In cold winter climates, winterizing your sprinkler system stops the pipes from bursting so you won't have to replace them once the weather warms up. An air compressor can be used to blow all the water out of the system. However, if you do not have a lot of experience using the compressor, it is best left to the professionals to do this or you can destroy all the pipes. Here are a few tips for saving your sprinkler system over the winter.

Freeze-proof the Main Shut Off Valve

The first thing you need to do once the weather dips below freezing at night is shut off the water to the system at the main shut off valve. If you are lucky, this valve is located below the freeze line or inside a heated room. When it is exposed to the elements, you need to take steps to keep it from freezing. You can do this by wrapping it in insulation or heat tape.

Drain the Backflow Preventer

Remove the backflow preventer and allow the water to drain out. Use a hair dryer or vacuum to ensure there is no moisture left in it before replacing it. While you could store it for the winter, replacing it ensures that no contaminants flow back into the water in your home. If the weather warms up during the day, any snow or ice could melt and get into the system. This water may be contaminated from the ground and end up in your drinking water.

Install Drain Valves

Each lateral line needs to have a drain valve installed at its lowest point. This should be done before the ground freezes or you will have trouble doing it. If possible, dig a pit below each valve and fill it with pebbles. This will give the water somewhere to go instead of sitting and possibly getting back into the valve or pipe. If there are already drain valves, open them. Once the water is out of the lines, take apart the drain valves and dry them out with a hair dryer, or vacuum, or remove them and put them away until spring.

The best thing you can do for your sprinkler system is to start getting it ready for winter before the weather gets too cold. Once you are no longer watering the lawn, start getting things ready. Every step you take to keep the moisture out of the pipes will help keep them from bursting and needing to be replaced.

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