Blow out the sprinkler system, not your wallet!
The following is sponsored by Slow the Flow.
By: Faye Rutishauser – Water Conservation Coordinator for the Utah Division of Water Resources
You’ve noticed the cooler weather and you’ve boldly shown your timer who is boss by watering fewer days per week! You’re getting free water from storms and capitalizing on it; you’ve turned those timers to rain delay! For your smarts and follow through, your landscapes will reward you with less chlorosis (yellow leaves), weeds, disease and pests next season. The real reward though, gloriously getting to spend the money you saved on something fun instead!
You’re awesome! Now what?
Winterizing your sprinkler system before a hard frost is crucial to keeping those savings going. The freezing and thawing of trapped moisture can lead to cracked pipes and, heaven forbid, a cracked backflow preventer ($$$$). Winterizing involves shutting off the outdoor water, draining the water out of your system, possibly insulating/removing exposed pipes/mechanics, and lastly, turning the timer off (I don’t recommend unplugging the controller, or you have to reprogram next year).
Got the gist but need more details!
There are several ways to drain the water out of your system. However, cold climate irrigation specialists say “blowing out” the system is the only way to be confident you won’t have a disaster on your hands next spring. Jess Stryker has written an extensive tutorial that addresses both temperate (Southern Utah, USDA hardiness zones 7 and up) and colder climate (Northern Utah, zones 6 and lower) winterization tips.
I’m no irrigation cowboy; I’m ready to hire someone!
Hiring a professional to winterize your sprinkler system on average costs anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the size of your yard. Most sprinkler companies offer this service.
I accept the risks; I’m doing it myself!
Local resident, Adam DIY has filmed this very helpful video on how to winterize your system. Be sure to watch to the end for a fun way to tease your dog!
How much is this going to cost?
While, most professionals don’t recommend using the compressor you have in the garage (the video talks about how to get around this), renting the minimum recommended 50 cubic feet per minute air compressor, requires that you absolutely understand what you are doing and it’s going to run you around $100. Buying one can cost you thousands! One nice thing, the adapters to make everything work together are available at your local hardware store.
Time to make a choice!
Whichever route works for you, feel assured that there will be fewer surprises next spring. If you risk it and don’t winterize, your friends and family have a pretty good chance of watching you be covered in mud and cursing while you fix the breaks. We’ve all been there, so while we are sympathetic, we’ll probably laugh just a little.
Want more tips on how to save water and invest in long-term savings? Check out, www.slowtheflow.org and www.conservewater.utah.gov. Be patient with us though, both sites are going under construction soon to make sure you have the most up-to- date information!