Removing water from within your sprinkler system before freezing winter temperatures set in is crucial to helping prevent damage. Now is the time to prep your system. You can do this by draining it manually, automatically, or by using the blow-out method.
Whatever technique you decide to use you should first turn off the main water supply to your sprinkler system. You’ll then shut off your system’s controller or timer—or switch it to rain mode—to shut down signals to the valves. Here’s more on the three draining techniques.
With this technique you should open all of your sprinkler system’s manual valves—this includes ones near its manifold. Next you’ll elevate all of the fittings so that the water within drains out fully—the fittings can crack if any water remains in the tubing and freezes.
This one is pretty simple. If your system has flush valves installed at low points in the line then each time the system shuts off the valves will open and release any water that remains in the lines. You simply need to check those valves to make sure they’re working properly.
You can use compressed air to blow water out of the lines of your sprinkler system with a basic home-size air compressor—just make sure the compressor has at least 50 psi of force (pounds per square inch). You should first remove all of the end fittings within your sprinkler system or you’ll run the risk of damaging the system. After you blow-out the manual drain valves make sure you close them.
You can perform this technique yourself, or hire a professional to do it—an irrigation specialist.
After draining water from your system be sure to remove any of the faucet assembly—like the timer, pressure regulator, or filter—and store them indoors where they’ll be protected from freezing temperatures. Seal the open faucet end of your system using a female hose fitting, or just cover it with some kind of barrier that’s secured in place. This will keep out dirt and prevent small animals from sheltering within the system over the winter months.
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