How Do I Winterize My Irrigation System?

December 18, 2020

In colder climates in the United States, the shift in weather signifies to farm owners a time to prep for the oncoming winter. On the sprawling plains of Texas, that transition is much more subtle. In fact, some growers operate under the assumption that mild Texas winters make winterization unnecessary. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Though winter may not come with the same gusto as, say, hurricane season, the colder months of the year can still have an impact on your irrigation system. Even a seemingly mild overnight frost can freeze pipes and hinder proper function. What’s more, leaving your irrigation system on during the winter months can serve as a significant drain on your finances.

It’s time to practice smart irrigation in Texas. That means winterizing your irrigation system. Here’s how to go about it.

Center pivot winterization checklist

If you’ve spent the summer watering your crops with a center pivot system, here’s how to shut things down for the winter:

  • Check the entire sprinkler system: Make sure to inspect everything for leaks, malfunctions in individual sprinklers, damaged pipes, etc.
  • Drain the system: One of the critical reasons to winterize your irrigation system is to avoid water being left in pipes and fixtures when the weather turns cold.
  • Get the necessary parts serviced: Once you’ve drained the system, you should hire a professional experienced with farm irrigation systems in Texas. They can look at the quality of individual parts and determine if further service is required.
  • Close or cover system components. Make sure to protect things like electrical panels from the coldest parts of winter by covering them. If items can be removed and stored safely, they should be.
  • Restore the tracks: Every day, your center pivot irrigation system carves out a divot on your land. Once the season is over, you should spend some time repairing those tracks to prepare for the coming spring.

Once you’ve completed that checklist, your pivot irrigation system should be ready for the worst winter can throw at it.

Drip irrigation winterization checklist

A drip irrigation system can be somewhat more complicated to winterize. However, with a little preparation, it’s entirely possible:

  • Flush the system: To ensure there’s no water left in your system, you should flush the system with clean water, then with a chlorinated solution.
  • Open drain plugs: Now it’s time to let gravity do its job. Open the drain plugs at the lowest point in the system to allow any remaining water to drain from the system.
  • Drain screen filters: Any water that’s left behind should be effectively trapped in your system’s screen filters. Drain and clean the filters.
  • Secure electrical components: Have a professional inspect the electrical apparatuses on your property to ensure they’re in good working condition.

There may be more steps involved in winterizing your drip system, depending on which brand and model you have.

Schedule winterization today

When you need help practicing smart irrigation in Texas, put your trust in B&M Pump Irrigation Sales & Service, Inc. We have nearly 20 years of experience offering state-of-the-art irrigation solutions to clients throughout the Lone Star State. Contact us today to find out more.

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