Properly draining your sprinkler system is essential for its longevity and winterization. By removing excess water from the system, you can prevent freezing, damage, and costly repairs. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of draining your sprinkler system to ensure its optimal performance and protection during the winter months.

How to Drain Sprinkler System?


Before starting the draining process, familiarize yourself with local regulations and guidelines regarding sprinkler system drainage. Gather the necessary tools and materials, including a hose, drain valves, and compressed air (if available).

Turning Off the Water Supply:

Locate the main water supply valve for your sprinkler system and shut it off. This valve is typically located near the point of connection to the main water line. After turning off the valve, release any remaining pressure by manually operating the system or opening drain valves.

Draining the Mainline:

Identify the lowest point in the mainline and attach a hose or open a drain valve at this location. Allow the water to drain completely from the mainline, ensuring there is no residual water left. To remove any remaining water, you can use compressed air to blow out the mainline. Be cautious and follow proper safety guidelines when using compressed air.

Draining the Lateral Lines and Sprinkler Heads:

Open each individual sprinkler head manually or using the controller to release any remaining water in the lateral lines and sprinkler heads. Allow the water to drain completely from these components. It is important to ensure that no water remains in the system to prevent freezing and potential damage.


Removing and Storing Sprinkler Heads (if applicable):

If your sprinkler heads are removable, unscrew and remove them from the system. Clean the sprinkler heads thoroughly to remove any debris and sediment. Store the sprinkler heads in a safe and dry place for the winter season to prevent damage.

Protecting Above-Ground Components (if applicable):

If you have above-ground components like backflow preventers, valves, or controllers, take extra precautions to protect them from freezing temperatures. Insulate these components using specialized insulation covers or blankets to shield them from the cold. This helps prevent damage and ensures their proper functioning when spring arrives.

Verifying Drainage Completion:

Double-check all drain valves, hoses, and sprinkler heads to ensure that no residual water is left in the system. Close all valves tightly to prevent any water from seeping back into the pipes. Proper drainage is crucial to avoid potential freezing and damage during winter.

System Maintenance and Winterization:

While draining your sprinkler system, take the opportunity to inspect the entire system for any leaks, damage, or worn-out components. Address any necessary repairs or replacements before winter sets in. Regular maintenance and winterization practices contribute to the long-term health and performance of your sprinkler system.


Why is it necessary to drain a sprinkler system?

Draining a sprinkler system is crucial to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. By removing water from the system, you prevent the expansion of water that can cause pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to crack or burst.

When should I drain my sprinkler system?

It is recommended to drain your sprinkler system before the first freeze of the season. This is typically in late fall or early winter, depending on your location. Check the local weather forecast and plan accordingly.


Can I leave water in the sprinkler system during winter?

It is not advisable to leave water in the sprinkler system during winter, especially in regions with freezing temperatures. Even small amounts of water can cause significant damage when it freezes and expands.

How long does it take to drain a sprinkler system?

The time it takes to drain a sprinkler system depends on the size and complexity of the system. It can range from a few hours for a smaller residential system to a full day for larger commercial systems.


By following this step-by-step guide, you can successfully drain your sprinkler system and protect it from potential winter damage. Taking the time to properly remove excess water and perform maintenance tasks ensures a well-maintained system that will serve you well in the coming seasons. By prioritizing winterization practices, you can extend the lifespan of your sprinkler system and enjoy a trouble-free irrigation experience.