That chill that you’re feeling in the air means a number of different things: winter is in full force, it’s time to plan your Super Bowl party, and your business may be smack dab in the middle of its slow season (or at least shifting to another seasonal service). That likely means less use for your spray equipment. Yet before you go covering it with a tarp, ask yourself this question: Have I properly winterized the system to avoid unnecessary equipment repairs in the spring?
Why not just store your spray equipment away after your last application and forget about it until spring comes around again? Well, the longer your spray equipment is left inactive, the greater potential there is for it to fail. Any chemicals or residue left in the system can saturate into soft components such as hoses and valves, weakening them to the point of not functioning properly when you first start your sprayer back up again. Plus, having leftover residue in the system increases the chances of cross-contamination if you use your sprayer for multiple purposes.
For these reasons, winterization needs to be a vital part of your sprayer maintenance program. By not slowing down on your sprayer upkeep during the winter months, you help ensure that your spray equipment's ready to hit the ground running once warm weather returns. Plus, you’ll prolong its operating life and ultimately net a greater ROI.
Winterization in Four Easy Steps
Winterizing your sprayer can be accomplished in four simple steps:
- First, read the labels of the compounds you use typically use in your sprayer to see what agents are recommend to clean and neutralizing them. Follow those recommendations as you thoroughly flush both the pump and tank. Any system components that can be removed (i.e., strainer or screens) should be cleaned separately to prevent and residue buildup.
Next, avoid the all-too-common temptation of simply draining the system. Instead, flush the system with clean water. Then drain the tank and open all valves. If possible, use compressed air to blow out any remaining liquid from the solution lines.
Run the pump just long enough to ensure the system is drained of water.
- Run antifreeze thoughout the system, making sure it reaches the hoses and booms. We recommend diluting the antifreeze 50/50 with either water or windshield washer fluid.
Cover the sprayer with a tarp so that dirt, insects, etc. can't compromise the equipment and you're done.
When to Winterize
We're often asked about the best time to winterize a sprayer. While we can't provide a specific day or month to answer this question, we recommend that it get done before temperatures drop below freezing. In warm climates where the temperatures don’t drop too much, you should winterize your sprayer before you store it at the end of season.