If you are new to owning a home, you are likely discovering that there are many things you'll need to take care of to maintain the property and its utilities. During the winter, it's important to blow out the sprinkler system's pipes and keep your home's pipes from freezing.
Why Are Frozen Pipes Such an Issue?
When water freezes it expands, meaning that extra pressure is being placed on your pipes. It doesn't matter if your home's plumbing uses plastic or metal pipes—both can be damaged. If a frozen pipe cracks or breaks, that can lead to expensive repairs and flood damage. While all your pipes should be winterized, pipes that are at most risk for freezing are
- Those that run through crawl spaces
- Those that run through garages
- Those that run through basements
- Those that run outside—like the sprinkler system
How Do You Remove Water from the Sprinkler System?
A plumber can blow out your sprinkler system for you so that the water isn't lingering in the system while it's not in use.
You can also do this job yourself if you have an air compressor. To do it yourself, you'll need to shut off any valves that supply your outdoor hose bibs with water.
Once the water is shut off, you can open the outside bibs to let any water drain out. To force extra water out of the pipes, you'll need to attach your air compressor to your mainline on your sprinkler's backflow device with a coupler, hose bib, or another type of attachment. Most likely your air compressor isn't strong enough to clear all the pipes of water, so you will need to blow out the pipes by sprinkler zone.
It's okay if there's a little water remaining—it's just important to remove enough so that the water doesn't freeze and place pressure on the pipes.
How Do You Prepare Your Home?
There are many ways to prepare your home's plumbing for winter. Like the outside piping system, you will need to shut off the main water valve in your home—temporarily. If you have a basement, you'll need to drain the water into the sump pump basin and then outside.
Open the faucets in your bathrooms, kitchen, etc. and flush all the toilets. Then, close the faucets and use the air compressor—or hire a plumber—to blow out the home's pipes. Reopen the faucets to allow any remaining water to flow out. For added measure, some people like to run empty washing machines and dishwashers to clear out their drain lines.
Once the pipes are clear, you can turn the water back on to your home. If there are any pipes that are exposed, like in a crawl space, it's important to use weather stripping and insulation to keep them warm. If it's really cold and your insulation isn't adequate, you can keep one faucet open and dripping since it will help to keep water moving instead of freezing.
For more winterizing tips, contact a plumber in your area today.