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Prepare Your Home for Winter

Living in Texas you never know for certain when the cold front will roll in and it officially becomes winter. We are now in late December searching every store and scrambling to find supplies to protect our pipes and outdoor faucets. At this very moment, most professional plumbers or landscapers schedules are booked up and the stores have little or no equipment left. So we have provided DIY steps below on how the winterize your sprinkler system with a short video and insulating your outdoor faucents.

How to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

1. Shut off the water

The main valve is generally located near your water meter. If your system has valves to prevent backflow, shut these off too.

2. Turn off the timer

Most modern sprinkler systems have a “rain mode”, turning this setting on basically allows you to put the system to sleep with out losing your settings. Turning it completely off is also an option.

3. Drain the water

It is not enough to keep water from flowing into the system; any present water needs to be drained out as well. Although it may seem time consuming, this is a very important step in the process. Depending on the type of water sprinkler you have there are three different methods of draining.

Manual draining: These systems have shut-off valves at low points or on ends of piping. Take precaution by wearing goggles to protect your eyes because the water supply will be under pressure. Slowly open one valve at a time, let it drain, then close before moving on to the next one.

Automatic Draining: When the main valve is shut off the water automatically drains. However, some water can still be trapped in the valves. You will want to locate the solenoid on each valve and loosen, it’s a plastic cap with wires coming out the top. Air will then be able to flow in and water to flow out.

Blow-Out Draining: Some systems allow you to hook up an air compressor and force the water out. This is a specialized sprinkler system and if yours is not built to accommodate the air compressor it can be dangerous. This is the least recommended method to try on your own. Machines have varying pressure per square inch (PSI) your system may not withstand the compressor, and there is still a chance water is left behind.

4. Insutate components above-ground

They make insulation specifically to wrap around pipes. However, you can also use old blankets or towels, just make sure to cover them in plastic to repells water or snow keeping the material dry.

3 Easy Steps for Insulating Your Outdoor Faucets

  1. Unscrew any hoses or connections from the faucet.
  2. Take the towels and wrap the faucet several times, making sure it is secure. You may need rope or tape to hold it in place. The material will act as an insulator.
  3. Cover the material with one or two plastic bags, ones from the grocery store work great. Use the handles to tighten and keep them from flying away. The plastic becomes a barrier and repels water or moisture from the rain and snow.

We understand this may sound and feel overwhelming. If you recently purchased a new home call the home builder, they usually have a maintenance person on staff that can walk you through the process and maybe even come by and show you. Another alternative if to call a professional, usually a plumber or some one in the landscape business could handle winterizing a sprinkler system. Check out Approved Vendor list for recommended professionals.

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