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. 


If you live in a climate where freezing temperatures are uncommon and/or your landscape requires year-round watering, there should be no need to winterize your system! Please carry on using your Rachio as normal.


Do you have a Rachio Wireless Flow Meter installed in your system? The flow meter is built for durability and can safely withstand winterization, blowout, and system maintenance. No need to mess with it once it's installed - carry on with winterizing as normal!

Video Walkthrough

Are you more of a visual learner? Check out our video on Winterization Basics! 

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. Sprinkler system winterization helps achieve two goals:

  • protecting any external water lines from damaging cold
  • safeguarding your electronic controller against freezing temperatures

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 minor or even significant damage waiting for you in the spring! To keep your sprinklers in working order, we recommend a sprinkler line blowout.

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. If you have an air compressor, you can perform the blowout yourself. However, we recommend hiring an irrigation professional. Without professional equipment and expertise, the process can be time-consuming and could even cause system damage. 

If you wish to attempt a sprinkler blowout yourself, please refer to this video for step by step instructions.


If you are unable to complete a blowout before the freeze hits, see here for other quick winterization tips. 


Before scheduling a blowout, consider 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 prior to your first freeze. Check to see when your area typically experiences freezing temperatures using the USDA Hardiness Zone Map.

Before the blowout, you’ll want to locate your water shutoff valve, as this will need to be turned off. To speed up the blowout process, you may want to share Rachio access with your irrigation professional. Click this link for more information.


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! 




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