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How Much Does It Cost to Winterize a Sprinkler System?

Irrigation System Winterization Prices

Winterizing a sprinkler system is a form of preventative maintenance. During the winter months, water that isn't blown out of a lawn irrigation system with compressed air can freeze and damage plumbing, valves, and sprinkler heads. Hiring a professional to winterize a sprinkler system is relatively low-cost, but you can also purchase or rent an air compressor and do the job yourself.

Sprinkler Winterizing Considerations

Winterizing sprinklers is pretty straightforward, but there are still a few points to keep in mind before contracting the work out or tackling it on your own.

Timeframe

A sprinkler system should be winterized before freezing temperatures hit. Depending on the local climate, this typically means sometime during the fall. Underground system components are protected until the ground freezes but aboveground components (such as the backflow preventer and blowout port) can be damaged by a single freeze.

DIY Options

Your sprinkler system should have been installed in such a way that blowing the excess water out is a simple procedure. It's critical, that you have the right equipment, at least if you plan on doing the job the same way a pro would (using an air compressor). The small air compressor you may have lying around the house probably isn't powerful enough to blow out an irrigation system. For that, you'll need a compressor capable of 25 cfm (cubic feet per minute). Or, if blowing out a single zone at a time, a 10-12 cfm compressor should be sufficient. Rent a compressor from a local tool rental center.

A second but riskier winterizing option is to use drain valves (assuming that these are installed in your system; if they're not, adding them is possible). Manual drain valves must be opened by the homeowner, while automatic drain valves are designed to self-drain whenever there is no system pressure.

The risk of using drain valves is that water may not drain completely from the system. Any water that remains could freeze and cause costly system damage. To be on

the safe side, it's recommended to hire a pro or rent/purchase an air compressor and blow out the system like the pros do.

For resources on how to winterize a sprinkler system, check out the following websites:

Sprinkler System Winterization Average Costs

  • Hiring a professional to winterize a sprinkler system typically costs $50 to $150 depending on the system size and local rates.
  • Air compressor rental runs approximately $30 to $60 per day. A half-day rental, which should be sufficiently long for the job, is slightly cheaper.
  • 10 cfm air compressors start at around $1,000, certainly not cheap, but costs can be recouped over time.

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