on the sprinkler valve that comes from the shut-off valve from the city (the one in the basement).
- Switch on the control panel and confirm the settings are accurate. You can use the panel to test if all valves are working.
How Do You Maintain Your Sprinkler Year-Round?
Routine maintenance to your sprinkler system guarantees you a lovely lawn and garden. Also, a well-maintained sprinkler system saves you money and time from damaged components and huge water bills. Here are a few ways to maintain your sprinklers:
1. Inspect and Clean Sprinkler Heads
Inspecting your sprinkler heads is essential to clear any debris, rocks, or anything that might block or restrict good water flow. If your sprinkler head is clogged, it may water unevenly, causing certain dry spots on the lawn or plants in watering distance to dry up.
2. Check for Signs of Damage
If your sprinkler is not delivering water as it should check for damaged components. Freezing, normal wear and tear, wildlife, pets, lawnmowers, or even people in the yard can damage sprinklers.
3. Look for Swampy or Dry Areas
Swampy or brown patches in your yard might indicate that your sprinkler is not working correctly. The sprinkler could be delivering too much water or not enough water. Identifying and fixing the problem helps reduce costs and wastage of water.
4. Adjusting Sprinkler Heads
Sprinklers can be found at an incorrect angle after winter due to getting bumped around by wind and wildlife. If you see that the sprinkler heads aren’t at the appropriate angle, adjust them to ensure that your garden or lawn receives enough water.
5. Winterizing and De-Winterizing
The most critical maintenance periods for a sprinkler system are winterizing and de-winterizing. This will ensure that your valve, water lines, and other system components are adequately protected during the cold season.
De-winterization will allow you to work with parts that are free of damage, saving you from the mess of working with water leaks due to unnoticed broken parts.
Upgrading the Sprinklers
If you need to do many repairs on your sprinklers, it might be time to upgrade them. An upgrade can save you money in the long run for water costs on your lawn and garden.
One of the most critical stages in keeping your sprinkler system running without fear of damage is to prepare it for the spring and winter. Regular sprinkler care is also one of the most important keys to having a beautiful lawn and garden.
Let Squeegee Squad Assist With Your Spring And Winter Cleanup!
In addition to preparing your sprinkler system for the season change, there are many other spring and winter cleaning tasks that can start to pile up on your plate! Let the professionals at Squeegee Squad assist with window cleaning, gutter cleaning, solar panel cleaning, and pressure washing to keep your home in tip-top shape!