If you’re considering installing a sprinkler system for your Boston home this spring, you should take into account the maintenance that will be required. Sprinkler maintenance isn’t hard, but if it’s not done correctly and consistently, you’ll be replacing major components of your sprinkler system each spring.
The main maintenance task associated with a sprinkler system is draining and drying out the system each fall prior to the start of the frost season. Sprinkler hoses aren’t buried very deep, so they’ll be frozen each winter. If the sprinkler system is drained and dried as required, this won’t cause any particular problems for you.

On the other hand, if the system is not drained or dried prior to the onset of frost, you’ll end up with cracked hoses, broken fittings and broken sprinkler heads. When your sprinkler system is installed, it should come with a drain valve or similar fitting that will allow you to connect a compressor to the system. The compressor will provide pressurized air that will blow out any remaining water in the system. Each sprinkler zone will also be outfitted with an anti-siphoning device. The compressor and the anti-siphoning devices will work together to ensure that all parts of the system are dried appropriately, and that no water remains in the system.

Sometimes, homeowners elect not to have drain valves installed at the time the system is installed. If this describes your system, you’ll need to make plans to drain your system almost immediately. You can install either manual or automatic drain valves. If your system uses a manual drain valve, you’ll shut the water supply to the sprinkler system off, then open the manual drain valves to empty out the standing water. You may need to leave the valves open for a few days to ensure that all of the standing water is removed. Don’t forget to drain the main lead that connects the sprinkler system to your house supply.

If your system uses automatic valves, the system will drain whenever there’s a loss of water pressure, such as when the main valve is shut down. The system drains when it is not being used and fills again when it is needed. Your system probably has automatic valves if the water doesn’t immediately flow out of the sprinkler system when you turn it on.

Don’t assume that an automatic valve setup will have you covered for the winter. Automatic valves can deteriorate or become stuck, leaving you with a pipe full of water and the potential for a damaged sprinkler system in the spring.

If you’re really fastidious about protecting your sprinkler system, you can remove the zone valves each fall and store them inside. This will guarantee that you won’t have any broken valves, but it’s time consuming.
If you need assistance with adding or replacing sprinkler valves or the main lead to your sprinkler system, Boston Standard Plumbing can help out. Boston Standard Plumbing was named the Best of Boston 2010 for our excellent service for all heating, cooling and plumbing needs. Call us at (617) 362-0377 today!

DIY Blog, DIY Plumbing, Hose Spigot

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