Harvest season is well underway, which means winter is right around the corner. If you run a farm, adjusting your irrigation for winter is key. Even though snow is unusual in Texas, and ice usually melts by mid-morning, it’s always a good idea to winterize your irrigation system. If you don’t, any water that’s still in the system can freeze. When water freezes, it expands, which can break your pipes.
Smart farm irrigation systems are a good choice in Texas—they take a good deal of the work out of winterization. If you don’t have a smart farm irrigation system, here’s how to winterize your irrigation:
- Freeze-proof the main shutoff valve: First, shut off the water supply to the main valve. Your main valve should either be buried underneath the frost line, in a warm room or wrapped in insulation. If, for some reason, you don’t already have a main shutoff valve, you should install one as soon as possible.
- Shut off the controller: If you have an automatic or smart irrigation system in Texas, you’ll also need to temporarily shut off the controller. Some smart systems have “rain mode”—essentially this means there’s no need to water the crops because the sky is doing it for you—which you can use to temporarily shut off the signals to the sprinkler valves. Alternatively, you can shut off the power to the controller, but keep in mind that the system will probably need to be reprogrammed when you turn the power back on.
- Drain your sprinklers: Next, it’s time to drain the water from any above-ground sprinkler heads and pipes. You might already have a drain valve on your supply pipe, which should help you remove water from the sprinkler heads. If you don’t have one, consider installing one as soon as possible—well before the first deep freeze hits Texas. Once you’ve located your drain valve, use that to get rid of excess water lurking in the pipes.
- Insulate the pipes and valves: Finally, any above-ground piping needs to be insulated. Again, the goal is to make sure water doesn’t freeze in your pipes and cause them to crack or break. Many home improvement and irrigation supply companies sell stick-on foam insulation or specially-crafted foam tubes that wrap around pipes. Be sure to insulate any above-ground valves as well.
- Restore power and water: After you’re done winterizing your irrigation system, make sure to turn the power and water back on.
Taking care of your irrigation system before the cold weather sets in guarantees that you’ll have an easier spring and summer. Don’t risk having to replace your expensive sprinkler system and piping—winterize your irrigation as soon as possible.
If you have questions about smart farm irrigation systems and winterization in Texas, we’re always happy to help. B&M Pump Irrigation Sales & Service, Inc. is dedicated to helping Texas farmers get the best supplies for their crops and land. Call us today to learn more or arrange a consultation to discuss your needs.
Categorised in: Irrigation