How to Properly Winterize Your Sprinkler System

As the cold weather approaches, you need to take steps to care for your home irrigation sprinkler system. In places like Southern Ontario in particular, you need to make sure that you’ve properly winterized your system before ground temperatures dip below freezing. Failure to do so can result in costly damage to your system. 

What follows is a general guide of the steps you need to take, but it is important to remember that every sprinkler system is different. It is best to consult the manual for your sprinkler system to ensure that all required steps have been taken.


Automatic timers can cause problems if they try to run the system when the lines are dry. Remember to turn off your timer before you begin. Many timers have a “rain mode” that allows you to pause operations without losing any of your settings. This can be a great alternative to fully powering your timer off if it's available.


Turn off the main value to your home’s water system. There may be additional valves to prevent backflow into your home’s water. If your sprinkler system has a backflow device, look for the two valves leading into it and make sure to turn them off too.


Draining your sprinkler system is the most important and involved step in the winterization process. Depending on your system, you will need to complete draining in one of three ways. 


  1. Manual draining systems: If your system allows for manual draining you must slowly open all the valves one at a time and let the water run out. Remember that the water is under pressure, so it is recommended to wear eye protection when draining the lines. 
  2. Automatic draining systems: If your sprinklers have an automatic draining system then you typically activate it by running a sprinkler head with the water shut off. Although the lines will be drained automatically, you still need to make sure there is no water remaining within the valves. To do this you must find the plastic cap on each valve and loosen it to make sure air can flow into the system. 
  3. Blow-out draining systems: most systems in Canada are built in such a way that you can blow out the lines using compressed air to ensure they are completely dry. However this is usually best done by a professional. That is because not all systems can be winterized using the blow-out method. If you do this procedure on the wrong type of system, or you do it improperly, you can damage your entire system. Also the typical consumer-grade air compressor will not be strong enough to properly blow out the lines. For these reasons we recommend talking to the pros at Arizona Outdoor Solutions if your system requires a blow-out.



If you prefer to have your system professionally winterized this season, the team at Arizona Outdoor Solutions is happy to help. Our expert technicians provide experienced efficient service that will help extend the life of your system and ensure that everything is working properly next spring. Request a quote to learn more!

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