Your Irrigation Pump is Easy to Protect but Expensive to Replace

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If you happen to live on or near a pond or lake, there are a lot of advantages to setting up your sprinkler system so that it draws from that fresh water source. Obviously, there is the fact that you get your water for free, and because you're not hooked up to a municipal water line, you don't need a backflow preventer. But there's a perception that sprinkler systems that rely on an irrigation pump are more complicated. When it comes to installation, that's probably the case. However, when it comes to maintenance, pump-based systems are actually easier to care for, and have lower risk of ruptured pipes— IF you remember to winterize before the cold weather arrives.

Protect the pump

Winterizing pump-based sprinkler systems that draw from a local water source is simpler than other types of irrigation systems for one-reason: if you take care of the pump, everything else takes care of itself. Just follow these steps to prepare your system for winter.

  • Cut power to the pump. Some pumps will have on/off or breaker switches located at or near the pump, or possibly at the relay switch. The safest way to cut power is at the main breaker box. It's worth taking a minute to make sure the power is off by running the sprinkler system from the timer and making sure the pump doesn't come on. High voltage is nothing to mess with, and your pump will be quickly destroyed if it runs after it's been drained.
  • Disconnect the outlet line. This will allow the irrigation zones to begin draining.
  • Open the irrigation valves. This can be done at the timer by manually “running” each zone, beginning with the one farthest from the pump. Keep it open until water stops flowing from the outlet line, then move onto the next-farthest zone,and so on.
  • Remove the intake line from the lake. Ideally you will be able to find a PVC union at or near the water line or attached to a dock that allows you to do this. You might need to get wet to find the union. Wrap both ends in plastic and store the intake line in a safe place.
  • Remove the drain plug from the pump. It will be located below the intake line.
  • If your pump doesn't have a pump, wrap it in a heavy duty garbage bag and secure it with duct tape to protect it from the elements.
The pump is by far the most expensive part of your system, so it's important to remember to winterize before freezing temperatures arrive. One unexpectedly cold night could end up costing you hundreds of dollars.

Need More ideas? Get started by finding a Landscaping Professional

Lawn sprinkler systems can span from simple to complex. If you need help with maintenance or repair on your irrigation system, LendingTree Home Pros can help.

The good news is that LendingTree Home Pros maintains a directory of home service professionals and can match you with a home pro in your area. All the home pros listed in the LendingTree Home Pros directory are properly licensed and insured and are backed by a $10,000 money-back guarantee!

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