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DIY Guide to Winterizing Sprinklers, Hoses & Outdoor Faucets

Are you ready for the cold weather? As winter approaches, it's important to protect your irrigation system, hoses, and outdoor faucets from freezing temperatures. Neglecting them can lead to costly repairs and damages once spring arrives. In this DIY guide, we will walk you through the steps to blow out sprinklers, prepare hoses and sprinklers for winter, and insulate outdoor faucets. Following these steps, you can safeguard your outdoor water fixtures and save money on potential repairs.

Blowing Out Sprinklers

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

To blow out your sprinklers, you will need an air compressor with an appropriate cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating, a pressure regulator, and a hose that can connect to the compressor's air outlet.

Step 2: Turn Off the Water Supply

Before you begin blowing out your sprinklers, ensure that you turn off the water supply from the main shut-off valve. This valve is usually located in the basement or crawl space. Turning off the water supply prevents water from flowing back into the pipes while you work.

Step 3: Turn Off the Timer

If your system has an automatic timer, turn it off. Or, in some systems, activate the “rain mode,” which powers down the timer while keeping the programmed settings.

Step 4: Attach the Air Compressor

Attach the hose from the air compressor to the system's blow-out port, typically found near the backflow preventer. Adjust the pressure regulator on the compressor to a safe level, usually between 50-80 psi, to prevent damage to the system.

Step 5: Begin Blowing Out the System

Start blowing out the system zone by zone, opening one valve at a time while closing the others. Allow the compressed air to run through each zone until all the water is blown out of the pipes and sprinkler heads. Repeat this process for each zone in your system.

Step 6: Insulate the Exposed Components

Once you have blown out the system, insulate the faucets with insulation tape, foam covers, or other. See the section below on insulating outdoor faucets.

Preparing Hoses & Sprinklers for Winter

Step 1: Detach and Drain Hoses

Disconnect all hoses from outdoor faucets and drain them thoroughly. Coil the hoses without kinks or tight bends and store them in a dry and sheltered location, such as a garage or shed. This prevents water from freezing inside the hoses, causing them to crack or become brittle.

Step 2: Inspect and Clean Sprinklers

Inspect your sprinklers for any damages or debris. Clean them to ensure they function when spring arrives. Clogged or damaged sprinklers can lead to uneven watering or water wastage during the growing season.

Insulating Outdoor Faucets

Step 1: Locate and Turn off the Water Supply

Like winterizing sprinklers, find the main shut-off valve for your outdoor faucets and turn off the water supply.

Step 2: Remove Hoses and Drain Faucets

Remove any hoses attached to the outdoor faucets and drain the remaining water. A dripping faucet in freezing temperatures can lead to ice buildup and cause pipes to burst.

Step 3: Install Faucet Covers or Insulation

Purchase foam faucet covers from your local hardware store or create DIY insulation using old towels, rags, or pool noodles. Wrap the outdoor faucets with the covers or insulation and secure them with tape or zip ties. This layer of insulation provides an extra barrier against freezing temperatures.

Taking the time and effort to winterize your irrigation system and outdoor faucets is a small investment that pays off significantly in the long run. Happy winterizing!

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