Without proper preparation, your sprinkler system could be damaged by freezing temperatures. Here are some helpful tips and information from Rain Bird’s Homeowner’s Guide to Winterization.


Shut off the water supply to the irrigation system and protect the main shut off valve against freezing. Wrap it with insulation (foam insulation tape and a plastic bag) to protect it from harsh winter temperatures. Be sure to insulate any piping that’s above ground, too. using self-stick foam-insulating tape or foam tubes.

Turn Off Your Controller

You will need to shut down your irrigation controller (aka, sprinkler timer) to avoid it running during the Winter months. Many controllers have a “rain delay” which shuts off the signals to the valves. The controller continues to keep time, and the programming information isn’t lost. When Spring returns, you’ll turn off the rain delay and fire up the system again.

Drain the Pipes

Be sure to remove the water inside all sprinkler pipes and sprinklers so that it won’t freeze and expand inside the pipe, causing them to crack. Ideally you want to use compressed air to blow the water out of the system.

Protect Valves

Lastly, Insulate backflow preventers and valves if they are above ground. You can also use insulation tape for this. Be sure not to block the air vents and drain outlets on backflow preventers.

Watch the video below for more ideas. And if all of this seems a little overwhelming, take a look at Meyerco’s Winterization service and leave it to the pros!

Rain Bird Homeowner’s Guide to Winterization