A sprinkler system is essential if you intend to keep your yard healthy and looking great. Not only is it convenient, but it can help you lower your water usage by providing just the right amount for your grass. It also functions while you're away from home.
The only issue with a sprinkler system is that it's constantly exposed to the elements. This becomes a problem when colder weather comes around and threatens to freeze your pipes.
When to Winterize a Sprinkler System
First of all, it's important to know when to winterize a sprinkler system ahead of the colder months. You wouldn't want to do this too early, as it involves removing water from your pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads that should go into your yard. However, waiting too long could get you in trouble if an overnight blizzard hits your town.
As such, try to get it all done sometime between October 1st and Thanksgiving. Adjust the timing based on your local weather reports.
Protects Sprinkler Head
Winterizing your system protects your sprinkler head from unnecessary damage. Frozen water naturally expands, and the sprinkler head will get hit first. It's not uncommon to find that it has frozen over and suffered damage even before the rest of your pipes are affected.
Protect the Main Shut-Off Valve
The main shut-off valve controls the water supply to your entire irrigation system. If you forget to turn it off, then water may freeze up and cause damage to it. A broken shut-off valve may cause your pipes to freeze as well as mess with the automatic timer.
You can usually find the shut-off valve either in your yard, your basement, or a utility room.
The most important reason to winterize your system is to prevent a pipe burst. Sprinkler repair may be easy enough if it's just the head that has received damage. However, pipes often run under multiple feet of dirt and aren't as easily accessed.
If your pipes freeze up and burst, then they'll leak a lot of water when they thaw out until you can fix them.
Prevents Costly Repairs
If your sprinkler system or your pipes suffer damage, then you'll need to pay for repairs. Unfortunately, preparing an irrigation system isn't that cheap.
A sign that your sprinkler system has suffered damage is lowered water pressure. You may also notice that certain parts of your lawn aren't as green as they should be.
Why It's Better to Ask a Professional
Most people don't install their irrigation system themselves. As such, it's important to talk to your irrigation contractor about winterizing a sprinkler system.