503.444.1148 rob@flowcheckllc.com

…it’s that time of year again…Time to Winterize your sprinkler system!

Winterizing your system is very important as a preventative maintenance to avoid freeze damage.  Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, it needs to be done before freezing temperatures hit.  Please note, the following advice is recommended for people in moderate temperature climates (Portland, OR).

If you live in colder climates, where the temps drop below freezing for extended periods, I recommend blowing out your system with a large air compressor. (The Dalles, OR / Central Oregon)

Follow these tips below and you can save yourself costly repairs down the road.

  1. Turn off the main water to your sprinklers.  This is usually located between your backflow assembly and water main.  Some contractors put the shut off valve in the same box as the backflow preventer and some will install them upstream of the assembly (ie) towards your water main.
  2. Open the main drain valve (if you have one) and leave it open to drain the water out of your sprinkler lines.
  3. At your backflow assembly, you’ll notice 2 ball valves on either side of the device and 4 test ports sticking up or out the sides.  For the 2 ball valves, turn them a 1/4 turn so they are “half open-half closed”.  With a flat-head screw driver, open up each of the test ports the same way (half open/half closed).  You’ll find the flat head screw on the sides of the test ports.
  4. For added peace of mind, you can also take a section of insulation (rigid or the kind you put in your walls), and place it on top of the backflow assembly and put the lid back in place.
  5. For each of your valves, I recommend turning the solenoid to manually drain out more water.  Some people say it’s best to close the solenoid after that but it won’t hurt anything to keep them open over the winter.  The main goal here is to alleviate the potential of any standing water so it does not have a chance to freeze and break your plastic valves or brass backflow assembly.  Valves are fairly easy and cheap to replace.  Backflow assemblies ARE NOT.
  6. Turn off your timer/controller and that’s it!

If you have any questions about winterizing your sprinkler system, please send me an email or give me a call!

Until next time!