On a rainy Fall morning in our small town of Gig Harbor, I met up with my favorite “sprinkler guy” for some educational conversations on the topic of backflow preventers, valves, compressors and water supplies. Maybe it was the rain pouring down on my freezing body, or the pile of mud covering the equipment, or the big technical words he used….who knows…but my overall conclusion of the entire “Winterizing” project was this: Hire the Experts!
I am not an expert in blowing out underground sprinkler systems, nor will I ever be. But I am smart enough to know when to pick up the phone and call someone who is…and I hope you do too!
Many people wonder if the work is all that necessary here in our “warm” climate. After all, we rarely face a deep freeze that will truly cause extensive damage. However if Storm Sandy has taught us anything, it should be that we all need to prepare for the worst case scenario. Our climate is changing, and we could easily face an unexpected freeze in our area that settles in colder and longer than ever before.
There are several terms used in regards to winterizing. It may also be called “shut down” or “blown out” but either way the point is the same. A system is comprised of many pieces – a controller, valves, underground pipes, heads and a backflow preventer (which prevents the water from traveling back into the water source and possibly contaminating it).
Even if you have turned off the system at the controller, the water is still sitting in the pipes. During mild winters it would likely be fine but if the ground freezes, so will the water…and when it expands the pipes will burst.
A compressor can blow out all the water from your system and should eliminate any risk of burst pipes and the need to replace parts. Depending on whether or not your backflow preventer is above ground, some experts say to remove it. But this can be very complicated and time consuming. If the backflow preventer is located underground your expert can advise you on whether or not it should be turned off at the water source and fully emptied, or only turned off at the sprinkler valve and left full. Two differing opinions, both of which can be explained by your chosen provider.
Of course anyone can go online, find instructions and attempt a DIY project. But be prepared to spend a lot of time in your learning curve, a significant amount of money renting proper equipment, and lots of time getting the mud off your hands.
Winterizing your sprinkler system is a very cost-effective way of protecting your home investment throughout the winter, and hiring an expert will give you the added assurance that it has been done correctly.
Gig Harbor Home Management is here to support your efforts, and we are available to assist you in finding a local expert who is licensed and insured and comes with fantastic references.
Don’t delay….winter could hit at any time. Gig Harbor Home Management exists to give you PEACE OF MIND.
Contact us today at www.GigHarborHomeManagement.com to ensure that your home is ready for winter.