“Early Freeze Can Burn Homeowners Who Don’t Winterize Sprinkler Systems” was the clever headline on a news release issued today by Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. “With recent daytime highs in the mid-80s, turning off your sprinkler system may not be high on the priority list, but don’t let warm temperatures lull you into blowing off blowing out your system.”
ALCC pointed out that a couple of Octobers ago, Denver temperatures plunged to 16 degrees Fahrenheit, freezing pipes and causing costly damage to countless sprinkler systems along the Front Range. Many homeowners did not realize their systems were damaged until they began watering their yards the following spring.
The costs of winterizing a sprinkler system–usually under $100–pale in comparison to the price of repairs–often several hundred dollars to $1,000 or more.
To prevent Jack Frost from jacking up your sprinkler system, you must act early. ALCC offers this advice to winterize sprinkler systems:
“• While sprinkler systems are still on, wrap your BFP in three to four inches of building-type insulation, cover it with plastic and wrap it with duct tape. The extra insulation will help protect against the 22 to 32 degree nights and the plastic keeps out moisture that can freeze.
“• Arrange to have your system winterized by having the lines blown out with an air compressor operated by a qualified landscape professional.”
Or if you want to DIY, use a shop compressor. But ACCL underscores advantages to hiring a qualified landscape professional: “Shop compressors a homeowner would use typically only produce about 15 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of volume versus industrial compressors used by the pros that produce 150 cfm. The difference is, a pro can completely blow out a system in about 15 minutes versus it taking two to three hours using a smaller compressor and larger compressors do a more thorough job of blowing out water.”
Additionally, most landscape professionals warranty their work and may do repairs for free.
You might want to make sure your company employs Landscape Industry Certified Technicians to winterize your sprinkler system. These technicians have completed ALCC’s certification program that requires 10 hours of testing and at least 2,000 hours of experience. *
••• “Cultivate your corner of the world. You grow your garden; your garden grows you.” •••
Colleen Smith gardens in and writes from a historic neighborhood in central Denver.
Her first novel, “Glass Halo,” was a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize.
Her second book, “Laid-Back Skier,” was just released in September 2011 and is available through
FridayJonesPublishing.com or Amazon.com.
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