Winterization of Sprinkler Systems

Michigan isn’t exactly synonymous with long Summers and abundance of sunshine. In fact, it’s home to the longest freshwater coastline in the world, which greatly contributes to humidity that’s responsible for icy winters. 

What does this have to do with irrigation systems? Well, everything! Before temperatures drop to below freezing, the irrigation system on your property should be “put to bed for the season.”

Sprinkler winterization serves to protect the system from the delayed freeze-thaw patterns, which have a habit of causing irrigation system pipes to burst, especially if there’s leftover water in them.

Not to mention, most irrigation system pipes are buried no more than 12 inches below the ground. This makes them highly susceptible to the fluctuating temperatures we tend to experience in Southeast Michigan during the winter season. 

Why Is Sprinkler Winterization So Important?

Essentially, irrigation winterization keeps your investment from going down the drain (no pun intended). If you skip it, chances are you’ll end up spending heaps of money on costly repairs whenever it’s time to reboot your entire system. By that, we also mean physically digging up and replacing significant portions of the irrigation infrastructure, which is a drag in and of itself.

Our advice: It’s best to hire a seasoned professional to winterize your sprinkler system through and through! This way, you’ll be able to get the job done in a timely manner and avoid having to spend extra coins on those unnecessary repairs.


Sprinkler System Winterization: How Do We Put Your System To Bed?

A lot of home- and business-owners often wonder what’s the correct way to put the irrigation system to bed for winter? In order to show you the ropes and clear up any misconceptions, we’ll walk you through the process so that you can better understand what to expect from us:


Shutting off the irrigation system

The first step, of course, is to shut off the sprinkler system completely and prepare it for winterization.

Removing any existing water from the pipes

With a high-powered diesel air compressor, we use it to remove every single drop water from the system. This compressor is attached to the blow-out valve, which is typically located between the main and backflow preventer.

Measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm), it takes about 2 minutes to run the air through every zone. Once one zone runs completely dry, it can be switched off after which we move on to the next zone. So in total, it can take roughly 30 minutes to winterize an eight-zone system.


Reviewing the system

Once we have blown all water out from the system, our technicians will start with reviewing the sprinkler system and noting any existing damage. This can include faulty sprinkler heads or other components. Note that repairs do not need to be addressed until the system is reactivated sometime during Spring.

Securing the backflow preventer

There were instances where owners asked us to secure or remove the backflow preventer since irrigation backflow theft is not uncommon. This equipment can be turned in as metal scrap and replacing a backflow preventer with a new one isn’t what most folks would call a bargain.  

securing backflow

Don’t see what you
need fixed?

It’s all good! Better Blossom Irrigation has over 30 years of experience and we can identify the sprinkler system parts causing your sprinkler system failure. Whether it’s lack of water pressure, lawn sprinkler pump, sprinkler valve manifold repair, electrical related such as wireless connectivity, sprinkler rain sensor, your sprinkler timer controller or anything else contact us today for free consultation and quick service.

Want to upgrade or expand your system?

Better Blossom can take any residential or commercial underground sprinkler system to the next level! Whether you want to redesign a layout for a new landscape, add new zones, incorporate drip irrigation or convert your controller to smart technology, you want a fair quote and professional installation. Contact us today regarding your new irrigation project!

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I worry about the sprinkler system freezing?

In the fall, as temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night you should prepare your sprinkler system for winter. This means draining or blowing out all water from pipes using an air compressor before a hard freeze which is when daytime highs drop to less than 32°F.

How do I winterize my sprinkler system without a blowout?

If you want to winterize your sprinkler system, but don’t have an air compressor handy – fear not! You can still make sure that every line is buried at a slight downhill slope and shut off the main water supply. Then all you need to do is open up each zone’s drain valves before shutting them back down again once spring rolls around.

What happens if you don't winterize sprinklers?

Winterizing your sprinkler system is a great way to protect it from harsh climates. If you don’t winterize  before freezing temperatures arrive you risk water freezing inside all the components and your whole system is susceptible to burst!