Maintaining Irrigation Systems In Cold Weather
Irrigation systems are a great way to automatically water your garden or yard. Using sprinklers and pipes, these systems evenly distribute water and are set on a timer, giving the plants what they need and saving the property owner money. Unfortunately, irrigation systems are commonly forgotten about and can cause a lot of damage if not addressed before the cold weather arrives.
What happens to an irrigation system during cold weather?
During an extended period of freezing temperatures, the ground can be much colder than on the surface. It’s recommended that property owners drain the irrigation system in the Fall. Water expands when it freezes, so it must be removed from pipes in cold weather because it could cause them to crack or burst. Replacing an irrigation system can cost thousands of dollars and can take over a week to install. This can be easily avoided by taking the proper safety precautions.
How to prevent damages
To avoid these expensive repairs, make sure the water is completely shut off and the irrigation system is drained (which can be done automatically or manually). A gravity system helps drain the valves. Although manually draining the valve can save you a bit of money, there have been instances where the water doesn’t fully drain. The best way to drain your irrigation system is to use compressed air to blow the water out more sufficiently. Otherwise, water can remain at the top of the diaphragm of the valve.
Adjusting water flow as the season changes
Adjusting water flow is easy and can be done in a matter of minutes. For a traditional irrigation system, loosen or unlock the adjustment retaining lock on the flow control valve and turn the flow control valves in the clockwise direction to reduce the flow going through. This can be useful throughout the year during season changes so plants are not underwatered or overwatered.
Temperatures will vary in different areas of the state, so contact a landscaping professional to decide the best way to proceed. At Green Acres Landscape, we suggest irrigation turn-offs in the fall (if you live in a colder climate) and service/repairs/adjustments in the spring. This is an excellent time to discuss your watering schedule, so you can be sure you are providing the right amount of water for your yard as the season transitions from summer to fall.
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