Winter climates vary all throughout the United States which results in a custom irrigation schedule for every site. Winter can mean a total system shut down or limited watering days. Whatever your winterization plan is, Calsense has you covered. If you have any questions on how to keep your system operating through the winter, please contact your account manager. 

Winterizing Your Irrigation System: Areas with Freezing Temperatures

Areas that experience freezing temperatures need particular attention to irrigation pipes. If water is stagnant in irrigation pipes through a period of freezing temperatures the pipes as well as other components of the system are susceptible to breaking. These repairs can be expensive and time-consuming and are often not found until spring when the landscape needs to be watered again.

Manual Drain

One option when clearing out water in your pipes is a manual drain. You want to make sure that any pipes below ground or “freezing level” are cleared of water. To drain simply shut off the water supply to your irrigation and open all the manual drain valves. Then, drain the remaining water between the irrigation shut-off valve and the backflow device. This may leave some remnants of water left in backflow, piping, and sprinklers so another option is to use a compressor to blow out the pipes.

Blow Out Method

This technique is used to blow air through pipes to clear out water and prevent pipes from freezing. There are a few tools on your Calsense controller that may be helpful during this process:

  • CS3000 feature: Walk-thru – this feature allows you to open valves for set times in a specified order
  • CS-Remote / Mobile App – Use your mobile device to open and close valves remotely
  • Test Function – You can also use the controller test function to complete the process valve by valve


Helpful Hint: Also, it may help to “exercise” the valves turning them on so that the chance of them seizing up or being stuck in spring is less likely. Especially “Normally Open” valves that do not get exercised on a regular basis.

Areas without freezing temperatures

Areas like California (specifically southern California) typically irrigate year-round and only adjust the watering schedule according to weather and rain events. Since there is no winterization process it is important that you make sure your system health is up to date. Here are a few quick tips for our SoCal customers:

  1. Weathersense – If applicable make sure your controller is set up with the cloud-based Command Center Online central control software. Weathersense provides controllers real-time evapotranspiration (ET) and rain data without the need for an on-site ET Gage or Tipping Rain Bucket. This information is automatically shared with controllers in the field on a daily basis.
  2. No Water Days – If you are using a stand-alone controller make sure you are utilizing “no water days” if there is a rain or other weather event
  3. Rain Buckets – Double-check rain buckets are clear of debris. This should be done at least twice a year in fall and spring
  4. Rain Mini Clicks – If you use rain mini clicks make sure they are in good working condition. Many Rain Switch devices have a test button. Use the test button to verify the controller screen displays and verifies that the Rain Switch has been activated.

For More Help

If you have any questions about your particular irrigation system contact your Calsense Account Manager or Contact us here.  For more monthly quick tips subscribe to our newsletter.

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