Irrigation Systems Maintenance
Winterize Your Irrigation
Right before winter, your irrigation system needs to be winterized to prevent water from freezing in the pipes and subsequent expenses to repair the freeze damage. The winterizing process entails having an Oasis technician come out to your home to blast water out of the sprinkler system. After winter, an Oasis technician will return to your home to properly turn the irrigation system back on.
- Winterization and Spring Turn-On: This is a two-visit program which starts at $170 for six zones or less.
- Winterization, Spring Turn-On and Maintenance Visit: This is a three-visit program which starts at $225 for six zones or less.
Hunter Industries Irrigation Products
Rainbird Irrigation Products
Methods of Winterizing Your Irrigation
Here are brief summaries of two of the most popular methods of winterizing an irrigation system:
Manual Drain Valve Method
Your drain valves should be located in a very low position in your piping system. You will also need a drain valve that’s located at a high point that isn’t connected to a sprinkler. This will allow air to escape, which will make it easier for the water to drain out. It’s a good idea to have your irrigation system charted so you know where each of the valves can be found. You should place all of your valves in a box which is stored in an easily accessible location. When a sprinkler system is installed, the controller is placed at a low point in the circuit, which makes it easy to install the drain valves in the same location as the controllers. It also makes the winterization process much easier. All you need is a ¼-inch slope to allow the water to drain out of the pipes. For the best results, have one drain valve per lateral. Another option is to use an automatic drain valve, which will remove excess water more quickly and easily. This system works when the pressure is low – under 10 psi. It can save a lot of hassles and headaches. All you have to do is activate a station to reduce the amount of pressure to get the water flowing out of the pipes. If water is still in the valves, you will need to remove them. You can dry them manually this way, but this method isn’t ideal for the beginner. To make this easier, you can use ones that have unions. Once you have removed the valves, make sure to place caps at the ends to keep out pests and garbage. Make sure to look inside of the sprinkler head to see if water is inside. Sometimes these don’t drain out completely, especially for side inlet sprinklers and sprinklers with built-in check valves. You can either remove the sprinkler head and shake out the water manually or you can use a wet/dry vacuum to do the job.
This method should be done by a professional, but it’s still helpful to understand how the process works. An air compressor is needed for this method. This is a large machine that is able to compress 50 cubic feet of air per minute. This tool will have to be set correctly for it to work properly. If you decide to do this on your own, you can try renting different types of air compressors to see which one works the best. When you find the right one, you can purchase it to save money from having to rent one every year. Next, you will have to remove the backflow preventer. This is usually near the irrigation shut-off valve for your system. You’ll need to remove the entire valve if you own one that is anti-siphon. Then you will need to connect the air compressor to the backflow preventer riser. Afterward, turn on the valves one at a time using your controller. It’s best to start with the last valve and work your way to the lowest elevated valve. If you had to remove the entire valve because it was anti-siphon, then you will have to connect the air compressor to the downstream portion of the valve risers. When turning on the air compressor, make sure to do so gradually, and don’t let it reach over 50 psi. Keep a close eye on the pressure and temperature of the air compressor. Once all of the water has been alleviated, you should turn off the machine right away. Continue these steps with each of the valves.