Winterizing Sprinklers

Your sprinkler system has kept your landscaping beautiful all summer long, and now it’s getting ready for a well-deserved break. We’re entering sprinkler offseason. Make sure you prepare your sprinkler system properly for the winter ahead so it’s fully functional and ready to go come spring.

Step one is to turn the water off at its source. You probably used to do this even before you had a sprinkler system. This interior shut-off valve keeps water from flowing through pipes outside your home to your hose and sprinklers. Once its turned off, you need to empty the lines outside.

Air Gets Water Out of Sprinklers

This is easier said than done. It’s simple enough to open the nozzle and drain your garden hose, but a sprinkler system requires more work. If you own an air compressor, you might be able to do this step yourself. Or, you can rent a compressor.

Connect the compressor to your sprinkler system’s blowout port to force the water out. When you turn the compressor on, you should see the sprinkler heads emerge from the landscaping and spit out any water that’s left in the system. If you have an extensive sprinkler system, you might need to repeat this step in different zones.

It’s important to use the right amount of pressure and to open and close the right valves. Using the wrong size compressor also could damage your sprinkler system. Take a look at this advice from, and this detailed document from

It’s also a good idea to wear protective goggles for this chore. Sometimes merely opening the sprinkler valves can release extreme pressure, and accidents can happen at this time and while using the air compressor.

Adjust the Timer

If your sprinkler system is on a timer, you’re going to want to remember to shut this down as well. Some timers have a rain setting that allows you to in effect turn the sprinkler system off without shutting it down so your settings will be saved.

This is useful if you get a few days of rain in the summer, but if you leave the timer on rain to save your sprinkler settings all winter, make sure you disconnect it from the pump too.

Winterizing a sprinkler system isn’t for experimenters and newbies. It can be dangerous to you physically, and you could do damage to your system with the wrong tools or incorrect usage of tools. Your sprinkler system could also suffer damage if you don’t get all the water out, leaving the components vulnerable to freezing and cracking.

For help winterizing your sprinkler system, call the experts at Earthworks Landscaping. We guarantee we’ll put your system into hibernation safely. Come April, when you’re on the lookout for harbingers of spring, your happy, well-cared-for sprinkler heads will pop above ground like crocuses.