How Much Does it Cost to Winterize a Sprinkler System in 2023?

The national average cost of sprinkler winterization is $90, with most sprinkler systems costing $60 to $120 to winterize.

The national average cost of sprinkler winterization is $90, with most sprinkler systems costing $60 to $120 to winterize. However, homeowners with large yards that contain many watering zones may pay as much as $275. Conversely, homeowners with tiny systems may pay as little as $45.

All homeowners living in climates where temperatures reach freezing need to winterize their sprinkler systems. Sprinkler system winterization is crucial because if you don’t, water can freeze inside your system. When water freezes, it expands, causing damage to pipes, sprinkler heads, and irrigation valves. 

In this cost guide:

Average sprinkler winterization costs in 2023

National average cost$90
Typical price range$60 – $120
Extreme low-end cost$45
Extreme high-end cost$275

A plumber or a landscaping company typically performs irrigation winterization. Many pros charge a flat rate or include winterization in a sprinkler or lawn care service contract. Handy homeowners can rent an air compressor for $32 – $55 daily and do it themselves.

Sprinkler winterization cost estimator by lawn size

Since the average American yard is about 10,000 square feet, you should expect to pay less than $0.01 per square foot for sprinkler winterization. Larger yards typically contain more watering zones, and sprinkler winterization takes longer. 

Lawn sizeTypical price
Small yard$45 
Medium yard$90
Large yard$160

The larger your yard, the less you typically pay per square foot. However, pros usually don’t charge per square foot. Instead, they charge a flat rate based on the number of watering zones.

Other factors that affect cost

Number of water zones

If you have a lawn sprinkler system with 1 or 2 watering zones, you may pay as much as $50 per zone. However, homeowners with three or more sprinkler zones typically pay $20 – $30 per zone. Please see the typical prices in the table below.

Number of zonesTypical overall cost of winterization
1 – 2$50 – $85
3 – 4$80 – $100
5 – 6$100 – $135
7 – 8$150 – $235

What is a watering zone? A watering zone is a segment of your yard that receives water from the same water valve. Different vegetation has different watering needs, and separate zones can have particular equipment for different watering regimens. Additionally, most homes can only produce enough water pressure to water part of the lawn. 

Winterization method

Having your sprinkler system drained before temperatures freeze protects your sprinklers from winter damage. The cost of sprinkler winterization depends on the drainage method used. Please see typical prices by drainage method in the table below. 

Manual drain

A manual drain is the cheapest method, typically costing $65 – $150. Your sprinkler system must have manual shut-off valves to drain the sprinkler system manually. Manual drainage systems often need a blowout because water may stay in low areas of the system. Any trapped moisture can lead to broken pipes, sprinkler heads, and valves.

Automatic drain

If your sprinklers have an automatic drain and don’t need a blowout, expect to pay $75 – $165. These systems have automatic drain valves that self-drain when the main water supply shuts off. Unfortunately, like manual drains, many automatic drains still need a blowout. 

Blowout method

A sprinkler system blowout is the most expensive drainage method, and it typically costs $85 – $235, depending on the number of watering zones and other cost factors. If the sprinkler pro suggests you get a blowout, you should take that suggestion to avoid costly repairs.

The blowout method involves blowing compressed air into your sprinkler system’s pipes. The high pressure pushes all the water out of your system through the sprinkler heads. A blowout is the most effective method of removing water, even if you have an automatic or manual drain valve. 

Service contracts

Many sprinkler maintenance companies offer yearly service contracts that include sprinkler winterization, spring activation, and inspections. Additionally, some lawn care companies have winterization service packages that include lawn and sprinkler winterization. Purchasing packages is an excellent way to save money. 

Time of service

Many sprinkler care specialists like to winterize all of their clients at the same time, typically in the fall. Thus, fall is usually the most cost-effective time to winterize your sprinklers. However, it is best to schedule your service at the time recommended by the professional. Not only can it save you money, but it will also be the optimal time for protecting your sprinklers. 

Related services 

Lawns and gardens need proper hydration to thrive. Here are some related services to help you water your yard:

Leaves are falling, and the temperature is dropping. Fall is often the time to winterize your sprinklers and maintain your lawn with the following lawn care services:

Also important in fall: Winterizing your lawn is essential for healthy spring growth, and it is also important to winterize your lawn care equipment

Sprinkler repair

If your home gets freezing temperatures, and you don’t winterize your sprinkler system correctly, expect to pay for sprinkler repairs in the spring. The average sprinkler repair costs $110 – $365, but expensive repairs (such as a backflow preventer) can cost over $650. Please see typical pricing for common sprinkler repairs in the table below.

Type of repairTypical price
Sprinkler head replacement$55 – $95
Broken sprinkler pipe $150 – $350
Water pressure issues$50 – $450
Valve replacement$69 – $320
Backflow preventer replacement$455 – $1,660

Sprinkler installation

If your sprinkler system is almost 20 years old or the winter damage is severe, you may need a new sprinkler system. The typical sprinkler system installation costs $2,400 – $4,200. The best way to prolong your system’s lifespan is to get professional sprinkler maintenance and timely repairs. 

National average cost$3,150
Typical price range$2,400 – $4,200
Extreme low-end cost$825
Extreme high-end cost$8,300

Drip irrigation

Drip irrigation dispenses a slow, steady stream of water drops to your plants’ roots. It works great for flower beds and vegetable gardens, and most residential drip irrigation systems cost $295 – $775. Drip irrigation has many benefits that help homeowners maintain a healthy garden.

National average cost$335
Typical price range$295 – $775
Extreme low-end cost$50
Extreme high-end cost$3,000

Rain barrel 

Rain barrels are an eco-friendly way to store water and reduce water bills. The average rain barrel costs $140, but local policies apply. Due to the environmental benefits, some states subsidize homeowners harvesting rain. However, other states prohibit rainwater collection. 

National average cost$140
Typical price range$120 – $160
Extreme low-end cost$120
Extreme high-end cost$5,000

Yard cleanup

Most homeowners need a yard cleanup in the fall. The typical cost of a yard cleanup is $205 – $805. The size of your yard and the type of services affect the price. Please see specific pricing by service in the table below. 

ServiceTypical cost
Mowing$50 – $190
Leaf removal$155 – $460
Debris removal$120 – $290
Garden clean-up$40 – $75 / hour
Weed control$75 – $170

Aeration

The national average cost of lawn aeration is $145, and the best time to aerate is during your grass’s peak growing season. Cool-season grass peaks in early fall or early spring, and warm-season grass peaks in late spring or early summer. 

National average cost$145
Typical price range$75 – $225
Extreme low-end cost$40
Extreme high-end cost$420

Dethatching

The typical cost of dethatching is $160 – $225, depending on your yard’s size, the amount of thatch, and weather conditions. Like aeration, grass’s peak growing season is the best time to dethatch your yard. The lawn care calendar for cool-season grass calls for dethatching in early fall or spring. 

National average cost$190
Typical price range$160 – $225
Extreme low-end cost$105
Extreme high-end cost$1,570

Pro cost vs. DIY cost

You can save money by learning how to winterize your sprinkler system. A do-it-yourself blowout is typically completed in one day costing $32 – $55 for an air compressor rental. Most homeowners can do a manual or automatic drain with $0 out-of-pocket cost. However, improper winterization can lead to costly repairs.

Winterization methodTypical DIY costTypical professional cost
Manual drain$0$65 – $150
Automatic drain$0$75 – $165
Blowout$32 – $55$85 – $235

Unless a licensed professional tells you that you don’t need a blowout, it isn’t advisable to skip it. Any water left in the pipes can cause significant damage to your sprinkler system. Furthermore, many sprinkler care contractors guarantee their work, so you know you won’t get stuck with expensive repairs. 

Cost of winterizing sprinklers by location

The cost of sprinkler winterization depends on the local cost of labor and the local climate.

Firstly, local labor costs vary depending on the local cost of living, service demand, and service providers’ availability. Sprinkler maintenance specialists typically charge $55 – $105 per hour, but prices vary by location.

Secondly, your local climate affects sprinkler winterization costs. For example, warm tropical climates, such as sunny south Florida, do not freeze, so winterizing costs $0. Conversely, climates with a lot of freezes may require extra visits. Also, the cost of winterization may be higher if you live somewhere that doesn’t usually freeze but is getting unusually cold weather.

FAQ

How much does sprinkler system activation cost?

Sprinkler systems need activation in the spring, and sprinkler system activation typically costs $45 – $150. You can save money by purchasing an annual irrigation service contract that includes winterization and inspections. 

How much is a sprinkler tune-up?

A sprinkler tune-up typically costs $75 – $120. When you reactivate in the spring, getting a tune-up is a good idea. The price depends on the number of watering zones and the type of sprinkler heads. 

Will my sprinklers freeze at 20 degrees?

Yes, your sprinklers will freeze at 20°F. Water freezes at 32°F / 0°C, so your sprinkler system is in danger of freezing any time the temperature drops below that level for a significant period of time.

How much air do you need for a sprinkler system blowout?

A 20 – 25 CFM (cubic feet per minute) air compressor has enough air volume to blow out a sprinkler system. Any less than that won’t have the strength to push all the water out of your sprinklers.

Final Thoughts

If the leaves are changing, it’s probably time to winterize your sprinkler system. If you wait until after the first freeze, you are setting your sprinkler system up for disaster. Avoid costly repairs by contacting a sprinkler care pro near you before it’s too late.

Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.

Main Photo by: PxHere

Michelle Selzer

Michelle Selzer is a web developer, technical writer, and Linux enthusiast from the hills of Tennessee. Her hobbies include collecting toys, hiking to waterfalls, and writing short fan-fiction stories.