December 21, 2021

3 Steps That Will Help You Winterize Your Sprinkler System in Dallas

Everyone knows that water expands when it freezes. That can be a big problem if that water is inside the pipes of your sprinkler system. What you choose to do before winter brings freezing temperatures can either mean irrigation success or expensive failure.

In this post, we’ll take a look at whether or not you even need to bother winterizing your irrigation system in North Texas, when to do it, and the best way to do it if that’s what you decide.

Do You Need to Winterize Sprinkler Systems In Texas?

“Normally,” we don’t experience freezing temperatures very much in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. (We have to say “normally” because last winter was definitely an exception; our area recorded -2 degrees Fahrenheit in February 2021! You’d have to go back to 1949 to find the last time that happened here.)

According to Freeze Data and Cold Season Temperatures for DFW, we have experienced 20-25 days at or below freezing over the past few years. Many of those days are not back-to-back, and the daytime temperatures quickly warm things up again.

That’s why many people in North Texas choose not to winterize their irrigation system at all. They simply turn the controllers off during colder months since the ground generally does not freeze to the depth of the pipes.

That being said, if people in North Texas experience several days in a row below freezing this year it is possible that the water in your irrigation system could freeze and damage pipes and valves underground. So it’s important to know when and how to winterize your sprinkler system in order to avoid expensive repairs in the Spring.

When to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

Dallas Morning News reported at the end of November that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Climate Prediction Center “anticipates 40-50% probability of above-normal temperatures for North Texas this winter.”

Everyone who has irrigation components above ground or at ground level should take steps to insulate them whenever the air temperature drops to freezing. Even if you choose to keep running your irrigation, securing any exposed parts of your system is a good idea.

To decide if and when to fully winterize your sprinkler system, keep an eye on the extended forecasts for your area. Even though the La Niña system from the Pacific ocean is moving warm air through our area this season, we could still experience enough days below freezing to justify winterizing. One or two days here and there shouldn’t be a problem, but multiple days in a row can cause the ground to freeze enough to damage irrigation lines.

How to Winterize Your Sprinkler System

When it comes to deciding what to do with your irrigation system during North Texas winters, you have several options:

  • Cover Exposed Equipment

    At a minimum, we recommend that homeowners and businesses wrap all above-ground pipes, valves, and backflow preventers with foam or fiberglass insulation to protect them from any freezing nighttime temperatures. Special insulated bags are also available that can simply be slipped overexposed irrigation components.

  • Keep Watering, But Reduce Your Water Rate

    Your landscape will still need water. In the winter, water doesn’t evaporate nearly as quickly as it does during the hot, dry summer months. Since water stays in the soil longer, there’s no need to run your sprinkler system at the same rate you do in the summer. Most irrigation control panels have an option that allows you to set seasonal water rates. You can keep your system on the same schedule, but just run it for less time each time it comes on.

  • Shut Your System Down and Drain It

    If you decide that your best option is to shut your irrigation system down completely for the winter, you’ll need to take the following steps:

    • Shut off the water source for your irrigation system.
    • Turn off the system timer.
    • Drain the system. Often there is a simple ball valve at the low point of your system that will allow gravity to drain the water from your pipes. Open that valve, then manually run your irrigation program to open and close the valves for each sprinkler zone.
    • Bonus measure: Use An Air Compressor. This is rarely necessary in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but people in the farthest parts of North Texas may want to completely remove all water from their systems. Using an air compressor to force air through the pipes and out of the sprinkler heads ensures that your system is completely winterized. An irrigation company can help you do this correctly.

Trust Your Irrigation System to the Pros

A surefire way of making sure that your irrigation system stays in top-notch condition, no matter what the seasons bring, is to partner with a good irrigation company. LH Services has an excellent team of professionals who are experts in irrigation services. They’re ready to help you keep your system running right so your plants keep looking good.

Take a look at the irrigation services we offer, then schedule a free estimate today!

Schedule a Free Estimate!

All Posts