Do-It-Yourself: Winterizing Sprinklers - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Do-It-Yourself: Winterizing Sprinklers

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One of the first things we want to talk about is the outdoor faucet. We've all got them around our house, and some of us sometimes forget to take the garden hose off. The thing we want you to do with this is get all the hoses off, and drain the hoses. But also check if there's any leaking happening inside the faucet. Because if it is leaking, that's going to cause you some frozen pipe problems this winter.

So go around the house, first of all, and get all the garden hoses off. And when you get the hose off, be sure you roll all the water out of the hose. If you're going to leave it in the garage, the water it can freeze and actually break your hose. If it breaks, it's not a big deal, but you don't want the water to drain out, do you? So just roll the hose up and slowly run all the water out of it.

The next thing you want to do is make sure the faucet is not leaking. These frost-free faucets are kind of interesting -- they're, inside that wall. The water shut-off is actually 12 inches inside of your house, so the water is shutting off where it's nice and warm. That prevents any of the water from getting out here, where it can freeze and break the pipes. What you want to make sure of is that this is not dripping, or it can fill with water, freeze and break. Very easy to fix this thing -- turn the water off on the inside with one little flat washer on the bottom, just like any faucet in your house. The handle goes out... That's what's inside the house. You've just got to tighten that up, and now we've got an insulating cover on that frost-free faucet.

The next thing we're going to talk about is our sprinkler systems, and how to take care of those for winter. A lot of us in Bismarck have sprinkler systems like this. If you remember last spring, we rebuilt this manifold because I didn't drain mine correctly. We're going to make sure I do that right this year. Most of these sprinkler systems have valves on them, to drain the water. These plastic pipes, anytime water is left in them, it is going to expand and break this pipe. At the hardware store every spring, we sell a lot of these manifold pipe fittings for those people that didn't get them drained correctly. There are all these valves you can open and drain the water off. I have a valve on both ends of mine to get the water that's in here. And then these are electric valves, where you can manually open and get the water out. We've got all the water draining out of the manifold. That's what caused me my problem last winter. The things we're concerned about are these plastic pieces, these valves, and this big backflow preventer on the house. We want to be sure none of these have water in the drain. Now before you drain, most of us have a valve inside the house that will shut off the water. And then I'm lucky enough -- I have a drain hose inside the house. It's entirely backflow, and will drain the water out of the sprinkler system.

Most often, people around town will have someone come with a compressor, and blow with the compressor all the water out of the system, so the pipes don't break and the heads don't break. There are very good companies in town to do that for you. They do it reasonably, and promise to take care of your system. Or you can do that at home yourself with just a couple of brass fittings from the hardware store. On the hose bibs at the end, there's something very specific. A garden hose faucet is different than just about any other kind. So the first thing you do is get the garden hose adapter. Then you get a fitting that fits your own air compressor. Piece them together, and you can put that on that faucet and hook up your compressor. And you can blow out your system yourself. Like I said, there are good companies that do that very reasonably. Or you can go to the hardware store and find those fittings to do it yourself. Very important that you get around the house and deal with any of these spots that have water that could let for the winter freeze. And it's something you could very simply do yourself.

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