Freezing temperatures and temperature swings can wreak havoc on pipes and valves, sprinkler systems, and outdoor faucets. The biggest problem to watch out for is flooding. Flooding is a double-edged sword as it can cause problems outside and inside your home. Read on to find out what happens if your sprinkler system freezes, and ways to prevent it from freezing.

What Happens if Sprinkler System Freezes?

When water freezes, it expands, and subjects all the components in the sprinkler system to pressure. As pressure builds, this can cause pipes and sprinkler heads to crack and leak, or burst. Failure to winterize your irrigation system can result in pooling on pathways and driveways. In turn, this can cause damage to the foundation of your home. Not only will the foundation of your home need to be repaired, so will the sprinkler system.


A flooded lawn due to cold weather busting sprinkler pipes is a major problem that can be expensive to fix. Because the ground is hard, water will find the path of least resistance and seep into the walls of your home. Dampness usually manifests in paint bubbles, which crack and fall off when dry.

A builder will only be able to determine the extent of the water damage come the summer months, once the building/house and ground have had time to dry out. This will involve a degree of excavation to establish the depth and extent of any damage on the outside. Only months later will the damage on the inside materialize.

Then of course there is the issue of the flooded lawn itself. A hard winter lawn can drown as the excessive water eventually penetrates the ground. In sloped yards, flooding can also cause mudslides. These problems are further exacerbated by winter rains and storms. A flooded lawn and any landslide may necessitate hiring professional landscapers to restore and repair the yard.


Tightly shut off and cover all outdoor faucets. Cover the faucets with a foam faucet cover to help insulate the pipes. You will also want to wrap any above-ground pipes with insulation tape. Be sure to wrap the main shut-off valve and shut off the water to your sprinkler system. Lastly, switch off the controller timer to the irrigation system completely. By following these steps, you can help prevent pipes from freezing during the cold winter months.

Be Proactive

If you suspect your sprinkler system has a leak, shut off the water supply to outside pipes to prevent further damage or flooding. Check the above-ground pipes and Inspect the yard for unusual wet patches and pools of water. If none are visible, run the sprinklers for twenty minutes. If there are still no visible signs of a leak in the yard, check the manifold. Inspect the pipes and valves for cracks. If you are still unsure about a possible water leak, consult a sprinkler system professional. It pays to be proactive and water-wise.

Additional Reading: Sprinkler Spruce-Up

Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Omaha’s Best Commercial & Residential Sprinkler Systems

Contact Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers to schedule a free estimate on a system install or to find out what you can do to make your existing system more efficient. We welcome commercial and residential clients. And remember, whether you need our services now… or later in the season, Your Healthy Lawn is Our Passion and we are only a phone call away! Call 402-934-7900 to schedule your service.