Winter is coming, and if you are a home owner and you have a sprinkler system in your yard, you need to prepare it for the cold winter weather. Otherwise, you may end up with frozen pipes, cracked fittings, and costly repairs. In this blog post, I will explain how to blow out your sprinklers for winter, and why this is important for homeowners in central Oregon.
What is blowing out sprinklers?
Blowing out sprinklers is a process of removing all the water from the irrigation system using compressed air. This prevents the water from freezing and expanding inside the pipes, which can cause them to burst or leak. Blowing out sprinklers is also known as winterizing or draining the sprinkler system.
Why is blowing out sprinklers important for Central Oregon Home Owners?
Central Oregon has a continental climate, which means it has cold winters with frequent frosts and snowfalls. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, winter temperatures in Oregon will be brisk and cool, with above-normal precipitation1. A winter weather advisory is in effect from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Saturday for Central Oregon, which could see anywhere from 2-5 inches of snow and slippery road conditions2. Therefore, it is vital to blow out your sprinklers before the first freeze of the season, which usually occurs in late November or early December.
How to blow out sprinklers for winter?
To blow out your sprinklers for winter, you will need an air compressor that can produce air at a volume of at least 30 to 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) and at pressures of 40 to 50 pounds per square inch (PSI)3. You will also need an air compressor water blow out adapter, which connects the air hose to the sprinkler system. If you do not have a powerful enough air compressor, you can rent one. Here are the steps to follow:
Shut off the main water valve to the sprinkler system. This valve is usually located near the backflow preventer, which is a device that prevents contaminated water from flowing back into the main water supply.
Open the hose bib (small faucet) located after the main valve, and drain the water from the main sprinkler line into a bucket. This will relieve the pressure in the system and prevent water from spraying out when you connect the air compressor.
Connect the air compressor hose to the blow out port, using the adapter. The blow out port is usually located near the backflow preventer or in a valve box. If your system does not have a blow out port, you can use one of the sprinkler valves instead.
Close the backflow valves to direct the flow of air in the opposite direction. The backflow valves are usually located on either side of the backflow preventer.
Turn on the compressor and begin to add air to the sprinkler system. Slowly open the compressor valve, gradually increasing the air pressure as needed. Do not exceed 80 PSI, as this can damage the sprinkler components.
Start with the farthest or highest sprinkler zone, and open it manually or with a timer. You should see water and air coming out of the sprinkler heads. Let the air run until only air comes out, then close that zone and move on to the next one. Repeat this process for each zone until all of them are blown out.
Turn off the compressor and disconnect the hose from the blow out port. Open all the drain valves in each zone and leave them open for a few days to make sure all the water has escaped. Then close them again to prevent insects or debris from entering the system.
Turn off or set your timer to rain mode, so that it does not activate the sprinkler system during winter. You can also remove the batteries from your timer if it has any.
Congratulations! You have successfully blown out your sprinklers for winter. Now you can rest assured that your irrigation system will be ready for spring without any problems. Remember to do this every year before winter arrives, and enjoy your beautiful lawn and garden all year round.
If you are not comfortable with blowing out your sprinklers yourself, or you don’t have the necessary equipment, you can always call a local professional to do the job for you. There are many professional and reliable landscapers in Central Oregon who offer sprinkler winterization services at reasonable prices.