sprinkler winterization portland or


Portland Sprinkler Repair & Installation is a specialized business division of irrigation technicians operated by Shovel & Thumb. We are your expert and reliable source for repairs, upgrades, maintenance, and installations.

It is extremely important to check the sprinkler system when you start it up in the spring, but it is more important to preserve it for the winter when it will not be in use. This is an arduous process which involves having a deep understanding of irrigation systems.

Sprinkler system winterization is necessary because the remaining water left inside the pipes can end up causing huge damage. This can result in costly repairs when you decide to startup the system after the cold season.

Our expert irrigation technicians are accustomed to all sorts of sprinklers and will do a sublime job preparing your system for the frost ahead. Spending money on a professional service like ours can be a great investment that can save you a lot of money.

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You should winterize the irrigation system before frost sets in. If you have components of the system above ground, it is necessary to winterize the sprinklers before the cold season arrives. A strong frost will certainly damage the piping.

Those with underground systems have a little bit more flexibility, but they should still winterize their systems within a week of the first fall frost to avoid significant damage.

In Portland, OR, the first frost usually occurs between mid-October and the beginning of November. As such, it is important to winterize your irrigation system in September. The frost season ends during the first week of April, that is when you can begin the spring startup of the sprinkler system.


There are 3 main ways to drain a sprinkler system.

There is the manual way, which involves shutting off the main supply before draining all the individual zones. At the end, the boiler drain valve is used to remove the remaining water. Nonetheless, this method can easily leave some water in the pipes, especially when done by an amateur.

The automatic method is a bit more reliable. It involves using automatic drain valves to remove the water from individual zones before making use of the boiler valve. Like the manual draining method, there is a chance that water remains in the pipes or the backflow.

The most effective winterization method is known as the “Blow Out”, which makes use of compressed air to effectively remove all the water from the sprinkler system. However, there are safety precautions involved with this process and it is better to leave this to trained irrigation technicians.

lawn irrigation system


Most of the piping utilized in sprinkler systems is PVC. If water is not properly drained during the winterization, it will expand when it freezes and crack the pipes. Even alternative piping materials such as polyethylene can be ruptured due to the excess of water. In the worst-case scenario, it is possible for the freezing water to damage the entire irrigation system.

An extremely deep frost can cause the pipes to shatter completely. Nevertheless, a system that has been properly winterized might only lose a small part of the piping. Whereas, an improperly winterized system may break the entire pipe.

Lastly, the backflow preventer valve may be damaged if water is left in the system. Remember that this is the valve that separates the drinking water from the irrigation water. As a result, protecting the backflow preventer is extremely important to avoid contaminating the potable water supply.


After the frost season has passed, it is time to startup that irrigation system again. In Portland, OR, you can begin the sprinkler system spring startup between April and May.

Nonetheless, the spring startup process can be as complicated as the winterization and should ideally be left to the irrigation professionals. The spring startup involves checking all the individual components, including the pipes to see if they were damaged by the frost.

Proper maintenance will ensure the longevity and efficient functionality of a sprinkler system. Through vast experience and technical knowledge, our expert irrigation technicians can ensure your system is properly optimized. Call us now to book an appointment!