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What Happens If I Don’t Winterize My Sprinkler System? | 5 Alarming Outcomes!

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If you wonder what happens if I don’t winterize my sprinkler system, this article is just for you!

Irrigation system damaged from improper winterization can result in anything from minor problems to a complete disaster, depending on where in the country you are and how cold it gets.

Today, we’ll see what happens if you don’t winterize your sprinkler system for freezing months and how you can winterize your sprinkler system properly.

Sprinkler winterization involves several processes, and all the processes should be processed perfectly.

There are many damages that your sprinklers may sustain during the winter because of the freezing and subfreezing temperatures.


The cost to winterize a sprinkler system could be high, time-consuming, and destructive to your property if, for any reason, you cannot winterize your sprinklers properly.

If you’re thinking, why do I need to winterize my sprinkler system and skip the irrigation winterization stage this fall, or someone else missed it before you, here are some potential consequences and solutions!

Sprinkler system—what happens if I dont winterize my sprinkler system
What happens if I don’t winterize my sprinkler system? – Image via Mohammad Rezaie.

What Happens If I Don’t Winterize My Sprinkler System?

You risk water freezing in the irrigation valves, pipelines, and sprinkler heads if you neglect to winterize your sprinklers.

Water expands when it freezes, breaking sections of your sprinkler system.

Here are some common outcomes.

1. Cracking Pipes

Draining your pipes is a step in preparing your sprinklers for the winter.

Without winterizing the irrigation system, your pipes will likely freeze due to the extreme cold, which will eventually cause them to shatter.

The worst part is that you might not notice a crack in your pipes once the winter is gone and you start using them again, which could result in more damage and higher repair costs.

2. Leakage

If you fail in sprinkler winterization, you might face several issues, including leaks in your pipes and house structure.

As previously said, if your irrigation system is not prepared for winter correctly, your pipes may crack, leading to leaks once winter is over.

Then leakage from frozen pipes or other irrigation system problems could be blamed for this leak.

Ensure to winterize sprinklers to avoid causing harm to the system and appliances.

3. Faulty Valves

For winterizing, you must cover the valves with insulation and protective materials like bags, tubes, and foams.

The valves in your irrigation system risk breaking if you don’t winterize them because of the freezing temperatures.

Broken valves will make it difficult to restart your manual irrigation system, and fixing this issue will cost you money.

To prevent damage and unnecessary costs, make sure to winterize your sprinklers.

4. Structural Problem

When you don’t winterize your sprinklers, one of the consequences is that your irrigation system, especially the pipes, suffers damage.

Your home sustains structural damage as a result of these problems. There is a risk of underground pipe bursts, pipe breaks, and overheated air vents.

These could cause significant harm by leaking or cracking.

5. No Insurance Claim

The most crucial thing to remember due to failing to winterize your sprinklers is that your insurance will not cover losses brought on by human error.

You must winterize your irrigation system; otherwise, you will be responsible for paying for all the necessary repairs and replacements.

These were the answers to what happens if I don’t winterize my sprinkler system. Now, let’s see how to winterize a sprinkler system correctly.

Related article: Best Way to Water Grass Without a Sprinkler System – 5 Ways

How to Winterize a Sprinkler System?

Prevention is the best strategy for dealing with the risks of not winterizing your sprinklers.

Depending on your region, watch for the time to winterize your systems if you are considering it now.

The best time for a sprinkler winterization is before nighttime when the lows frequently reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit, as before nighttime contributes to preventing any ice formation.

The air passes through sprinkler heads, pipelines, and valves; the sprinkler system becomes dehydrated.

This technique is on the top list for recommendation by most lawn sprinkler designers and is known as an air blowout system for winterizing an irrigation system.

  • An air compressor that can output the proper air volume and pressure simultaneously is necessary if you enjoy doing your home improvement projects.
  • Small air compressors are frequently insufficient for the task, and you need to rent a larger compressor.
  • While you can DIY, please hire a contractor to blow out your system.
  • Ensure you know the gallons per minute (GPM) through each irrigation zone if you winterize your home. The GPM serves in determining the appropriate size air compressor for the task.
  • It would be best if you also blew out any backflow preventers you may have.
  • But to blow up your system, the air volume is equally as crucial as air pressure.
  • Only use the appropriate volume of air to blow out your sprinkler.
  • After flushing some water out of the system, the air will rise to the top of the water if you don’t utilize enough air volume.
  • Water runs into the bottom due to the air movement. Also, if water flows downward, it will freeze and damage your system.
  • Only blow up one zone at a time on your system. If you blow out more than one zone at once, you risk melting the pipes and fittings and overheating them.
  • After blowing up the system, if the sprinkler heads are still above ground, you know the air compressor size was appropriate.

Watch this video to learn how to winterize a sprinkler system visually:

What happens if I don’t winterize my sprinkler system? | How to Winterize Your Sprinklers – YouTube

What If You Are Late for Sprinkler Winterization?

You can reduce damage by releasing the system pressure if you are late for sprinkler winterization.

To prevent a crack if there is water in the backflow, turn off the water first and then release the cap.

Perform a more thorough inspection of any systems in the fall once the weather warms up in the spring to ensure there are no breaks or damage.


What happens if I don’t winterize my sprinkler system, you asked? Now, as you have come along this far, you know the answer!

It would be best if you took extra care to ensure that your irrigation system is well-prepared for the colder season.

Please act in the fall!

You can also work with a licensed irrigation system contractor.

It might be risky if you are new to DIY winterized sprinkler systems projects and still do them. Experts receive year-long training on designing, installing, and maintaining your system, so ask for help.

Happy gardening!