Make Sure Your Irrigation System Is Prepared For Freezing Temperatures. Contact The Irrigation Professionals At Your Local U.S. Lawns Today!
If you’re managing a commercial property located in a region where temperatures drop below freezing, one item that should be at the top of your priority list is to make sure your irrigation system is prepared to weather the winter. So if you haven’t already, you’ll want to contact the irrigation pros of your locally owned and operated U.S. Lawns right away!
U.S. Lawns Twin Falls Owner/Operator Scott deJong Shares His Irrigation Expertise
Now, to help you understand why proper winterization of your irrigation system matters, and why it’s wise to leave this critical job to your irrigation professionals, we had a short Q&A session with one of our very own irrigation experts, U.S. Lawns Twin Falls Idaho owner Scott deJong.
Scott’s first piece of advice is to make certain whoever you hire to winterize your irrigation system knows what they’re doing, because it can become very costly if they don’t. Some of the risks to your system include burst pipes as well as backflow malfunctions–and you should be aware that without a properly operating backflow, your irrigation system cannot run.
Backflow Valves Are A Key Component
In fact, municipalities across the nation strictly regulate irrigation system backflows to such an extent that they require annual inspections by a certified backflow tester, resulting in either a hard pass or fail. If the test results come back as a fail, the city will shut off your water until the backflow preventer is repaired or replaced.
So what is the purpose of the backflow preventer valve? It is designed to stop groundwater that could contain herbicides and other toxic contaminants from flowing back into the city water system.
deJong further shared that Twin Falls and other cities recently started requiring that all backflow preventers must be installed a minimum of one foot above the highest sprinkler head on the property as an additional safeguard to prevent contaminated water from its way into the water supply. And while this makes them far easier to access for maintenance, testing and repairs, it also takes away that additional layer of insulation that they used to have when they were buried under ground, making irrigation system shutdown timing absolutely crucial.
The Timing for Irrigation Winterization Is Crucial
Since irrigation winterization is a landscape management service that must be included in our annual landscaping plan, let’s talk a little bit more about the timing. Scott deJong and his team make sure all of their fall irrigation shutdown services are scheduled to take place throughout the month of October, with an end date goal of October 31st.
This way they’re able to ensure that their customers’ irrigation systems won’t be exposed to the repetition of going through a hard freeze (which he considers anything under 27 degrees Fahrenheit) at night, followed by a warmup during the day while the lines still hold water.
This is so important, because the constant cycle of water freezing and thawing within the pipes will cause them to contract and expand over and over again, and that’s what leads to major breaks.
It is also worth mentioning here that since October is the time of year when the days start getting shorter while the nights get longer, plants, trees and grass all begin their dormancy during this season, too. All of this to say, if you’ve been operating under the misconception that continued watering will keep your lawn green until wintertime arrives, it simply doesn’t work that way, because your grass is already preparing to go dormant.
There Is A Lot To Know About Properly Winterizing Irrigation Systems
So, while shutting down your irrigation system may seem pretty straightforward, there is plenty of specialized information to know about properly winterizing irrigation system.
For example, did you know that proper placement of your air compressor and using the right psi can mean the difference between just blowing water out of the lines as opposed to blowing rings and seals out of the valves? This in itself is a good reason to leave it to the professionals.
Steps To Irrigation System Shutdown
Scott gave us a rundown of the steps his team takes to ensure every customer’s irrigation system is properly blown out and shut down.
First, they close down the main and make sure there’s no water coming from the city water meter. This initial step is to ensure that when they clear the system there will be no water going back into it to cause damage when the temperature does drop.
Second, they attach the air compressor to the blowout port, which should always be placed after the backflow preventer valve in order to prevent any damage, and then they blow out all of the water from the lines in that zone.
The next step is to continue the process, blowing the water out of the lines in each remaining zone. If they happen to come across a zone that won’t turn on with the clock, they will manually flush the line, and make a note that a repair needs to take place the following spring.
Once they’ve flushed the water from all the lines in every watering zone, they will then go back through and blow out the lines in every zone a second time, just to be sure no water has trickled back into any of the lines.
When they’re finished, they turn the ball valve on the backflow preventer at a forty-five-degree angle, open up all the test ports on the backflow and open up the drain near the main, so that if there is any left-over water, it’ll go ahead and drain out safely.
The next step in the process is to turn the clock to the off position, which serves multiple purposes: It keeps the electrical system from kicking on and off unnecessarily all winter, saving electricity, minimizing the chance for electrical shorts to occur, and extending the lifespan of the solenoids the irrigation system requires to function.
Finally, U.S. Lawns Twin Falls irrigation specialists take photos, close the job and send a report to the customer documenting that their irrigation system has been properly shutdown and winterized. And if there are any irrigation system repairs or updates that need to be addressed, this information is also included in the report, so both client and crew members can be prepared for the repairs that will need to take place during the spring irrigation startup process.
Choose A Landscape Management Partner Committed To Good Stewardship
In closing, Scott shared that his customers always appreciate the idea of saving money on utility bills, so are always happy for them to perform irrigation shutdown and winterization services.
To deJong, this just lends additional credibility to his philosophy on conservation, as he sagely states: “It’s important to be good stewards of water conservation. If you don’t need the water, don’t use it.”
If you’re interested in learning more about your local U.S. Lawns’ irrigation shutdown and startup services, get in touch with us today. We’re ready to serve you!