Winterize Sprinkler System Cost

The average cost of winterizing a sprinkler system is $60 - $65.

In this guide

When to winterize
Process of winterizing
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to winterize a sprinkler system?

If you have an inground sprinkler system 1 and live in an area where temperatures regularly drop below freezing, it is a good idea to winterize your system each fall. Winterizing removes any water from the system so that when the ground freezes, your system is protected against expanding ice, cracks, and other damage.

Winterizing is a fairly quick and simple process that does not take long to carry out. Most people having their systems winterized pay around $60 to $65 for the system start to finish, which is a significant savings over having to make repairs come spring.

When to winterize

The reason that winterization is so important is that during an extended cold spell, which is a minimum of three days below 32º Fahrenheit, the ground your sprinklers are set in will freeze. This means any water trapped inside the pipes or sprinkler heads will also freeze. When water freezes, it expands. Over time, this causes cracks in your system, which can lead to leaks, burst heads, and expensive repairs.

So, the best time to winterize your system is before the first extended cold snap of the year. For most people, this means sometime during the late fall but varies depending on your climate. If your area frequently sees early frosts, it is a good idea to winterize early, while climates that do not see a freeze until later in the year can often wait a few weeks longer.

Process of winterizing

The goal of winterizing is to completely clear the system of any water. There are technically three methods for doing this, but most professionals agree that only blowing the system is effective.

Some systems have an automatic drainage setting, which allows water to drain from any high points once it is opened. The issue with this setting is that any low spots in the system may still contain some water, which can freeze and cause damage.

Manual systems also operate similarly. You open specific valves to let the water drain from the highest points in the system, but again, water may still collect and freeze in low areas.

Blowing the system, whether done DIY or professionally, is one of the only ways to guarantee that you have cleared all standing water. During this process, all valves are opened and between 50 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi) of compressed air is blown through the system, pushing any water out of the openings and clearing them.

After this point, all the water valves are shut off to prevent new water from entering the system as well as the controls that operate the flow. Once winter is over and the risk of freezing has passed, opening the valves and turning on the controls reactivate the system.

If you live in a warm climate that does not experience a ground freeze, there is no need to winterize your system. You may still want to have it blown out and inspected once a year anyway to make sure it is in good working order.

Labor

Most lawn care and irrigation specialists charge a flat rate for winterizing a system of between $60 and $65. This rate is good for up to 8 zones. If your lawn has more than that, specialists typically charge an additional $5 per zone.

This is the cost for blowing out the system using compressed air and giving it a cursory inspection to make sure it is working properly. This is the method recommended even for systems that have manual or automatic draining included.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Self-draining systems

When installing a sprinkler system 1, it is possible to have a self-draining system installed. This system allows the water in the pipes to drain naturally down a slope. However, it is still possible for water to collect in the low-lying areas, which could still freeze. It is recommended, therefore, that you have your self-draining system inspected if you choose not to have it blown out. This is a cost of $40 on average

Additional considerations and costs

  • If you choose to DIY the winterization, you can rent a small air compressor to do the job at a cost of roughly $20 an hour from most hardware stores.
  • To get your system ready in the spring, most simply need to be turned on and have the water supply valve opened. If your system requires more than this to get going, such as tuning the heads, inspecting the pipes, and setting the controls most companies complete this for around $75.
  • Some companies offer a package for winterization and getting it ready again in the spring for a flat rate of around $100 to $125.
  • It is often recommended that you have a professional inspect your system prior to winterization so that any needed repairs can be caught and made. Inspections start at around $40.
  • If your system is damaged and needs to be replaced, this can cost between $2,500 and $8,000, depending on how large the system is. Repairs to an existing system run around $1,200 on average.
  • If your area sees a drought before freezing, it is usually recommended to water the grass before freezing to strengthen it and prevent damage to the roots. If this is the case, you may wish to winterize after the first day or two of low temperatures to give your grass the best chance of survival. Otherwise, manually watering the lawn and draining the outside spigot afterward may help.

FAQ

  • Do you need to winterize a sprinkler system?

You should winterize your sprinkler system if you live in an area that sees prolonged temperatures below 32º.

  • How much is it to winterize a sprinkler system?

The average cost to winterize a sprinkler system is around $60 to $65.

  • How do I protect my sprinkler system from freezing?

To protect your sprinkler system from freezing, it is a good idea to have it winterized by having the water completely blown out of the pipes.

  • At what temperature will sprinkler pipes freeze?

It takes roughly 3 days at temperatures below 32º for sprinkler pipes to freeze.

  • What temperature should I winterize my sprinkler system?

You should winterize your sprinkler system if you expect temperatures below 32º for 3 or more days straight. ​

  • When should you winterize a sprinkler system?

In most areas, you should winterize your sprinkler system in late fall before the first extended period of temperatures below 32º.​​

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1 Sprinkler system: Set of equipment used to irrigate lawns

Cost to winterize a sprinkler system varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Broomfield, CO
-6%
Fair Oaks, CA
+6%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Inglewood, CA
+9%
League City, TX
+31%
Levittown, NY
+31%
Merced, CA
-25%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Midland, TX
-15%
Nampa, ID
-35%
Ogden, UT
-20%
Overland Park, KS
+15%
Palmetto, FL
-12%
Richmond, TX
+63%
Scottsdale, AZ
-1%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Spotsylvania, VA
-13%
Waxahachie, TX
-18%
West Covina, CA
+9%

Labor cost in your zip code

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