How to drain your sprinkler system

Cowboy Lawn and SprinklerSprinkler, Sprinkler Blowout

4 Simple Steps: Draining Sprinkler System

Draining your sprinkler system is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps prevent freezing damage by removing water from the pipes, which can expand and cause them to burst during cold temperatures. Additionally, draining the system protects its components, such as valves and fittings, from potential damage due to frozen water. By eliminating standing water, you can also avoid the growth of mold, mildew, and other harmful microorganisms in the pipes. Regularly draining your sprinkler system as part of winterization maintenance can ultimately extend its lifespan by preventing damage and deterioration caused by freezing water. Overall, proper drainage is crucial for preserving the functionality and longevity of your irrigation system, particularly during winter when freezing temperatures pose a significant risk.

  1. Locate and Shut Off the Water Supply:
    • Every underground sprinkler system has a primary shut-off point, usually found in a basement, crawlspace, or buried in a valve box. Valve boxes are typically buried up to 5 feet underground and may require a specialized long key for access. If the key is missing, contact the system installer or manufacturer for a replacement.
    • The shut-off valve should turn easily without excessive force. Simply turn it clockwise or to the “off” position.
    • Depending on your system, the water supply valve can be a “gate valve” or a quarter-turn “ball valve.”
      • For a gate valve, turn it clockwise to close. Additional force to completely close this type of valve may be required.
      • For a ball valve, position the handle perpendicular to the pipe to shut off the water flow. Ball valves are closed completely if they are turned 1/4 turn.
  2. Prepare the Exterior Lines and Backflow Prevention Device:
    • Set isolation valves (blue handles in image) to 45-degree angles. Set test cock valves (2 brass valves that typically use a flat head screw driver to turn) to 45-degree angles. This allows air into the lines to create a vacuum, draining standing water from interior lines. Keep these valves at 45-degree angles throughout the winter.
  3. Drain the Exterior Lines and Valve Box(es):
    • Look for the in-ground valve boxes, usually situated near the backflow prevention device. These boxes are often covered with green circular or rectangular lids.
    • Inside these boxes, you may find a drain that can be opened manually or with a drain wrench.
    • Open the drain to allow water to flow out.
    • IMPORTANT: If you’re having your sprinkler system blown out, ensure to close this drain. This prevents our compressors from blowing out your box or damaging your valves.
  4. Drain the Interior Lines:
    • Locate your drain, usually positioned on or near the sprinkler water supply shut-off valve. The drain may be a small brass nipple with a grooved cap located on the shut-off valve or it may resemble an outdoor water faucet close to the shut-off valve.
    • Open the drain and catch any draining water with a cup or bucket.
    • The water flow should not be under high pressure. If it persists for more than 60 seconds, ensure the sprinkler water supply is off and verify the correct drain.
    • The amount of water drained depends on the length of your pipes.

Check out the YouTube video by the City of Broomfield to get a better look at the steps needed to turn off and drain your sprinkler system: How to winterize your sprinkler

Looking for the steps needed to prepare for Cowboy Lawn and Sprinkler to blowout your sprinkler system? Click here: Express Blowout Only Draining Steps

Having issues with your system leaking after your turn off the water supply to your sprinkler or did you forget to turn off the water to your sprinkler prior to us arriving to blowout your system? Click here: Troubleshooting Sprinkler Blowout Issues

Final Checks and Assistance:

If unsure about completing these steps correctly or have any questions, reach out to us at INFO@LAWNCOWBOYS.COM or 720-515-8020.

Remember, the crucial part of winterizing your sprinkler system is draining the backflow prevention device and interior sprinkler lines to prevent freezing.