Draining Your Sprinkler System in an Emergency

This does NOT take the place of a proper winterization and blow out by a professional. However, if you turn on your irrigation too early, or a cold snap occurs and you have to shut down the irrigation system then follow these simple steps to mitigate the risk of a freezing backflow or sprinkler line.

  • Find your irrigation clock (this is the controller for your irrigation system and is typically found in the garage, mechanical room, or exterior of your home)
  • Turn the irrigation clock off. Make SURE that the clock is set to ‘OFF’ (This means not just unplugged or programmed to come off, but set to the off position)
  • Next go to the mechanical room where your sprinkler water line shut off can be found. Turn off the sprinkler irrigation line. NOTE: Remember that parallel is ON and perpendicular is OFF.
  • Drain the line inside the mechanical room. This is typically a brass piece that can be turned and looks like a metal cap.
  • Go to the exterior of the home where the sprinkler riser and back-flow are located. (This is the copper device with handles on it)
  • Turn the water to the OFF position. There are two handles and BOTH need to be shut off. REMEMBER that parallel is ON and perpendicular is OFF.
  • There are three drains that need to be opened up on the sprinkler riser. Two are protected with a plastic cap and close to the handles, and one looks like the drain on the sprinkler line in the mechanical room and is at the bottom of the sprinkler riser.
  • Open all three drains and let water drain out. You will need a flat head screwdriver or penny to turn two of the three drains.
  • There is a valve box located in the ground near your sprinkler riser. Open up the plastic lid and you can see the sprinkler line shut off- it will be apparent as it is a lever. Turn the water off here as well and drain.

It is up to you to determine if you will turn the irrigation back on again. And we always always always stress that you blow out your sprinklers each fall. Even though you have drained the system it does not mean that the irrigation lines won’t burst. A proper blowout is ALWAYS recommended.

Please reference our ‘Irrigation Start Up’ page AND always seek the help of an expert in this field if you have any questions or need assistance.