Irrigation System – Winter Care

Q: I read in your November calendar that this is the month to drain your irrigation system. Our new house has a home sprinkler system. I haven’t thought much about it in the three weeks we’ve lived in the house. Do we need to shut it off for the winter? How does one typically drain a system?

A: All you really need to accomplish is to get most of the water out of the system before winter arrives. You can do this by first turning off the water valve that supplies your system. Then allow the system timer to run through all of its cycles in its normal manner. Much of the water in your pipes will run out of the lowest irrigation heads. What water remains will not be under pressure. The system should be fine when you turn it on next year. Another alternative is to purchase a maintenance contract from an irrigation contractor. They typically will check all of your heads before draining the system in winter and check them again in spring. They may also want to shoot compressed air through the pipes to remove all remaining water.

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