A How-To Guide For Winterizing Your Inground Sprinkler System

When it comes to preparing your inground sprinkler system for the cold, winter weather, you might not need to have a professional irrigation company come out to perform the task. While it is a lot easier to have a professional take care of this annual chore, and you can guarantee it will get done quickly, efficiently and correctly, you can winterize your system on your own, if you're handy and have the proper instructions.

To help ensure everyone has the ability to tackle the task on their own if they prefer, our experienced irrigation professionals have put together this how-to guide for winterizing your inground sprinkler system this season. Follow the steps below to get your system ready for winter.

Step One: Shut off the water

When winterizing your inground sprinkler system, the first thing you'll need to do is turn off the water running to your system. To do this, shut the water off at the main valve.

Step Two: Turn off the controller

After you've turned the water off, the next step is to shut off the controller. Some controllers will have a setting called "rain mode" and if yours does you'll want to simply put your system in this mode. Rain mode will shut off the signals that normally go to your valves. In this mode, the signals will stop but the controller will continue to keep time and retain programming information such as start and run times. This will be important when re-starting your system again in the spring.

If your system does not have a rain mode setting, you'll need to disconnect from the power source to shut off the controller. If possible, write down your setting information and keep it handy for when you reprogram your irrigation system again in the spring.

Step Three: Remove backflow preventer

Find the backflow preventer that helps prevent backflow into your system. This device will need to be removed and properly stored throughout the winter.

Step Four: Drain the water

Method 1: Siphon or vacuum

You can try draining the water from your system using a siphon. If siphoning the water does not work, a shop vacuum designed for wet and dry use can be effective in sucking the water out of your system.

Method 2: Blow out pipes

If the siphon or vacuum method becomes to time consuming, or is not doing the job effectively, try blowing out your pipes. This is the easier and most popular choice for homeowners who winterize their own systems. With this method you will need a large compressor with a 50 cubic feet per minute rating. Once you have a compressor you will need to follow these steps:

  • Connect the compressor to the backflow-prevention riser
  • Use the automatic controls to turn on your valves one at a time
  • Gradually increase the pressure to slowly blow the water out. If the pressure is too strong, you can modify it by attached a hose length
  • Move around your yard one valve at a time, repeating the process until your entire system is successfully drained
  • Remember to blow out the system's main line if it has one

Step Five: Finish up

Complete the winterization process by replacing all caps, storing your backflow preventer in an appropriate spot and putting your equipment back in place.

Contact Nutri-Lawn Burlington

As you can see, it's entirely possible to winterize your inground irrigation system on your own. But for a quick and easy winter service that is guaranteed to get done right the first time, contact Nutri-Lawn Burlington Irrigation.