Why Does it Need to be Done?
Failure to properly winterize your system before the first freeze can cause damage to your system in multiple different ways. Water can freeze inside your pipes, sprinklers, and manifolds, which can mean expensive repairs. Check out what happens to your system in each case.
What Damage Can Be Caused?
If your pipes are not drained before the first freeze, the water inside will most likely expand. However, since there is no room for the water to expand, this can cause pipes to crack or burst. Burst pipes can lead to a slew of problems including flooded lawns, flooded basements, damage to landscaping and even damage to your neighbor’s lawn. On top of all this, they are quite costly and difficult to repair since the pipes are underground.
When the temperatures drop, water can also freeze inside the sprinkler heads. The pressure from the expanding frozen water can cause sprinkler heads to pop off. Water can also expand inside the plastic body, causing the sprinkler to crack down the side. Or, water can freeze inside the small supply tube. If any of these issues should occur, you would need to replace the sprinkler head entirely.
The Manifold consists of the main pipe and several attached valves that control the flow of water to the rest of the sprinklers. If water freezes inside the main pipe, it can crack the plastic and damage the valves. This can be avoided by draining as much water as possible from the manifold.
When To Winterize Your Sprinkler
Your sprinkler system should be winterized at least a week before the first freeze is expected. When the temperatures start to drop in the Fall, keep your eye on the forecast. Your lines should be drained or blown out using an air compressor to avoid damage.