Believe it or not It's that time of year again. No complaining, fall and winter in the north Houston area are amazing! Most of us love our winters here, and even though Houston is known for its hot and humid summers, we do get a few days of freezing weather most years. That means we need to prepare. Not to worry, you can do it!
As is the case with most research projects, on the internet you will find different ideas about the correct way to perform a given task. This is also true with winterizing your sprinkler system. The confusion results from different installation practices. Depending on where your home is located around the Houston area and when it was built, there are two main differences you will find. Underground, very near your water meter the water line splits, one line goes to your house and the other line goes to the sprinkler system. On newer installations (like our personal home in The Woodlands), there is also an isolation valve buried underground where this split takes place. In older homes, when the water splits off it goes straight to the backflow device without the isolation valve. Exactly how you should winterize your sprinkler system will depend on what you find at your home.
Isolation Valve or No Isolation Valve
The first thing you need to do is figure out if you have an isolation valve. How can you tell? You need to look in your yard near your water meter. If you have an isolation valve, it should be within two or three feet of your water meter. It normally makes sense that the isolation valve would be between the water meter and the house. The valves are installed underground which is why they're so nice to have because this makes them protected from freezing. Sometimes the valve covers can be covered in grass. Skip on down below to the first video where it explains how to find your valve if that is the case. You are looking for a plastic cover. Usually they are round and green. Open up the cover and inside you should see a plastic ball valve handle. If you can't find anything near the meter, there's a good chance you don't have one. If that is the case, then skip on down to the section about winterizing without an isolation valve. Now, suppose you found something near your water meter but you're just not sure if what you're looking at is an isolation valve. An easy way to test is to turn the handle 90° and then go over to your backflow preventer. When you attempt to do the next steps and you open up the bleeder valves, if the water just keeps flowing then what you turned off was probably not your isolation valve it was something else and you should probably go turn it back the way you found it and proceed with the winterizing process without an isolation valve.
Winterizing Your Sprinkler System WITH An Isolation Valve
Amazing! You have an isolation valve. Lucky you! This is arguably the best way to winterize your sprinkler system in the Houston, Texas area. The video below explains very well how to finish the process. Our friends at Planet Green TX do a great job in this video showing how it is done.
Winterizing Your Sprinkler System WITHOUT An Isolation Valve
Okay, you don't have an isolation valve. That's okay. you can still be a prepared homeowner. Follow the directions in the video below. Keep in mind that, in this case, you still have water in the pipe from the ground up to the first valve on the backflow preventer. This means it's especially important to make sure that those pipes above the ground are insulated!
Look at you, you did it! You have winterized your sprinkler system. Most homeowners in Texas find that it makes sense to winterize their sprinkler system in October/November when the temperatures drop and just leave the system turned off until temperatures rise again in the spring. If you get stuck in this process, give Eric Rader a call 832-732-0068 he is glad to walk you through the process. Or if you want you can always call an irrigation company like Planet Green to help you out.
Homeownership is about learning and asking questions. Rader Homes Team firmly believes in the benefits being a homeowner brings. Of course, it also brings added responsibility. If you ever have any questions about home maintenance or recommendations on who to hire, we are here to be your resource. Don’t be a stranger. Give us a call if you need anything.