As temperatures begin to drop, your lawn goes dormant. This is good for you and your pocketbook because you can start to start cut back on how often you water your lawn. However, you also need to take a few steps to winterize your irrigation system before the freezing temperatures arrive.
Here are a few tips on how you can prevent potential damage:
- Locate and turn off the main shut-off valve to the sprinkler line and make sure it is wrapped with insulation to protect it from sub-zero temperatures.
- If you have an automatic sprinkler, turn off the controller. Most systems have a setting called “rain mode” that will prevent the sprinklers from being activated but will retain all of your preset programming. If your controller has analog dials, it might be worth turning it off completely as analog dials use more power which can raise your energy bill.
- Drain the pipes to prepare your sprinkler system for the winter. In Central Texas, a hard freeze will not typically penetrate deep enough to cause severe damage, but it is still a good idea to remove at least some of the water from the pipes to avoid any potential damage. For some, the above-ground, gear-drive rotors sprinklers will drain automatically when you shut-off the system. If they don’t, it is best to remove the rotors and either shake the excess water out and replace them or store them away until the spring.
- If your system has above-ground pipes, valves or backflow preventers, make sure they are insulated! You can purchase foam insulating tape at your local hardware store for around $10. Trust us, it’s worth it. Once you insulate them properly, you will not have to worry about this step for several years to come.
Since we live in such a temperate climate where the winters only last a few months and the freezes are typically few and far between, these steps should be all you need to protect your sprinkler system. If you ever have doubts, you should contact a local irrigation specialist to assist.
As always, Emerald Lawns is here to help with all of your lawn care needs. We wish you and your family a Happy New Year and we look forward to making your grass greener in 2017!