It is necessary to winterize sprinkler systems in the fall to prevent water from freezing in the lines. Water expands when it freezes, causing pipes, sprinkler heads, and irrigation valves to break, resulting in expensive repairs. The average cost to winterize a sprinkler system in the U.S. is $90, with most sprinkler systems costing between $60 and $120.
- Average Costs
- Cost Estimator by Lawn Size
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost
- Cost by Location
Average Cost to Winterize a Sprinkler System in 2023
|National Average Cost||$90|
|Typical Price Range||$60 – $120|
|Extreme Low-End Cost||$45|
|Extreme High-End Cost||$275|
Winterizing a big yard with multiple irrigation zones can cost up to $275. Still, if you have a simple system, you can pay as little as $45. Many plumbers and landscapers charge a flat fee or include it in a sprinkler or lawn care service contract. If you’re comfortable doing it yourself, you can rent an air compressor for $32 to $55 per day.
Cost Estimator By Lawn Size
Pros rarely charge by the square foot. They instead charge a set fee according to the number of watering zones. But, on average, sprinkler winterization costs about $0.01 per square foot. Larger yards typically contain more watering zones, and you’ll often pay less per square foot for more zones to winterize your sprinkler system.
|Lawn Size||Average Cost|
|Small or side lawn (5,000 sq. ft.)||$50|
|Medium lawn (10,000 sq. ft.)||$100|
|Large lawn (20,000 sq. ft.)||$200|
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Number of Zones
Each zone is controlled by a separate valve that lets you water different areas of your lawn. On average, you’ll have two or more zones in a front or backyard, while a side yard or your shrubs will have one to two watering zones.
You will spend, on average, $50 per zone if your lawn sprinkler system has one or two watering zones. The average cost of a home with three or more sprinkler zones is between $20 and $30 per zone. For the average prices, please see the table below.
|Number of Zones||Average Cost|
|1 to 2 zones||$50 to $85|
|3 to 4 zones||$80 to $100|
|5 to 6 zones||$100 to $135|
|7 to 8 zones||$150 to $235|
Your sprinkler system is shielded from winter damage if it is drained before the temperature drops below freezing. The goal of winterizing is to remove all water from the system.
There are three methods for doing so: manual draining, automatic draining, and blowout. The drainage technique used affects the price of winterizing your sprinklers. The chart below provides an estimate of average costs by drainage method.
|Drainage Method||Average Range|
|Manual drain method||$65 to $150|
|Automatic drain method||$75 to $165|
|Blowout drain method||$85 to $235|
Manual Drain Method
The least expensive choice is a manual drain, which normally costs between $65 and $150. Your sprinkler system must include manual shut-off valves to use this winterizing technique.
Because water can collect in low areas of manual drainage systems, blowouts are highly recommended. Any moisture buildup can lead to the failure of pipes, sprinkler heads, and valves.
Automatic Drain Method
When the main water supply is shut off, systems with automatic drain valves should empty the water from the system. You should budget $75 to $165 if your sprinklers have this type of drain valve.
Even with automatic drain valves, the system may still require a blowout because water can collect and freeze in the pipes in low-lying areas. Furthermore, a few of the sprinklers may have check valves that restrict water flow to one direction only. To avoid breaking your sprinklers during a blowout, you must open your check valves.
Blowout Drain Method
The blowout method is the most efficient and effective technique to remove water from a sprinkler system whether you have automatic or manual drain valves. Technicians who choose this method use an air compressor to fill the pipes with compressed air, thereby forcing out any water that remains in the system.
Service technicians may recommend a blowout if your lawn’s slope prevents adequate drainage. Depending on the number of zones and other variables, the cost of a sprinkler system blowout can range from $85 to $235. Though it is the most expensive option, it gives you the best chance of avoiding future costly repairs caused by freezing water.
Many irrigation companies offer annual contracts that include sprinkler system winterization. These packages usually include system checks and spring activation. Several lawn care services now provide winterization service packages that include both the lawn and the sprinklers. Service bundling is an excellent way to save money.
Time of Year
Winterizing your sprinklers in the fall is usually the most cost-effective option because sprinkler maintenance pros winterize all of their clients at the same time. You’ll not only save money, but it is also the ideal time to protect your sprinklers. It is best to schedule your service during the time frame specified by your pro.
A freeze can damage more than your lawn’s sprinkler system. Your grass might suffer from extreme cold and harsh wintry weather, too. If you winterize your grass in the fall, you’ll have a head start on a lush, healthy lawn come spring.
- Winterizing Outdoor Faucets
- Spring Activation
- Sprinkler System Repairs
- Installing a New Sprinkler System
- Installing Drip Irrigation
- Rain Barrels
By aerating your lawn, you can keep the soil from becoming too compacted and hard while also allowing water and nutrients (like your fall fertilizer) to reach the roots quickly. If you have cool-season grass, the best time to aerate is fall or early spring. (Wait until early summer to aerate warm-season lawns.)
While winterizing your sprinkler system, have to pro check your lawn to see if it will benefit from aeration. Lawn aeration costs $145 for an average-sized lawn.
|Average price range||$75 to $225|
Spreading grass seed over an existing lawn is referred to as overseeding. If you have a cool-season lawn, fall is the ideal time to overseed and repair bare patches. While the average cost of seeding a lawn in the United States is around $1,085, the total cost of your project can range from $195 up to $2,960. Pricing is determined by the size and difficulty of the job.
|Average price range||$680 to $1,815|
Between the grass and the soil’s surface, there lies a layer of dead grass and other organic matter called thatch. Thatch can be beneficial in moderation, but too much prevents the soil from getting vital nutrients. Dethatching a lawn costs $190 per hour.
|Average price range||$160 to $225|
Winterizing Outdoor Faucets
Garden hoses and outdoor faucets are also prone to freezing. To prevent having to buy a new garden hose or deal with faucet damage, you or the contractor should winterize faucets and hoses as well.
To restart the system in the spring, a technician will normally come out as part of your winterization package or as part of a summer service agreement. When your sprinklers are activated, professionals will inspect and clean important components, carefully increase pressure in the system, and check for leaks.
Sprinkler system activation normally ranges from $45 to $150 and is done in the spring. You can save money by signing up for a yearly maintenance service contract that includes inspections, winterization, and spring activation.
Sprinkler System Repairs
Most sprinkler repairs are brought on as a result of not properly winterizing the system. Any water that is left in the system can expand in freezing temperatures, breaking the components.
Sprinkler system repairs typically range from $110 to $365. However, more expensive repairs, such as those for the backflow preventer, cost $650 or more. The table below provides an estimate of the average cost of sprinkler repairs.
|Common Repairs||Average Price|
|Replace sprinkler head||$55 to $95|
|Broken pipes||$150 to $350|
|Water pressure control||$50 to $450|
|Replace valves||$69 to $320|
|Replace backflow preventer||$455 to $1,660|
Installing a New Sprinkler System
If your current system has sustained significant frost damage or you have an outdated model, you may need a new sprinkler system. Sprinkler system installation costs normally range from $2,400 to $4,200. Professional sprinkler maintenance and early repairs are the most effective ways to extend the life of your system.
|Average price range||$2,400 to $4,200|
Installing Drip Irrigation
If your sprinkler system isn’t reaching your garden beds, consider adding drip irrigation. They are excellent for flower beds and vegetable gardens.Your plants’ roots receive a continuous stream of water droplets from drip irrigation.
Several advantages of drip irrigation allow homeowners to maintain a healthy landscape. It efficiently irrigates your plants, saving you time and money while preventing diseases by directing water to the roots rather than the plant’s leaves. The majority of household drip irrigation systems range in price from $295 to $775.
|Average price range||$295 to $775|
Using rain barrels is a sustainable solution to reduce water consumption and costs. A rain barrel usually costs around $140.
Some states provide incentives to homeowners who collect rainwater because it benefits the environment. However, the ability to collect rainwater is banned in certain states, so check your local laws on rainwater collection.
Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost
Most homeowners can drain their sprinkler systems without spending any money. However, to clear the lines of all water, a blowout is usually needed. Renting an air compressor will cost you between $32 and $55 per day for a do-it-yourself blowout. Keep in mind that improper winterization may result in expensive repairs.
|Drainage Method||DIY Cost||Pro Cost|
|Manual drain method||$0||$65 to $150|
|Automatic drain method||$0||$75 to $165|
|Blowout drain method||$32 to $55||$85 to $235|
It isn’t recommended to skip a blowout unless a qualified specialist advises you otherwise. Your sprinkler system could sustain severe damage if water is still in the pipes. Most sprinkler maintenance companies offer guarantees on their work, so you know you won’t be saddled with the high-cost repairs.
Cost to Winterize a Sprinkler System by Location
Labor prices vary by the cost of living, the demand for services, and the accessibility of providers. Depending on your location, sprinkler maintenance professionals may charge $55 to $105 per hour.
The weather in your area influences the cost of winterizing your sprinklers. If you live in a warm, tropical climate like Florida, where it doesn’t usually freeze in the winter, then winterizing isn’t needed. On the other hand, areas with harsh winters may require regular visits.
Winterization costs are sometimes higher if you reside in an area that does not typically freeze but is expecting an unusually cold winter.
FAQ About Winterizing a Sprinkler System
The job’s duration is dictated by the system’s size and the available airflow power. With a compressor that produces 80-100 cubic feet of air per minute, a professional may complete a zone in five minutes or less.
Usually, a sprinkler tune-up runs between $75 and $120. The size of your sprinkler system, the type of sprinkler heads, and how many zones it has will affect the cost. However, regularly maintaining your system will save you money in repairs later.
To blow out a sprinkler system, you’ll need an air compressor with a minimum flow rate of 20 to 25 CFM (cubic feet per minute). Any less force and the air pressure isn’t sufficient to drive all the water from your sprinklers.
Note: This is a general recommendation. Check your sprinkler system manual for the minimum CFM needed to blow out your system.
You can handle part of the preparation work for sprinkler winterization and some drainage methods on your own. However, it’s recommended to hire a reputable sprinkler system company to complete a blowout so you avoid harming the system. A local contractor can get your sprinkler system ready for winter quickly and safely.
Note: LawnStarter may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.
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