COLORADO SPRINGS — If you have a sprinkler system, now is the time to winterize it before the cold temperatures get to it first. Freezing weather can cause pipes to burst and can cause hundreds of dollars in damage.
Not only do you need to drain your system before winter, but it is also recommended to get a winterization or "blow out" service to get all the remaining water out. Whether you have a manual or automatic system you'll need to shut off the water supply when you're done watering for the season and make sure the valve on the backflow system is off.
You can blow out the system yourself if you have an air compressor and know the ins and outs of your sprinkler. If not it's best to get a professional. They can do it in about 45 minutes while also checking over any other damage to sprinkler heads.
Anyas Morin, a technician with Conserva Irrigation, said it's best to blow out your sprinkler every year to safeguard from damage down the road.
"If you don't do it every year, that's when you're really going to feel the domino effect of, you know, you may not have freeze damage for six years, but then all of a sudden, the seventh year, the entire main line is just break after break, leak after leak. And then, you know, that can be really tedious and fixing," she said.
She said the mistake that can cost you the most is not draining the backflow and letting that freeze over.
"If the housing of the backflow cracks, that's where it's going to be four to $600 to replace. It's also the most essential part of your irrigation system. It's what keeps your drinking water and stuff from getting contaminated by fertilizers that are sprayed, you know, on plants in the yard, so on and so forth," Morin said.
If a sprinkler head ever freezes over, it's not as costly to repair, but can cause leaks. With a leak in the sprinkler head, the system can waste anywhere from five to 20 gallons of water each time you use it the following year.
After all the water is drained from the system Morin said you want to make sure the backflow is left two-thirds open to let any more condensation leak out during the winter.
If you want to continue watering your lawn into November, make sure to have some kind of covering or insulation on your piping and backflow system. Morin said you can use insulation tape, a towel, or even a pool noodle cut in half to cover the pipes.
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