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Sprinkler System Winterizing - Forgot - need help

Sprinkler System Winterizing - Forgot - need help

Old 12-28-13, 10:17 AM
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Sprinkler System Winterizing - Forgot - need help


It's my second year with a sprinkler system. Last year the company that installed it winterized (blew it out, shut off the valve). This year I forgot and they never requested to come service it.

Now I am left with a dilemma.. what to do. The system is all Rainbird valves, valve boxes, sprinkler heads, and controller. The piping is 1" poly (flexible) and is buried about 18" except for near valve boxes where it is about 10". The blowout is about 2-2.5" up the wall of the house and then goes inside about 40' to the shutoff valve.

Since I live in WI... There have been a few days around 5F and quite a few under 30F. (not good, I know). Today it is in the mid 30's. There is also about 8" of snow cover (less near the house where the valve boxes and blowouts are.

With all that said... what options do I have outside of praying?

Old 12-28-13, 10:26 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Make sure the water supply valve is off to the system. Open any vales you can find to relieve pressure. The lines underground should be ok as long as the ground hasn't frozen yet. It's the lines exposed to the outside air that need to be empty now.

I would still have the system blown out.... as least as much as they can.
Old 12-28-13, 10:29 AM
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You are pretty much screwed until spring. Everything will be frozen solid and any damage has been done. Start looking around at sales on parts so you can make the repairs when it warms up.

For sure shut off the valve if you haven't done so already.
Old 12-28-13, 10:38 AM
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I would tend to agree with Tolyn. I think most of your flexible pipes to the individual heads will probably be fine... and the heads will probably be fine... but if the weather has been anything like it has been here, any of your supply line that is in PVC will be toast.

Last time I let my dad winterize the sprinklers at our congregation without being there and supervising, he somehow left water in the system and it shattered about 30 feet of pvc pipe where there was a dip in the line that goes to the 2 main valve boxes. THAT was fun digging in the spring after we reactivated the system and pumped about 500 gallons of water in it before figuring out where the problem was. Course it was easy to locate the problem after the ground all turned to swamp.
Old 12-28-13, 10:38 AM
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I would start blowing the lines out asap... If any are froze you will know it. Also this will tell you what zones you will need to work on next year...

If you do nothing or dont attemp something then be prepared for repairs in the spring..

Hey you may luck out that you have an 18" burial... If the valve are froze in the box a hairdryer can thaw them...

As far as the heads, if frozen they should be removed and thawed...

Basically you want to get the system working and then blow the lines out.....
Old 12-30-13, 05:16 PM
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I assume it would take a few weeks of really cold weather for everything to freeze. So you still may be in luck. Recommend trying to blow out the system early and quickly. If you do not have a compressor, try to borrow one of your friends. I paid for the service the 1st year and for the last 12 years I have saved $75 a year and the compressor cost around $300 at Sears and has many many uses.

I know that the ground here in NJ was frozen only about 4" which we have been working on and the frost line is 32" so chances are you are fine. But if you have had or will have weather below freezing for 2-3 weeks straight you may have issues. You may want to remove one head from each zone and see if the nipple has frozen water in it. If so then chances are everything has already frozen. If not you need to move real quick.

On a positive note I went one winter without touching anything and it was a real cold winter in NJ and in the spring nothing was damaged. The lines were about 24" - 28" in the ground. Good luck and keep us posted.

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