The average cost to winterize a sprinkler system can range greatly, but most homeowners spend around $150 every year to have a lawn care and maintenance company perform a full inspection of their irrigation system and prepare their sprinklers for colder weather.

Our team is here to make your life easier, and even though we offer maintenance packages and complete backyard makeovers to cover all of your lawn and garden needs, we believe that winterizing irrigation system is one place where you can and should save your money!

When is the Right Time for Winterizing Irrigation System?

It’s a simple fact – when water freezes, it expands. If there is too much water within your sprinkler system when temperatures drop to freezing, there’s a good chance that your system will be damaged and you’ll have to pay for repairs later on. On the other hand, if you turn off your irrigation too early on in the fall, your lawn can have a harder time coming back to life in the spring. The best time to turn off your sprinkler’s water supply is just one week before the first freeze. In the Charlotte, NC area, this typically occurs every year right around Thanksgiving!

winterizing irrigation system for colder weather

Step-by-Step Instructions for Winterizing Sprinklers

Before diving right into the nitty gritty, it’s important to make sure you know what kind of sprinkler system you have at your home. There are different methods that should be used based on your sprinkler type: manual drain, automatic drain, and the blow-out drain. To determine which type of drain your irrigation system has, check the instructions that came with your equipment or call your original irrigation installation company!

Winterizing Irrigation Systems with Manual Drains

Despite the name, this manual work is fairly simple!

  1. First, shut off your system’s water supply.
  2. Next, find the manual valves on the end of each pipe. Open all of the valves to allow the water in the system to flow out.
  3. Then, raise each sprinkler head just slightly to drain out any remaining water left inside.
  4. Once all the water has been drained, make sure to close all of the valves back!

Winterizing Irrigation Systems with Automatic Drains

  1. Again, the process starts when you turn off the water supply by closing the main valve to your irrigation system. Your automatic system will then detect the falling water pressure and begin draining itself.
  2. You can then raise each sprinkler head just slightly to ensure there is no water lingering inside.

Winterizing Irrigation Systems Using the Blow-Out Method

With this method, you’ll need a few tools and a little bit of patience. But luckily, these tools are common and typically available for rent at any home improvement store – an air compressor rated at 80-100 CFM and a quick-connect hose adaptor. Be cautious when following the steps below, we recommend wearing goggles for safety!

  1. Put on your safety goggles, then grab your compressor and coupler.
  2. Next, shut off your water supply and connect the air compressor to your irrigation system using the coupler.
  3. Close the backflow valves, then slowly open the valve on your air compressor. You can gradually add more pressure, but do not exceed 50 PSI for polyethylene piping or 80 PSI for PVC piping. The more gradually you climb to these numbers, the easier it is to quickly turn off all air pressure if needed!
  4. Once you start to see water coming out of the active sprinkler head, it’s time to activate each of the other sprinkler heads, starting with the farthest away and working your way back to the air compressor.
  5. When you see each spray of water end across each sprinkler head, close them back. After they have all been closed, then you can disconnect the air compressor.
  6. Release any remaining air pressure from the system by opening and closing the valves on each backflow device.
  7. Double-check to ensure that all valves are closed, and you’re done!

Now, your irrigation system should be free of any water and ready for the winter. Winterizing irrigation systems helps to optimize their performance, plus, your yard will thank you when it’s able to be green and healthy in the spring!

And of course, if you aren’t into DIY projects or don’t have time this holiday season to winterize your irrigation system yourself, call MetroGreenscape of Charlotte to discuss a lawn care and maintenance package that meets your needs!

Download Our Free Guide: How to Plan Your Project

Discover 17 critical cost factors you should know while planning your next landscaping or hardscaping project.

  • Step 1: Fill out this form and get the guide
  • Step 2: We’ll email you the PDF.
  • Step 3: Learn everything you need to know about planning your project.