Living in an area where it gets cold in the winter I know firsthand what can happen to a 12-volt pump that hasn’t been properly winterized. This type of pump is super common on lawn and turf sprayers. If you want to make sure that your sprayer will be ready to go in the spring it is important to know what to do with your sprayer at the end of the spraying season.
In this guide, we will look at the specific steps to take to winterize your 12-volt ATV sprayer. For more information on 12-volt pumps be sure to read the full guide to 12-volt pumps.
Benefits of Winterizing Your 12-Volt Sprayer
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of winterizing a pump is making sure the liquid inside does not freeze. This is not the only benefit to consider. Even if your pump is stored in climate climate-controlled building, there are still benefits to winterizing your 12-volt pump at the end of the spraying season.
Reduce Potential Chemical Damage
When your sprayer is not in use, the residue left over from the chemicals that you have sprayed can “attack” the components of the sprayer. Corrosion, oxidation, and other damage can occur if the chemical residue is not thoroughly rinsed out.
Catch Potential Issues Before They Occur
Everything may be working fine when you finish spraying for the year, but after your sprayer sits for a while, this can change. Take time to examine the sprayer, especially the pump, and you might notice worn components. Even if they don’t need to be fixed immediately, you can get the repair parts ordered and reduce your downtime.
Save Money On Replacement Parts
Winterizing and flushing your sprayer is the best way to limit the harmful effects of any chemical that you spray. This means less money is spent on replacement parts.
What You Need to Winterize Your Sprayer
- Fresh water source: Water is the cheapest, and safest way to rinse the system and remove potential chemical residue from the system. Also used to rinse off the external sprayer components.
- Screwdriver: For removing hose clamps, and opening pump housing.
- Anti-freeze/Pump Saver: A mix of water and anti-freeze or a “pump saver” product will keep liquid from freezing inside your sprayer. A product like AR Pump Saver will help to lubricate any seals and prevent corrosion. Refer to the sprayer or pump manual to determine the best product or antifreeze mixture to use.
Examine The Pump
The first thing I like to do before anything else is to pull the pump off the sprayer and open it up. I want to make sure that there are no glaring issues that might lead to a pump failure come spring. It might work fine now but if there is an issue I don’t want it to get worse as it sits over the winter and fail to work when I need It. The things I look for are corrosion, damage, debris, residue, etc.
If everything looks ok, I will rinse off the diaphragms and make sure all the liquid is drained out. If there is debris or chemical build-up, I clean it out.
If you do see any issues be sure to get pieces replaced or fixed. If you have not worked on a 12-volt sprayer pump before, be sure to read the guide I wrote on troubleshooting and repairing a 12-volt sprayer pump.
When putting the pump back together, be careful reinstalling the screws. The diaphragms may get pinched between the pump housings. To avoid this, hold the pump vertically with the pressure switch facing up. This will keep the diaphragms from wanting to slide out. Don’t install all the screws completely, alternate every other screw, tightening just a little, until they are all tight.
Also, while the pump is off the sprayer, you can use this time to hose down/rinse off dirt or grime from your sprayer.
Flush The Entire System
Reinstall the pump. Fill your tank with enough fresh water to run your sprayer for a few minutes. Run your sprayer to Completely flush the system With fresh water.
Add antifreeze to the sprayer tank. Run the sprayer again until you see the antifreeze coming out of the spray nozzles. Store sprayer with antifreeze circulated throughout the system. It may seem beneficial to completely drain the sprayer and let it dry out but this can have a negative effect on the materials inside the pump.
At the start of your next spray season, run your sprayer to flush out the antifreeze and check for leaks or other issues as you do. Taking the time and spending a little on antifreeze will save you from the headaches and cost of replacing more expensive pieces on your sprayer.