How do I winterize my lawn irrigation system?

Written by Gene Caballero on September 29, 2014

Its that time of year to get the irrigation system winterized.  This service typically costs anywhere from $60-$150 to get professionally done by a service.

So I bet you are wondering, is this something that I can do myself?  Well... Maybe.  First you are going to need to rent an air compressor, and just any compressor, you will need one strong enough with enough CFM to push the water out of the pipes.   Typically at least 9 CFM will be needed to adequately flush the water from your pipes.  Some people believe you can "drain" your system, however, as professional in the industry for 15 years, I have repaired dozens of systems that were improperly winterized by the draining method.

One idea would be to rent a compressor and split the costs with your neighbors.  Rental fees will be $50-$75 for one day.

Should you acquire a compressor you can perform this service yourself.

Step one:

Shut the water supply off at the main shut off valve, this is located typically near the water meter or near the foundation of your home Connect the compressor to the irrigation system at the back-flow preventer or at the winterization fitting, which is typically located at the water meter, or near the back-flow.

Step two:

Activate the first zone on the control panel, and then start the compressor.

Step three:

Cycle through all of the zones, advancing to each zone after all of the water is pushed through the irrigation heads, and all you see is misty air coming through them.

Step four:

After you have cleared all of the zones of water, them open up the test ports on the back-flow with a regular screw driver flushing the water out of the back-flow.

Step five:

Stop the compressor, and disconnect the hose.  Then loosen the bolts on the lower flange of the back flow and drain the water out of the flange.  Open up all the plugs on the back-flow and leave them loose. Turn the clock to off, and you are all set.

Now, I would not recommend you perform this service yourself unless you would consider yourself "handy" and have experience with similar home service routines. Otherwise , if you have serviced your own pool, car, air conditioner units or like tasks, then this something you can totally do.  But be advised, if this is not properly executed then you will sustain hundreds if not thousands of dollars in damage to your system.

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