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It’s hard to believe, given the considerable heatwave the Mid-Atlantic has endured over the last few weeks, but winter is merely months away.

If your commercial or residential property is equipped with an automatic irrigation system, the time to prepare for any potential deep freeze isn’t with the first sign of snow or ice – it’s now.

Irrigation system winterization in advance of cold weather is imperative to maintain optimal functionality and to ensure your property enjoys vibrant, well-maintained lawns next spring.

In Maryland, when temps drop drastically, the ground can freeze. If that cold snap extends beyond the depth of your irrigation system, any water remaining in the pipes can freeze, expand and crack, causing extensive damage to piping. Frozen water can also cause irreparable damage to fittings, valves, and sprinkler heads, as well as your system’s brass backflow assembly, which serves the critical role of preventing contaminants from seeping into your home or building’s tap water supply.

Proper care can help you avoid costly repairs or – worse – replacement.

Irrigation system winterization can be a time-consuming proposition, however, and is not without its challenges. Hiring a professional to evaluate your system and make the necessary adjustments is strongly advised.

A qualified irrigation specialist will likely perform the following steps to winterize your system.

  • Shut off the main valve. This cuts off the water supply to all pipes. A specialist will also make sure that the valve, itself, is protected against the elements.  
  • Shut off system controller or timer. Most automatic systems have a “rain” setting, which will preserve your programmed settings come springtime.
  • Drain pipes. Many irrigation professionals use the “blow out” method to remove water from pipes, which involves connecting a compressor to the system and using pressurized air to blast any lingering water from the lines. This method is widely regarded as the most effective, and a professional can generally have the job completed in less than an hour. Clearing lines with pressurized air can be hazardous, however, and requires extreme caution.

In addition to having the properly calibrated machinery for the job, hiring a licensed professional for your irrigation system winterization needs is, by far, the best – and most time-efficient – option. Chesapeake Irrigation & Lighting has designed, installed and maintained thousands of residential and commercial irrigation systems throughout Maryland & DC, and our knowledgeable team aims to please. Call us today at 410-987-2969 to schedule your winterization appointment.