Depending on where you live in drought-stricken Georgia, it may have been a while since you’ve been allowed to water your lawn. But don’t forget about your irrigation system or leave it unprotected this winter. A few precautions now can save a lot of time, money and even water later.
Freezing temperatures will hit most of Georgia this month. This can cause the water in an exposed pipe to expand. If the water expands too much, the pipe bursts.
“With home irrigation systems, you probably wouldn’t know you had any pipe damage until you turned it on for the first spring watering,” said Kerry Harrison, a UGA Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist.
Most in-ground sprinkler pipes will be okay because only the top 2 inches of the ground will freeze in most of Georgia and pipes should be well below this level.
If any exposed valves or pipes are around your home, tape them up, Harrison said.
The tips of sprinkler heads can hold water. When frozen, they can rupture. The whole sprinkler system holds water, too, even when it isn’t being used. Don’t forget to drain the system, Harrison said. If you bought a home with an installed irrigation system, find this drain valve.
Don’t forget about outside water hoses, Harrison said. If you leave the hoses hanging outside, disconnect them from faucets. If you store hoses, disconnect, drain and store them someplace with a constant temperature. If you leave hoses undrained outside in the winter, don’t move them or touch them in freezing weather. Frozen hoses are fragile, and you could break them.