If your outdoor space is set up with an automatic sprinkler system, it’s important you complete necessary maintenance from time to time. It is particularly important to winterize your sprinkler system before you pack the garden up for winter!
Types of Sprinklers
Automatic garden sprinkler systems are a remarkably practical and convenient solution to guarantee the correct supply of water is given to your grass, flower beds, flowers etc. but in return for this convenience, the system requires some TLC to keep it in tip top condition and working efficiently. In general, there are two types of sprinklers:
- Above ground. This type includes those that are simply resting against a special support system. The hose pipe sprinkler can be easily moved around the garden. The water dispensing part remains above the grass.
- Pop Up Sprinkler (underground). This version normally remains with the dispensing head flush above the ground, while the body remains underground. The dispensing head rises automatically thanks to the water pressure when the system is operating. At the end of the irrigation cycle, the water pressure is eliminated, and the head is recalled by a spring, returning to its seat and disappearing completely.
So, what do you need to clean a garden sprinkler system and keep it working and protected all year round:
- WD-40 Multi-Use
- WD-40 Specialist Water-Resistant Silicone Lubricant
- Microfibre cloth
- Specialist Rapid-Drying Contact Cleaner
Cleaning Above Ground Sprinklers
Firstly, it’s important to wash each component. After thoroughly washing and drying them, it’s time to treat with WD-40 Multi-Use, which will deeply clean and lubricate for better protection ready for the next season ahead. Sprinklers with a head comprising a spray management mechanism (such as movable rods, pre-set sector jet adjustments, pulse stop, etc.) can be further lubricated with WD-40 Specialist Water-Resistant Silicone Lubricant. What’s more, WD-40 Multi-Use can also help clean and lubricate any tripods or adjustable-height rods which the sprinklers tend to be installed on. The maintenance of above-ground sprinklers must be carried out at the end of the season before winter storage.
Cleaning Pop Up Sprinklers
STEP 1 – Cleaning Sprinkler Water Dispensing Head
Pop-up sprinklers (those that emerge from the ground during irrigation) must be unscrewed from their seat and emptied of water, after turning off the water influx tap. Tip: Make sure you plug the threaded seat they have been unscrewed from in order to prevent any soil from creeping in. Their body consists of an adjustable head from which the water jet starts, and the cylindrical container in which the return spring is inserted. The inner parts can be accessed by unscrewing the head – but check that there are no foreign bodies inside. If there are, wash and dry the components accordingly. Once complete, a thorough clean and lubrication can then be carried out by treating the assembly with WD-40 Multi-Use before putting the head back together.
Step 2 – Cleaning the Sprinkler Spring Body
The telescopic element of the pop-up contains a steel spring that causes the dispenser to return at the end of the irrigation cycle. When the dispenser pops up and then returns, its body slides in contact with the annular opening of the body. This sliding must take place
with the least possible friction. After thoroughly cleaning the parts, the dispenser body must be treated with WD-40 Specialist Water-Resistant Silicone Lubricant and inserted and extracted several times to best distribute the lubricant evenly. This ensures that the pop-up can easily move when irrigation water is returned to the underground circuit. The absence of lubrication causes jams and missed pop-ups (or failure to lower afterwards) during the first spring irrigation cycles. It’s useful to repeat lubrication with this product during the summer season.
Step 3 – Program Control Unit Maintenance
To perform complete maintenance of your sprinklers, you should also see to the programmable control unit (if any). The control unit can be of various types, from the simplest to the most professional and complex. If it is located outside, at the end of the season the batteries must be removed (if not powered directly by the mains with a transformer) and the reachable circuits must be treated with WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner. A spray of WD-40 Specialist Water-Resistant Silicone Lubricant on the water connections keeps it in great shape for subsequent reuse.
Step 4 – Sprinkler Line Maintenance
Unless they are punctured or damaged, these lines do not require any special maintenance. Possible damage resulting from very low temperatures could affect any parts of the lines that are emerging (near the connection to the external control unit, sections that emerge from the ground at the sprinklers, etc.). These parts should be covered as best as possible with insulating materials. During winter the lines must not be “pressurised” but “open” so that freezing doesn’t cause damage to the piping and connections.
If you are looking for other ways to prep for winter and keep your tools protected, check out our other helpful blogs. Discover more amazing WD-40 uses like protecting your bike through winter and keeping your locks working.