Winterization is part of smart irrigation maintenance, even in Texas. Taking steps now to prevent blown pipes and other winter issues means avoiding major repairs later. Fortunately, winterization is not overly difficult, and the time spent completing it will be more than worth it. Here are five tips on winterizing your Reinke system:
Drain all water:
If you leave water in your system, it is likely to freeze and cause your pipes to burst. The best way to avoid this is to drain the water supply line and, if possible, the underground pipes. Also drain the bottom elbow at the pivot center. As you do this, also check the low-pressure water drains. When you get to the last tower, clean the sand trap and dump any debris and extra water. Replace sand once it is clean.
Check drive trains:
You want to be able to move systems in the spring and not have them rusted frozen. Drain water condensation from the gearboxes and fill lubricant chambers to the correct levels. Check the tire pressure and top off the air if needed. Do not exceed the PSI recommended in your user’s manual.
Move and park your system:
You want to park the irrigation system parallel to prevailing winds to prevent damage. Otherwise, you risk having a bad day or night chasing your system down the field as it is blown away. Once you move it, close all wheel tracks, which will make it easier when spring begins. You also want to park the system on the smoothest surface possible and on existing wheel tracks. The tracks will anchor the system firmly and act as further prevention when winter weather threatens structural damage.
Keep away from livestock:
Many landowners graze livestock during the offseason. If you’re among them, you will want to protect the pivot center, electrical boxes and tower drive train components. You will want to cover these areas or build housing over them to keep them out of the way of any livestock. None of these measures have to be extensive—simple fences often work quite well to keep animals away from these critical components.
Your electric components will be vulnerable all winter unless you take steps to protect them. Power cords, electric plugs and receptacles need waterproof covers. Make sure you cover all of them. It is often a good idea to have a list or map to ensure you don’t miss any. Cords should be hung off the ground, and if you can unplug components, you should do so during this step.
Winterization can vary depending on your system and weather conditions. You may also want to take this time to review your system’s performance and see if you need to make any upgrades next year. Consider hiring a Reinke dealer to conduct a performance review if you are concerned about whether your current system is adequate.
B&M Pump Irrigation Sales & Service, Inc. provides help with irrigation maintenance throughout Texas. If you require assistance winterizing your irrigation system this year, call us today to schedule an appointment.
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