Steps for Turning Off Your Sprinkler System

Don’t get swamped with a sprinkler system leak

Kristi Pahr
Written by Kristi Pahr
Updated March 28, 2022
Dow playing in the backyard with the sprinkler
Photo: Giacomo Augugliaro / Moment / Getty Images


Simple project; big impact.

Time to complete

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In the middle of summer, there’s nothing better than having an automatic sprinkler system take care of your watering duties. But sprinklers need maintenance and occasionally repair. Whether you’re prepping for winter’s deep freezes or have a leak, knowing how to turn off your sprinkler system is essential. 

How to Turn Off Your Irrigation System

If your sprinkler system leaks or you’re shutting it down for the winter, you’ll want to follow the steps for turning off your control panel and then turn off the water to the system. 

  1. Turn Off the System at the Control Panel

    Most outdoor sprinkler systems have an indoor control panel, usually in the garage. If your control panel is digital, it likely has a button to turn on the “rain mode,” which is a simple way to turn your system off but save the settings. 

    For long-term shut-off, you can simply power down the entire system. Each sprinkler system manufacturer has a different shutdown procedure, so check your manual or the manufacturer's website for step-by-step instructions.

  2. Close the Shut-Off Valve

    Closeup of a person shutting off water valve
    Photo: Steven White / iStock / Getty Images Plus

    The next step is to locate your shut-off valve. This mechanism is usually located in a basement or garage on an exterior wall. The shut-off is likely a ball valve. To close it, turn the handle perpendicular to the waterline it’s attached to.

  3. Drain Any Remaining Water

    After closing the shut-off valve, find the manual drain valves.These are located downstream from each zone of your system. Then, open the valves to drain any water remaining in the system.

  4. Remove Sprinkler Heads

    The final step of this process is to remove the sprinkler heads to drain the remaining water. That way, you’ll avoid damage from a freeze.

DIY Turning Off Your Sprinkler System Vs. Hiring a Pro 

Shutting down your sprinkler system manually is a reasonably simple task as long as the components of your system are in working condition. If you’re having trouble with a leaky system or other sprinkler-related issue, contact a local sprinkler service company to identify the problem.

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