Indeed, sprinklers are utilized for easy irrigation over a large area. It makes watering more convenient than manually doing it for a huge mass of land. For outdoor sprinklers, it can be prone to damage due to external factors. During the wintertime, frost and snow can cause damage to your sprinklers especially those that are uninsulated.
As the sprinkler system is prone to damage, it should be noted that the above-ground portions of a sprinkler system can eventually crack if not drained. Cracks can occur when water is not thoroughly drained. Hence, it can cause damages to the system due to the expanding ice. This makes repair deemed necessary. Also, water loss and erosion result from a broken sprinkler pipe.
During wintertime, it is the most susceptible season for sprinklers to possible experience damage. This is to ensure that you thoroughly drain your sprinkler system before winter comes. This can save you a fortune. Instead of minding about repairs in the future, it is best to avoid worst-case scenarios by being prepared beforehand.
Broken Sprinkler Pipe due to Freezing
For underground sprinkler pipes, it is situated under the soil to be insulated from cold temperatures. But for pipes that are above ground, these are the most susceptible and prone to leaks and cracks upon exposure to freezing. For pipes that are rigid such as that of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes, water has the potential to expand upon freezing. Since these pipes are rigid, it can create cracks and fissures due to the expansion of ice. For flexible pipes such as that of poly piping, which is used in drip irrigation, can still be prone to cracks and damage as it still have rigid zones in it. These rigid zones can be found in glued joints, but these joints are easy to locate. So crack or damage detection can still be easily done.
Avoid Freeze Damage
During winter time, irrigation is deemed unnecessary due to the weather. To avoid freeze damage, it is best to thoroughly drain the sprinkler system and switch it off as early as in fall.
Detection of Leaks
Leaks can be due to cracks formed on the pipes due to the expansion of water from freezing. For pipes situated above ground, leaks can be easily determined and pinpointed as it is obvious how there are water spurting out from a certain zone. When expansion of ice creates cracks onto the pipe, the unfrozen water will now spurt out from this cracked zone.
However for detecting leaks from pipes situated underground, it is more difficult to determine. But then, if the sprinkler system is pressurized when the break happens, a large wet area will be seen in the soil. The difference between a moist and wet soil from a dry one can determine whether there is a potential leak from the sprinkler pipes underground.
For those sprinkler lines that are not pressurized, these leaks will only be apparent when the sprinkler system is turned on. One can see that the spray volume is reduced, or even non-existent. There will also be a wet area formed in the soil to indicate the source of leakage.
Repair and Restoration Procedures
For pipes that were caused by freeze damage, it is deemed that it is not repairable. The best way to fix it is to replace the pipes. Moreover, any damaged section of the PVC pipe is opted to be cut out and replaced. To do this, cut a new piece of pipe shorter than the section removed. Splice it into the line with a coupling on each end. This procedure is called telescoping. Telescoping PVC couplings make the procedure easier as one end goes onto the pipe whereas the other end slides out to fit onto the other piece of pipe.