When the Leaves Turn Brown, It’s Time for an Irrigation Blowout and Shutdown

Businesses and homeowners can save thousands of dollars in costly repairs by simply having their landscaping company perform an irrigation blowout.

And now with frost appearing on lawns and snowflakes falling in some regions, it’s the ideal time to do it.

Winterizing an in-ground irrigation system is something landscaping companies recommend as the final act before shutting down until spring. The job is inexpensive, quick and important because any water remaining in an irrigation system has the potential to freeze, expand, and damage the system, resulting in costly repairs.

Simply turning off the water isn’t enough.

In the spring, summer and early fall, small amounts of water remain in the pipes every time an irrigation system runs. But when temperatures drop in late fall and winter, water left inside the system can freeze, weaken pipe walls or cause widespread damage to system components like nozzles, heads and more.

The process of an irrigation blowout is fairly simple, but one that should be performed by a professional. It entails turning the water off at the mainline source and then using an air compressor and matching hoses to “blowout” any lingering drops of water from each irrigation zone.

While not all systems are built the same, traditionally a 185 CFM compressor is all that’s needed to winterize a standard residential in-ground irrigation system. Most systems require between 80 to 100 cubic feet of air per minute to remove excess water from the lines properly.

Before renting, there are some important questions to ask.

  • Is the application for residential, commercial or golf course use?
  • How many zones are there?
  • What type of pipe is used in the irrigation system (PVC, polyethylene, etc.)?

Now that you’ve answered those questions, here are some additional precautions to consider.

  • Use an air compressor with a CFM rating of 80-185 for any mainline two inches or less
  • Use a pressure regulating valve to avoid over-pressurization of the system
  • Use the correct amount of hose and proper hose whiplocks
  • Avoid exceeding 50 PSI for polyethylene piping systems and 80 PSI for PVC piping systems
  • Avoid running the compressor without at least one sprinkler control valve open

For more on air compressors, consult your Herc Rentals Solution Guide. For more on irrigation blowouts, click HERE or contact 888-777-2700 for rates and reservations.