Pipes inside your home can crack or burst in the heart of winter if you don't protect them from the freezing cold. Precautions have to be taken with your outdoor irrigation plumbing, too, otherwise it could cost you.

John Glaser has been in the landscaping business for decades. There's one thing he gets a lot of last minute calls about.

"Can you winterize my irrigation? It's going to freeze tonight! Nobody remembers it until it's time to do it," says Glaser.

This is why now is the time to have a professional like Glaser come to your home and clean out the system.

"When you've got a system filled with water and the pipes are closed, if it gets cold enough for that water to freeze inside the pipes, obviously the pipes are going to crack," adds Glaser.

A compressor is used to flush the water out of your irrigation system and replace it with air. This protects the whole system from cold weather. Glaser says most people don't think about having this done while it's still fall.

"With as much rain as we have in the fall, you can pretty much shut off your irrigation system down now for the year and not have to worry about the rush when it does get cold," says Glaser.

The most important part to protect is the backflow preventer. It keeps water that flows through your irrigation system from moving into your drinking water. It's above-ground at most newer homes and can crack under the pressure of temperatures below 30°.

"That double check valve, if it freezes, can cost you hundreds of dollars to replace," says Glaser. But having to repair or replace the entire system can cost you thousands.

Glaser says if you don't have the system flushed, at least turn off the water supply to your irrigation, then drain and remove the backflow preventer.

"You can take the whole backflow preventer out and bring it in the house," adds Glaser. It can be easily removed using channel locks (large pliers) and a screw driver.