Protecting Your Sprinkler System Before Winter
Leaves are turning and fall is in the air, which means it’s time to start thinking about getting your sprinkler system ready for winter. It is important to schedule your annual winterizing through James Valley Landscape Solutions, but if a freeze threatens before our crew arrives, you should take these steps to protect your system from damage caused by frozen water.
Step One. If you have a pump on your system, disconnect power supply by turning off a switch, breaker or unplug the pump. Then, go to your basement or utility room and find the sprinkler valve. Most systems use a ball valve as shown in the picture. The valve may have a green, white, blue, red or just a metal handle. Shut the valve off by turning it 1/4 turn so that it is perpendicular to the pipe. (the valve shown in the picture is in the “on” position with the handle in line with the pipe). Once the valve is off, check for water at a sink to make sure you have water. If not, you have shut off the main valve to your house water. You will need to turn that valve back on and locate the sprinkler valve.
Step Two. If a hose bib is close to the sprinkler valve you just shut off, place a bucket underneath it and open that valve. Not all systems will have this drain valve and that's okay. There should NOT be a constant flow of water from the hose bib. If there is, the sprinkler valve was not correctly closed. Please check sprinkler valve again to make sure the handle is in the correct position. A little bit of water should come out, so leave the bucket under the hose bib as more water may come out when you drain water outside in the step 4.
Step Three. Locate the Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB) on the outside of your house. It should look similar to the photo example. Sometimes PVBs can be hard to find if they are located under a deck or if plants are concealing it.
Step Four. There should be another hose bib at the bottom of the PVB as shown. Open that valve and let the water drain out. Leave this valve open.
Step Five. Drape an old heavy coat or heavy blanket over the PVB, or wrap it with insulation material. After insulating the PVB, run your sprinkler system by turning your controller on and running a manual cycle. This will remove any water in the pipe from PVB to ground level (this step is important only if there are no hose bibs to open and drain water out). If you can't run a manual cycle don't worry about it. If you completed all the previous steps you have protected your PVB until the James Valley irrigation professionals can get there to winterize your system.