Winterization advice

We got our first sprinkler system this year and have been quite happy with the Rachio. I just got our system blown out for the winter but have a couple of questions that I’d like to solicit advice about.

In a couple of the “blow out” instructions I found on the net, there were suggestions to have the clock run over the winter and cycle the solenoids for a minute or so every week or two. While this would be easy to do does anyone think it’s really necessary? I live in Denver and the valve box will freeze in the hard winter.

If the previous suggestion is “No, not necessary” what does Rachio suggest for the state of the controller over the winter? Unplugged; powered up but on standby mode; other?


Hey @davelr!
I have never heard about running the solenoids over the winter, so my best guess is this is probably not necessary. Hoping some of our irrigation experts on the forum can give you more advice on why that may be recommended and it’s benefits.
As for the state of your controller over the winter, we recommend keeping your controller plugged in, but on standby mode, this way your controller can continue to receive any firmware updates we may send out! Definitely not required, if you want to unplug it that’s not an issue at all, but we do recommend standby over unplugging. :blush: We are in Denver too! Patiently awaiting some real winter weather…

McKynzee :rachio:

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I don’t think winter solenoid cycling is necessary. I live in Denver metro area as well and have never done that, never had an issue. Seems like unnecessary cycling of the valves… Curious to see what other people think now though.

I leave my controller powered on in standby mode all winter. I’ve integrated my Iro with a home automation system, I leave it on to avoid loss of communication notifications. Some people like unplugging it, no reason to power the controller if you’re not watering. You shouldn’t have any issues if you decide to unplug it, either way works, comes down to personal preference. For those that mount their controller outside I’d suggest unplugging it and bringing it into the garage just to avoid extreme cold temps, haven’t read that from Rachio, just my opinion…

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The controller has a temperature range all the way down to -31F, so hopefullly it should be ok outside!


The only reason I would see cycling the system after it is blown out is to relieve pressure if you have a leaking shutoff valve. It is much better to brake a pipe instead of the valve manifold. Instead I would just leave a bleeder screw open on one of the valves.


Thanks everyone, appreciate the advice. Will just leave the controller on standby and bleeds and shutoffs half open.

I always let the solenoid valves run during the winter for 2 reasons. 1) I have a back yard that slopes uphill and snow melt and runoff can enter via the sprinkler heads and flow toward the valve manifold and even thought I have the manual lateral drain valves open and I also have auto drains at a few low spots - this will allow any water in lines to vent if any vacuum or pressure accrued from the infill. 2) Activating the solenoid allows the plunger seal to lift off the seat and keeps it functioning for the 6+ months of otherwise inactivity and also will let any water trapped above the diaphragm to dissipate/evaporate.

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