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. (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 proceed to the outside steps.
If you are doing this by yourself, you can wait and do the following after the outside steps.
- Open drain cap. Put a towel or bucket under it, because while water may
or may not drain out just yet, it will during the following steps.
(Here are some examples of shutoff valves to help you locate
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.) Note that handles and petcocks 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 is what your backflow valve should look like:
is what your backflow should look like in the drained, or winter, position.)
Step 4 (not needed until temperatures stay consistently below freezing for a
One extra 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 box).
- If you haven't already done so, open the drain cap in the
basement. Water will pour out of the pipe.
- Run a cycle on your timer. Even
though the water is now turned off, this ensures that any remaining water in the pipes will drain to ground level.
Turn off your sprinkler timer.