This page is for assistance only. There is no implied warranty or guarantee from us that there will
not be freeze damage to your system under any circumstances.
If there is an impending hard freeze coming and your system is currently "on"
(not winterized), here is what to do.
- Shut off your sprinkler system's water source, usually
in the basement or crawlspace. Below are some examples of what sprinkler shutoff valves look like, to help you locate
yours. You are looking for the SPRINKLER SHUTOFF, not the house's main water shutoff! For round handles, use “righty tighty, lefty loosy” principle. For levered handles, make
the handle perpendicular to the pipe.
- Have a bucket ready near the shutoff valve inside. If you have someone else handy
to hold the bucket, you can do STEP 3 now. If you are doing this by yourself, you can wait and do this part after STEP 2. If you have a helper to wait inside while you go outside, you can OPEN THE DRAIN CAP
now. WATER MAY NOT COME OUT YET, since the water will be suctioned in the pipe until you go outside. If you're by yourself,
skip this for now and you'll do it as Step 3. While water not drain out just yet, it will once you do the next step, so be
- Locate your backflow valve (some
systems may not have one). This is usually right outside the house, anywhere from one to five feet above the ground.
The pipe from the shutoff valve (pictured above) will run through the wall of your basement to the outside, leading to your
backflow valve. Below are some examples of what your backflow looks like in the on, or summer, position. Handles
are parallel to pipes and petcock screws are perpendicular in the summer, when you're running your system.
Turn handles and petcocks to diagonal positions - you may need to use gloves for the large handles, and a flat-head
screwdriver for the small petcocks. (Water will drain from the now-open pipe in your basement once you do this, so be
ready! If you haven't opened the drain inside yet, that's ok - you'll do this soon.) Note that handles and petcocks
on the backflow valve are slanted at 45 degree angles from the pipes that they are attached to. DO NOT turn handles
to a fully closed position, and make sure petcocks are at a slanted position too. Fully closing pipes can trap water
behind your ball valves and cause freeze damage as well. Once you are finished, this below is what your backflow valve should
look like in drained, or winter, position:
EXTRA STEP IF WE'RE IN A LONG FREEZE (OPTIONAL - not needed until the day's
high temperatures stay consistently below freezing for a few days)
step that some people like to do is to open the drain in your valve box, or "manifold box" (usually in the ground
with a green lid on top). Many valve boxes DO NOT have drains. The drain handles look like a metal "X".
This is only necessary if temps stay below freezing for several days. Late fall and early spring freezes typically
will not do any damage to your box in the ground (the ground is warm at this point and will keep everything thawed in the
- If you haven't already done so, open the drain cap in the
basement. Water will pour out of the pipe in the basement, so have a bucket or something to catch it! Keep you drain cap OFF
and put it in a bag or safe place. Water will drip for 15 minutes or so. If it does not stop dripping, this could mean that
your shutoff valve is leaky, or that you've not turned the water off enough.
- Run a cycle on your timer for a few minutes - any zone will
do. The zone valve
in the ground will open and allow gravity to drain more water out of your above-ground pipe and backflow valve. No heads will pop up because you have already turned off the water, but this ensures that any remaining water in the exposed pipe will drain to
ground level. Turn off your sprinkler timer.