Greeley usually receives its first freeze in October. It is recommended that you stop watering your lawn and winterize your sprinkler system mid-month. It is the optimal time to shut down all outdoor water connections. Below are a few tips to prevent frozen water pipes, which are expensive, inconvenient and wasteful.
Here are some additional fall landscaping tips.
- It is important to disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe. Otherwise, a single hard, overnight freeze can burst either the faucet or the pipe. Keep a hose handy to water trees during an extended warm and dry period in the winter.
- Fix or adjust your sprinkler system before you shut it off. Did you observe any problems this season? Did you receive an irrigation audit and discovered areas for improvement? Take note of any issues to address next spring right when you get ready to turn it on again. You could also sign up for a free irrigation audit now to get an early season audit in the spring.
- It is a good idea to have the system winterized in October. Winterizing a sprinkler system is the simple act of shutting off the water and using compressed air to force the water from the lines to ensure no freeze damage will occur over the winter. Even if you have a self-draining system, you should consider doing this as a precaution. It is impossible to tell if a self-draining system has functioned properly or not until spring when it is too late, and freeze damage may have occurred. Below are steps to winterize a sprinkler system.
- Shut off the water to the sprinkler system.
- Drain the backflow assembly and the line going back into the house. The shut-off valves and test ports on the backflow assembly should be turned at a 45-degree angle to ensure they do not freeze and burst during the winter.
- Connect an air compressor to the system after the backflow assembly; forcing compressed air through the backflow assembly can damage internal parts that will need to be replaced in the spring. Make sure the compressor is set no higher than 70 psi (pounds per square inch) and can deliver at least 100 cfm (cubic feet per minute). Using over 70 psi can damage valves lines and heads, while using anything less than 100 cfm will not have the volume to force all the water out and much of the water stays in the lines while the air travels above it, giving the impression that the lines are clear of water when they are not.
- If you are uncomfortable with the sprinkler system blow-out process, please hire a company to winterize your system for you. Many companies offer this service this time of year and if you choose to use one, consider asking these questions first:
- What do they charge?
- Do they have a warranty against freeze or any other damage that may occur during winterization?
- Do they have a compressor that can handle the job?
- Do they have references?
The City and County of Broomfield created a great video about this topic. Please watch the video below for more information.