If you have an irrigation system on your property, then you are probably already familiar with the need for winterization to prevent freeze damage. As temperatures drop in the cold winter months, irrigation components such as backflow preventers, PVC lines, heads and valves are in danger of cracking as water expands and turns into ice. The time to perform winterization is typically November to mid-December, or before extended deep freezing temperatures (i.e. temperatures in the 20’s for more than 6 hours at a time).
So, what does the winterization process actually look like?
The most common mistake that contractors and homeowners make is attempting to use a shop air compressor or tire compressor to winterize their own system. These types of air compressors use high-pressure and low-volume air flow, which can lead to multiple problems. Because the pressure is higher than irrigation systems are designed for, there is an increased risk of a pipe failing and shattering, and the low volume doesn’t provide enough flow for an extended period of time to be able to push out all of the water, which can potentially leave enough water to expand and crack the pipes. To prevent these potential issues, it’s best to have an experienced licensed contractor perform the winterization.
Winterization is typically included in our maintenance contracts as part of an irrigation service package, but it can also be performed as an add-on and billed at the time of service. If you are interested in adding this service or scheduling winterization for your property’s irrigation system, please contact your local Ruppert landscape management branch or call (301) 482-0300 to find the location nearest you.