Do I need to "winterize" or even turn off my sprinkler system in Texas?

Hey folks, the other day I saw Rachio’s fine article about how to winterize your sprinkler system and it occurred to me: in my 20+ years of owning a home in Texas, I never even knew this was a thing. I’ve always just manually shut off the system at the beginning of winter then turn it back on in the spring. Never even thought about blowing out the pipes. This brings up 2 questions:

  1. To anyone here in Texas (Dallas area): do you recommend doing this? I know we get occasional freezes, but we certainly don’t go for weeks or months with frozen ground, so I’m skeptical this is really necessary here. That said, I know I’ve had to replace pipes over the years. I’ve assumed that was due Texas’ shifting soils and the tree roots I’ve got going through my yard. I know it’s just speculation, but interested in what other folks do in the area.
  2. For those who don’t worry about blowing out your pipes: do you actually turn off/put in stand-by the Rachio? Or do you just leave it alone year-round and let its smarts do their thing?

Thank you!

My daughter lives in the Austin area. Never blows out her pipes, just puts the Rachio in standby. I’m in Charlotte, NC and even here, no-one blows out their pipes. Some years I put it in standby, some years I leave it on just to see the moisture detail stats and to occasionally add water to my birdbath.

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I put mine in standby, I do not blow out the pipes every year. When I have, not really much water came out. This tells me that I may have plenty of king drains in my system. I believe this is key.

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:rofl:

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I live North of Dallas and in 12 year at my home, I have never winterized my sprinklers like I used to do in Kansas. Not even during the hard freeze of 2/21. I think Rachio does not turn on when hard freeze is forecasted

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East Texas (Tyler) - Rachio has been enabled and working year-'round for almost 3 years, including the big freeze. Entire system (water supply, pipes, valves, flow meter) is underground. Valve-to-sprinklers generally designed to be down-hill. Rachio, running carefully configured flex-daily, WILL water when appropriate (Azaleas, Camellias, Magnolias still need some - Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine not so much). Rachio is still using less than half the water of system it replaced with better results. Recent addition of Tempest (KTXBULLA59) on the roof doesn’t hurt!

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We live just north of DFW in Denton Tx. We had not shutdown the irrigation system since ee built the house six years ago. That is till the big freeze two years ago. The city of Denton requires the anti siphon valve above ground, unlike what we had in Ft. Worth where everything was underground. We had a pipe freeze and rupture. There is a shut off valve above ground but it needs a shutoff below ground and to drain the system After having repairs I setup a regular appointment for the irrigation system to be shut off in November and turn it on in March.

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Ugh… sorry you had to go through that, but that’s helpful info, thank you. I’m actually not sure if any equipment on my setup is above ground - I’m not very familiar with all the components of a sprinkler system. I know there’s a box in the ground along my front sidewalk (next to the master water shut-off valve box from the city) related to my sprinkler system, but not sure what it does. Guess it’s time to start poking around!

Never drained the lines in central Texas even through SNOWVID 21 and freeze in 22. However, I would not irrigate just before a freeze (hours) as the water will not have time to seep out of the lines. 99% of the lines are buried deep enough so they won’t freeze, but don’t take a chance. On the other hand, my water collection PVC pipes are on top of the ground, and I didn’t drain them. They split in several places. Lesson learned.

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I live in the Dallas area. The company that treats my weeds recommends watering year round, though much less time during the “winter”. Fortunately, we seem to be getting enough rain that running the system may not be required. Also fortunately, my sprinkler system had no issues with the deadly ice storm of 2021.

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As a native Texan, I never winterized my system. Never had a need to. And with global warming (whether you believe in it or not), you probably won’t have to worry. Worry about whether you will have water to run thru it. However, as a Northwesterner for almost ten years, winterizing is imperative. If you ever anticipate extended cold temperatures say 20-25 degrees in your winter, then prep. Turn off your source, create an air gap to your distribution system and blow out those lines. May seem extreme, but it takes me one hour to clear my entire system. The next Spring, and a week before water becomes available, I reconnect everything, perform an air pressure test to confirm no leaks. Then when my water source comes up to pressure, everything is ready to go. One side benefit to this process is blowing out some of the silt accumulation in my distribution lines. Good luck!

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I’m in Indiana, so ya I have to blow mine out, but last year, I was a bit early turning my back on, and we had a late freeze and on day 2 my BFP ruptured and made a geyser on the side of my house. Neighbor called to complain I flooded his driveway. Such a pain to replace, as I broke an elbow underground trying to loosen the union.

So just keep in mind, 2 days of 25-30F, and your above ground stuff is at risk. I’m not sure how much time you can buy yourself if you run your system for some time to get new warm water into those lines during a cold snap.

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Interesting…I live in Houston and have always winterized my irrigation system. Easy to do and little downside. Every year there are Nextdoor messages from neighbors about the backflow preventer freezing. Same has happened to several friends during cold snaps in the last several years, so I figure I would do it at least during Dec-Feb.

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