As the irrigation season comes to an end and winter approaches, now is the time to begin thinking about winterizing your irrigation system, especially your pump. Failure to do this critical maintenance now can lead to an unpleasant surprise in the spring with a damaged pump casing. Here are a few simple tips on preparing your pump for winter.
Turn Off Power
This is very easy. Go to your breaker box and turn off the breaker that supplies power to your pump. This is an important first step and will ensure that if the irrigation controller were to inadvertently call for the pump to turn on, it will not be able to. This prevents the pump from running dry and damaging the shaft seal.
Drain the Pump
At the lowest point on the pump casing there is usually a drain plug that can be removed to allow water to drain from the pump. You will need to remove this drain plug and the plug on the discharge side where you would normally add water to prime the pump. By removing the priming plug you allow air to enter the pump casing which will allow the water in the casing to drain faster. It is important to allow the casing to drain completely as it only takes about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the pump casing to freeze and crack the casing. Once the pump casing is empty, replace the drain plug and priming plug. Leave the drain plug loose enough to allow any condensation that develops in the pump casing to drain. It is not recommended to leave the plugs out completely as this allows insects and rodents looking for a winter home a place to enter the pump casing. You should also drain any exposed suction or discharge piping at this time as well.
Cover the Pump
Once the power has been turned off and the pump casing and exposed piping properly drained, now it’s time to cover the pump. To protect the pump from the elements, now is a good time to install a pump cover. This can be anything from a home-made dog house type structure to realistic looking fake rocks. If you are planning on leaving the pump cover on your pump year-round, make sure that it provides adequate ventilation so that your pump doesn’t overheat while it’s running during the summer months.
Winterizing your pump is not a difficult task, but is something that if done properly will make your spring start-up easy. If you are in need of expert advice or need to purchase a pump cover, contact WP Law and we will be glad to assist you.