Winterizing Irrigation Systems

As autumn rolls on in the direction of the holidays, it’s nearly time to tug out the ones parkas, boots, scarves, gloves and ear muffs from the attic or closet. I do not forget, from developing up in Chicago, that there was constantly a day in overdue fall when you knew wintry weather turned into right across the nook. You ought to unexpectedly see your breath as you walked alongside and by hook or by crook, it changed into colder, crisper and damper than the day earlier than. A heat jacket become truely welcome. Irrigation Repair

Autumn is likewise the time whilst contractors inside the much less temperate regions get busy, winterizing their customers’ irrigation structures. It’s crucial to assist your customers understand the need to have their irrigation structures winterized, and equally vital to see that this work is performed with out errors. Getting all the water out of a sprinkler machine and certifying it for wintry weather hibernation is a method that ought to be carried out proper . . . Or you’ll regret it.

Even a small amount of H 2 O final within the machine can motive issues. A large amount is sort of guaranteed to create damage, and may require changing valves, pipes, and heads. Ouch! You can guess your customers gained’t be glad with that outcome. And who will they maintain responsible? That’s proper— you.

John Eggleston, proprietor of Service- First Irrigation in Lansing, Michigan, says, “There will be heaps and lots of dollars in damage if matters aren’t winterized nicely here.”

The true information is that winterizing is a carrier you could promote all over your territory and to every ultimate purchaser. Some may additionally want it extra than others, however maximum locations within the higher 1/2 of america need this service on a yearly basis, and the opposite within the spring. If climate trade finally results in more intense winters, who knows—it is able to be that contractors in New Orleans, Miami and San Diego will be offering a winterizing program and snow removal, too.

“An extra benefit to the consumer is that there’s honestly a certified irrigation guy going to test their system,” said John Eigner, proprietor of Northern Rain Irrigation in Greendell, New Jersey. “It’s proper for the house owner because we can pass in and make any wished upkeep in order that it’s prepared to head next spring. If it’s one head, we’ll replace it right away. If it’s larger upkeep, we’ll do it in the spring, and agenda more time for it to be finished nicely.”

Here is a short guide for winterizing your clients’ irrigation structures, with tips that observe similarly for single-own family houses all the manner as much as huge company campuses.

The Frosty Five Our manual has five important areas, all of which can help you save you frost damage. The five regions are: Check, Disconnect, Drain, Blow, and Educate. Let’s observe them one after the other and see how they can help you work more productively with your customers because the days grow short.

First of all, why bother winterizing irrigation structures? Why now not simply turn them off and wait till spring earlier than you switch the water again on? It all comes down to one small scientific truth. Water expands whilst it freezes, not like maximum other things. And, like water carrying away a mountain drop with the aid of drop, or digging out the Grand Canyon, increasing water is strong, even in very small quantities.

Because of this uncommon assets, water left internal a sealed box can do critical damage in a freeze. A “sealed box” can encompass pipes, fittings, sprinkler heads, backflow devices, and most elements of an irrigation machine. As the water inexorably expands, it could shatter pipes, specially PVC, and harm other components. There’s no good cause to let this harm arise, due to the fact it’s far absolutely avoidable.

While your group might also need some unique schooling, specially with compressed air, none of this work is rocket technology. Winterizing a consumer’s device must take a bit longer than a everyday upkeep name, however doesn’t require as a great deal manpower.

CHECK the existing device for damage, leaks and badly functioning system like damaged or skewed sprinkler heads. Make a list for the proprietor. Let them know the popularity of their gadget. If upkeep are wanted, this is the time to give an explanation for it to them and attempt to promote them, before the snow falls.

“For instance, when you have damaged pipes and also you don’t repair them, then downstream you’ll have water trapped in them, so you want to repair them to make sure that the relaxation of the piping is cleared of water,” stated Eggleston. “If you’ve got sprinkler heads that aren’t rotating or nozzles that are missing, most homeowners or website proprietors will want to wait till spring and do all that paintings immediately. These are what I could name important versus noncritical maintenance. The essential belongings you need to get executed now, the noncritical stuff can wait until spring, at some point of the flip-on system.”

Winterizing is also an excellent time to check the controllers and ensure they are efficaciously programmed. You need to recognize if the controllers can be close down absolutely for the winter months, and if this may affect their programming.

If the controller will lose its settings when it’s powered down, you can need to make a notice of the time table to your consumer’s file, so you can reinstate the program all through the spring turn-on. Or write them on an index card you could tape to the interior of the nearest gadget field or breaker panel. Make certain that the controller is completely off, and not simply in “rain” mode.

DISCONNECT your water supply at the source and cap it. If there is a close-off valve on the feed cease of the gadget, ensure it is absolutely closed. Even a little water can purpose damage.

On large houses, you may need to consult with a facilities or groundsperson to get irrigation water became off, but it’s well worth the greater short while to ensure. Make a notice of the physical water source and who controls it to your consumer’s record; this may help velocity this method alongside and make it less complicated to get the juice flowing once more in the spring.

DRAIN the entire device absolutely, in order that no water stays in it. Make certain you drain from the lowest point or points. Systems that run up hill and down dale may be very hard, but due to the fact that water continually movements downhill, you know in which to search for your drain factors. Don’t fear approximately getting each closing drop, because we’re going to cope with that within the next step.

BLOW the whole system out with compressed air to get rid of any final water and reduce moisture as well. It’s a great idea to allow the air circulation pass on for numerous mins until you realize for positive that each one the water has been blown out—and this will make an effort if the device is a large one. A tank of compressed air will paintings for a smaller or domestic gadget, however a construction-grade compressor may be wished for larger and commercial systems.

Keeping pressures much less than 50 psi is a superb concept, since you don’t need to harm any pipes, joints or valves. Too a whole lot air pressure can blow the sprinklers proper out of the gadget and harm drip components. Make certain that each one valves in the system are open earlier than applying compressed air.

EDUCATE your customers about the importance of winterizing their irrigation structures. Explain approximately how water expands and the troubles with harm from winterizing without draining the system. Commercial clients will understand, however to owners it can look like an unnecessary rate; many assume that just shutting the water off over the wintry weather is enough.

You might want to bundle the fall provider into a yr-long agreement, or you may work out first rate-saver-specials and discounts to get humans in the dependancy of winterizing, and make the method that plenty simpler next yr.

Because winterizing is an uncommon task and only takes vicinity as soon as a year, it’s a little extra difficult to exercise session just what you ought to be charging. Eggelston says, “You certainly have to examine every individual website and estimate how lengthy it’s going to take. And then you definitely use your provider price and upload a charge for having the compressor there.”

“Obviously, it’s going to value something for having the compressor, so you should fee for it,” said Eggelston. “If anyone is charging $75 an hour to do a carrier call, then winterization’s going to price a hundred, because you need an hour to do the paintings and a $25 charge for the compressor. Winterization is typically going to be more than a regular service call.”

Other offerings can also be wished, which includes mulching beds and planters, aerating turf and feeding assorted plant life and trees for the dormant wintry weather phase. If scheduled well, all this may be executed with one winterization call.

In many elements of this united states, landscape experts paintings in climates in which wintry weather in no way arrives or freezes are restricted. These include cities which include Las Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, California, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Joy Diaz, government vp, CMO and co-proprietor of Land Care Inc., based totally in North Las Vegas, has a slightly unique angle. “If we get a freeze, we’re wrapping the palm trees, wrapping the backflows in burlap,” she stated. “But we received’t ever absolutely flip off the water like they do lower back east. Our freezes are very restricted, and you never realize from 12 months to year.”

“It additionally relies upon at the sort of agreement we’ve got with our clients,” she delivered. “Some of our customers are renters, so we need to verify that they nonetheless stay there, and will the renter want us to come back over and alternate the clocks for the winter.

It’s extra a rely of maintaining a pointy eye out for something that’s cracked or leaking. We do our great to keep absolutely everyone informed and knowledgeable however, as a ways as a specific pattern of announcing that beginning November 1st we pass and close down every body’s irrigation device—no, we don’t try this here.”

There’s no doubt that winterizing an irrigation gadget in the course of the fall of each yr is a precaution that have to be carried out to defend the gadget from damage.

However, each patron may not see it that manner; that’s why education is so essential. No one expects their vehicle to run all the time without normal servicing, however every body thinks that their lawn sprinkler machine will paintings for one hundred years with out a hitch—no maintenance wanted.

In getting your clients to recognize the significance of proper winterization, you just would possibly fall into a whole new global of autumn enterprise.

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