How do I winterize my sprinklers? Winterization Basics


In this article, we'll walk you through the basics of winterizing your irrigation system and explain why it’s recommended for optimal watering performance. Check out our winterization video below to learn how to winterize with Rachio controllers and Wireless Flow Meters.


Do you have a Rachio Wireless Flow Meter installed in your system? Unlike most wired flow meters, the Rachio Wireless Flow Meter contains no moving parts and can safely withstand a blowout.

Video Guide

Rachio makes it easy to prepare your smart sprinkler system for winter and avoid freezing pipes. Watch this video to see how a winterization blow out works seamlessly with Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controllers and Wireless Flow Meters.

Why Winterize? Winterization Basics 

If you live in a climate that experiences freezing temperatures, winterization is an important step in caring for your irrigation system and your Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller. Winterization is necessary in colder climates where pipes can freeze and burst if water remains in the system.

While you can manually drain the water from your system to help prevent freezing, some water can still remain and damage pipes. If all the water is not removed, you could have significant damage waiting for you in the spring. To protect your sprinklers from freeze damage, we recommend a sprinkler winterization (also known as a "blowout").

Steps to Winterizing

Step 1: Drain your pipes

Before scheduling a blowout, check the following:  

  • Do you have any above ground piping?
  • Do you have an RP (Reduced Pressure) backflow, or a PVB (Pressure Vacuum Breaker) backflow? These above ground irrigation system pieces are especially vulnerable to freeze and can be costly to fix. Cracked pipes and broken backflow preventers are a pain that no homeowner wants to deal with. 

If your system includes these components, we recommend scheduling a sprinkler blowout with a RachioPro prior to your first freeze. Check to see when your area typically experiences freezing temperatures using the map below:


Map Source: The Weather Channel

Before the blowout, drain the external pipes that are subject to freeze first. To speed up the blowout process, share access of your Rachio controller with your irrigation professional. Click this link for more information. 

Step 2: Blowout underground pipes

Sprinkler blowouts are an affordable way to prevent costly springtime repairs. A blowout is the process of removing water from external pipes and underground lines. This is performed by opening each zone and blowing air through the lines. 

Rachio recommends hiring an irrigation professional for a blowout if your sprinkler system needs winterizing. Without professional equipment and expertise, the process can be time-consuming and could even cause system damage.

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Need to find an irrigation professional? Click the button below to find a local Rachio Pro!

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Step 3: Put your Rachio into "Standby" mode

After the blowout is completed, there are a couple steps you will need to take in getting your Rachio bundled up and ready for winter. We recommend the following standby procedures to prepare for the colder months and get your controller ready for hibernation. To winterize your Rachio, simply place it in standby mode within the app. From your Rachio App Menu tab, select “Standby Mode”. Now your Rachio is ready for the cold months ahead! 


While all watering schedules are paused during standby mode, you can still manually run zones using the Quick Run feature.

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