Winterizing Underground Sprinkler System


Old 10-16-07, 11:16 AM
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Winterizing Underground Sprinkler System

I moved into my house at the beginning of last Spring. It's going to be getting colder here in Michigan, so I need to find out what needs done to winterize my underground sprinkler system. All I did to get it running last Spring was close a air valve outside on the main line from the house (just turned a screw 1/2 the way to close it) and open the main line to the sprinklers in the basement. I know that some sprinklers are set to automatically drain the pipes once there is no pressure in the lines. How do I tell if I have these types of sprinklers? If I do have these, is just opening the air valve on the outside of the house good enough to keep the pipes from breaking during the winter? If the drain valves do not automatically open when the water is off, is it best to blow the water out of the system with air (something I would not do myself) or is there another way? Thanks.
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Old 10-16-07, 06:53 PM
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No expert on the subject, but everyone in this area has theirs blown out in the fall.
Old 10-18-07, 01:27 AM
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Steps you need to take depend upon what type of sprinkler system you have. The owner's manual should contain this info. If you do not have one, then you can likely learn more info at the manufacturer's website. You can also Google for information on how to winterize a lawn sprinkler system.
Old 10-18-07, 12:02 PM
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I live in Michigan too..... Just winterized mine.

I have a four zone system; 3 zones have 3 rotating heads each, and one zone has 8 misters.
I have a 5-horsepower/25 gallon, single stage electric compressor which I set to 45 psi for this job.

Shut off the main water supply in the basement to the irrigation system and turn off the electronics to the system.

Hook up the air hose from the compressor to the anti-siphon valve (located outside) then manually open each valve to each zone (one at a time) until all the water is cleared from that zone. Close that zone and open the next; continue until all zones are cleared of water. I went back and re-opened the valves a second time just to make sure there was no water in the lines.....

Then, disconnect the air hose and unscrew the drain valve cap on the system.

One thing I do is leave all the valve (except for the main water shut off) half open. This way if there is a small amount of water left in the system near the valves, with the valves half open, when the water freezes, it'll help protect those valves by allowing for expansion and contraction through the open valves.

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