Winterizing Your Irrigation System

Maintaining your irrigation system is crucial to prolonging its life! One vital maintenance project is preparing it for the long, and cold Ottawa winters. While Irrigation Ottawa offers year round irrigation maintenance - including Winterization - it is possible to accomplish this task on your own. To learn the steps for this important procedure continue reading! If you have any questions, or would like Irrigation Ottawa to take the job off your hands, get in touch with us today!

Step #1: Turn off the water
Start by located the water shutoff for your irrigation system. This is the first thing you do. If you can’t find the water shutoff, ask your installation team. It will be located in a place that cannot freeze. Usually this is the basement or near the garage.

Step #2: Shut Down the Controller
Your irrigation system is attached to a controller. This controller is what you use to programme the irrigation times, and durations. At this point you have two options. You can either set it to “rain mode” or turn it off completely. If you are in any doubt, just turn it off altogether. There are several different kinds of controllers, and they each do something a little different when you turn them off completely. If you turn off the controller you will need to reprogram the settings next growing season.

Step #3: Remove Backflow Preventer and Risers
Removing the backflow preventers will allow you to get all the water out of the lines. The backflow is a device that ensure all the water in your irrigation system flows in one direction. To remove the backflow preventer, simply uncouple the union connections. Then, use insulation on the exposed ends of the pipe to keep them temperature controlled over the winter. If there are no union connections then you will have to manually cut the backflow preventer out. In the spring, use union connectors to reinstate it.

Step #4: Draining The Water
Getting all of the water out of the irrigation system is incredibly important. If you don’t get all the water out, it will freeze, expand, and potentially burst ruining the entire system. Usually removing the water involves a pump, although sometimes it is possible to siphon it out. You can either pump the water out using a wet/dry shop vac, drain the water using the system’s drain valves, or blow it out using air. The drain and air method are the most efficient. Your irrigation system should have a drain valve at all of the low points and all of the high points. In some irrigation systems these will be automated making this step super simple. Always make sure to remove sprinkler heads and drain those manually! For the blow out method, you will need a large air compressor (minimum 50 cubic feet per minute). You will need to read each model’s specific instructions on how to use the machine. Make sure that the backflow preventers have been removed.

Winterizing an irrigation system takes patience and practice. If you would like to learn more about Irrigation Ottawa’s winterizing services, contact us today!