Winterization: A How-To Guide

Apache Sprayers Winterization A How-To Guide Header

Proper winterization of the application system, or spray system, helps to prevent damage to the system due to wintertime freezing. Please follow this Apache Winterization Guide to protect your sprayer this winter.

The spray system may contain as many as five separate plumbing loops, or circuits, that are all related to the application system. Thorough flushing of each loop is essential to proper winterization.

The Five Loops:

  1. Main product delivery loop (pump, main strainer, flow meter, control valve, boom shut-off valves and boom plumbing)
  2. Rinse loop (rinse plumbing and roto-flush nozzles in the product tank)
  3. Agitation loop (electric agitation valve, manual agitation valve at rear of tank, agitation / roto-flush selection valve at the fill station)
  4. Product pump vent circuit
  5. Chemical eductor circuit (if equipped)

Apache Winterization Guide:

  1. Make sure the sprayer (product tank, strainers, and booms) has been properly rinsed of all chemicals that have been recently applied.


  1. Drain all of the remaining liquid from the product and rinse tanks.


  1. Close the electric agitation and main sump valves. Then, turn off your sprayer.


  1. Connect an air hose to the main fill valve, open the valve and apply 40-60 psi to the liquid system.


  1. Turn on the spray controller or field computer, turn off all of the boom section switches and turn on the master spray switch.


  1. Turn on the individual boom section switches one at a time and allow the air to push the water out through the nozzle bodies and spray tips. After the water stops draining, turn the switch off and on three to four times to help release any water trapped behind the ball of the valve.


  1. Put approximately 40 gallons of RV antifreeze in the product tank and about 5 gallons into the rinse tank. Put 3 gallons in the chemical eductor if it is equipped with one. RV antifreeze is not intended to be diluted with water, so purge as much water as possible from the system before adding the antifreeze.


  1. Open the main sump valve and the agitation circuit valve. Put the product pump source handle in the product to “pump” position. Be sure all of the boom section switches and the master spray switch are off and turn off the controller or field computer. Start the machine and turn on the product pump.


  1. Re-start the product controller or field computer. If necessary, start a job and place the controller or field computer in the “manual” operating mode.


  1. Be sure the manual agitation valve at the rear of the tank is open and that the agitation valve on the fill station panel is in the open position, then completely open the electric agitation valve using the controls inside the cab. Allow the RV antifreeze to flush through the agitation circuit for approximately two minutes. Open and close the manual valve on the back of the tank 3-4 times to help flush water from around the valve, then leave the valve open. Close the electric agitation valve using the controls in the cab, then open the valve again part way. Turn the agitation valve on the fill station to the roto-flush position.


  1. Move the product pump source handle on the fill station to the “rinse to pump” position. Allow the pump to pull RV antifreeze from the rinse tank for 10-15 seconds, then move the valve back to the “product to pump” position. Run the pump for approximately two minutes to flush the rinse circuit, then move the agitation/rotoflush valve back to the agitation position. The vent circuit will be self-flushing since it is continually sending liquid through the vent line anytime the pump is running.


  1. If the machine is equipped with a chemical eductor, be sure that all eductor valves are closed and that the RV antifreeze has been loaded into the eductor hopper. Open the eductor inlet valve located at the bottom of the eductor in-line with the inlet plumbing, and open the eductor diverter valve located at the fill station. Be sure the hopper lid is closed, then open the eductor outlet valve at the bottom of the hopper. After 30 seconds, close all three valves and open the hopper lid to see if it has emptied out.
    NOTE: If the machine will be stored outside during the winter, remove one of the lines at the bottom of the eductor and open the outlet valve at the bottom of the hopper so that any snow, ice or rain that may seep into the eductor hopper can drain.


  1. To flush the main plumbing system and booms, be sure all of the boom section switches are turned off, turn on the master spray switch, then turn on the No. 1 boom section switch. Allow this section to spray until RV antifreeze is coming from all of the spray tips, then turn off the No. 1 section switch and turn on the No. 2 section switch. Allow it to spray until RV antifreeze is coming from all of the spray tips. Continue repeating this procedure through the remainder of the section switches until all boom sections have been flushed with RV antifreeze.


  1. If the machine is equipped with liquid system pressure gauges outside the cab, turn off the product pump momentarily then remove the plastic tubing going to the gauges. Turn the product pump back on and allow it to run until RV antifreeze is coming out the ends of the tubing. Turn the product pump back off.


  1. Follow the remaining steps to finish winterizing the machine:
  • Remove the pressure gauges (if equipped) and store them in a warm place.
  • Cap the ends of the gauge tubing and plug the gauge ports to keep debris from collecting in them.
  • Remove the boom strainer bowls and the main Y strainer bowl from the machine and store them in a dry place. Take time to clean the strainers, if needed.
  • Remove the rate controller or field computer from the cab and store it in a warm, dry place.


A Job Well Done

This completes the liquid system winterizing process. If you prefer to leave these important tasks to the experts, contact your Apache Sprayer dealer about servicing your sprayer. Apache technicians know how to best protect your equipment investment.

For more information about the importance of winterization, please read part I of this sprayer winterization blog series.

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