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How Much Does It Cost To Winterize Or Activate A Sprinkler System?

National Average Change Location | View National
$80
Typical Range
$51 - $111
Low End
$40
High End
$250

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Sprinkler System Maintenance Costs

The cost to winterize or activate a sprinkler system ranges from $51 and $111, or $80 on average. Maintenance during the irrigation season averages about $115, on top of these expenses.
To keep your sprinkler system working properly, it must receive regular maintenance from a professional plumber. The most common tasks you will need to complete is winterizing in the fall and activating them before spring. For the best result, it's better to hire a pro to handle these tasks.

Winterize Sprinkler System Cost

Winterizing your sprinkler system costs about $50 to $120. This range applies to homes with 1 to 6 zones. Properties with more zones may cost more.
Plumbers usually set the price for this service as a flat rate but may charge an hourly fee instead. The price to hire a plumber ranges from $45 to $200 per hour, depending on the service. Since this process may not require any new or replacement parts, you mostly pay for labor expenses.
Sprinkler winterizing is a must for homeowners who want to avoid plumbing problems during a cold winter. If your pipes break, you may have to pay an additional $150 to $350 to fix it. Water expands when it freezes. Any water trapped in a sprinkler system will put stress on the plumbing, possibly causing cracking and breakage.

Cost to Blow Out Sprinkler System

Hiring a pro to winterize your system will require about $80 to $85. Plumbers usually prefer to "blow out" the sprinkler because it works for almost all systems. This involves an air compressor to force the water out. If blowing out is not available, they may drain the valves manually or automatically if the system permits it.
Many homeowners choose to do this project on their own. If you do not have a great degree of slope to your land, you will need to pay $30 to $60 per day to rent an air compressor to blow out all the water. Given the cost comparison, it may be easier to schedule a pro to get this job done right.

Other Sprinkler Winterization Costs

After your irrigation system is clear of standing water, you only need to turn off the water supply valve and the controller. These tasks could only take a few minutes. Your plumber may do it for you as part of the winterization service. You should ask to be sure, if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself.
Get Your Sprinklers Winterized By a Pro
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Irrigation System Activation or Opening Costs

Getting the system ready for irrigation season costs $40 to $150. The service often comes at a flat rate. The process entails much more than just turning on the water main and hoping for the best.
Your professional will follow several steps:
  1. Inspect and clean the backflow preventer
  2. Turn on water supply
  3. Build pressure slowly to avoid damaging the valves and heads
  4. Identify possible leaks
  5. Test sprinkler system by zone
  6. Clean sprinkler heads
  7. Plan for repairs, if needed
It may not include additional charges for repairs or necessary upgrades.

Sprinkler System Replacement Costs

Activation occasionally shows problems in the sprinkler system that require replacement. Plumbers may charge a flat rate per item or divide up the estimate into parts and labor.
In addition to the average hourly labor charge of $45 to $200 for removal of broken parts and installation of equipment, homeowners can expect to pay these prices for new pieces:
  • Sprinkler heads: $2 to $20 per head
  • Valves: $5 to $25 per valve
  • PVC pipe: $0.50 to $2.00 per foot
  • Connecting pieces: $0.50 to $5.00 per item
Get Your Sprinklers Activated for the Spring
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Lawn Sprinkler Tune Up Costs

Homeowners pay $115 on average for additional sprinkler maintenance throughout the season. Proper activation for an irrigation system may prevent many possible concerns, but it is not a guarantee.
A regular tune-up includes:
  • visual inspection of the sprinkler heads and valves
  • testing system for pressure and function
  • cleaning and redirecting heads

Sprinkler Heads

The average expense to repair a sprinkler system is $250, including replacing broken parts like sprinkler heads.
During the spring and summer, you might start to see an area of your lawn or garden that looks drier than other areas. If so, it might be a good idea to check and see if that sprinkler head is clogged. Dirt and debris can easily block these parts, trapping them in the ground. Your professional can clean out the heads so they work properly.

Lawn Care Cost Considerations

Landscaping Maintenance$140 per service
Lawn Aeration$125 per service
Sod Replacement$0.90 to $2 per square foot

Sprinkler System Obstructions

The cost to maintain a lawn averages $140. These lawn care tasks are important to avoid obstructions in your irrigation system.
  1. Identify all sprinkler heads to know which areas to watch for overgrowth
  2. Position sprinklers so that water reaches soil, not just plants
  3. Maintain your lawn at least every 4-7 days
  4. Trim plants near heads to an appropriate height

Lawn Aeration

The cost to aerate a lawn comes to $125 on average. This service involves perforating the lawn with many small holes. It helps plant roots to better access air, water and nutrients needed for healthy growth.

Sod Replacement

The price to install new sod ranges from $0.90 to $2.00 per square foot. Regular irrigation upkeep usually does not require this service. If cleaning or repair calls for digging around the valves or sprinkler heads, homeowners may need to replace the existing grass or buy new sod.

DIY vs. Hiring an Irrigation Service

Homeowners who need to use an air compressor to blow out a sprinkler system may pay almost as much to rent the equipment ($30 to $60 per day) as the $80 to $85 average to have a professional do it for them. Some systems are designed to automatically force out water when the controller shuts down, making the remaining work short and simple for a homeowner to do. If you aren't sure what type of setup you have, or you don't feel comfortable opening your valves, you're better off hiring a pro.

Sprinkler System Service Agreements

Many companies offer prepaid service plans for yearly sprinkler maintenance. It is usually cheaper than paying when the work is done.
These agreements may feature:
  • lower fees for flat rate services
  • discounts on extra work, like repairs
  • the ability to choose a plan by the individual service or the year

DIY Fall Sprinkler System Maintenance

To save money, handy homeowners may be able to do many of these tasks on their own:
  • manually or automatically drain valves
  • turn water supply off
  • shut off controller
  • test system by zone
  • clean or reposition sprinkler heads
Get a quote from a sprinkler maintenance pro
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FAQs

When Should I Winterize my Sprinkler System?

The best time to winterize sprinklers comes in the fall before freezing temperatures hit. Homeowners must avoid leaving water in pipes that could freeze. If you live in a northern region, you may need to complete this process earlier in the season.

When Should I Open My Sprinkler System?

You should wait until low temperatures consistently sit above 32 degrees Fahrenheit to turn on your sprinkler system for the year. Although you can test your irrigation any time after that point, you may not need to use it until later in the spring.

How Much Does It Cost to Run an Irrigation System?

On average, homeowners will pay about $20 to $25 per month to use their sprinkler system. The typical American home uses 90 gallons per day on irrigation, which represents about 30% of a property's total water usage.
Annual Irrigation System Operation Costs
Activation$40-$150
Tune-Up$115
Winterization$51-$113
Water Usage*$100-$125
Total$306-$393
* Based on five months of use at an average cost of $20 to $25 per month
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