How To Drain Sprinkler System: A Step-By-Step Guide

If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, it’s important to know how to drain sprinkler system before winter sets in. Failing to properly drain the water from your irrigation system can lead to costly repairs and maintenance come springtime. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to properly drain your sprinkler system to avoid any potential damage.

Step 1: Turn off the Water Supply

The first step in how to drain sprinkler system is to turn off the water supply. Locate the main valve that controls the water supply to your irrigation system and turn it off. This valve is typically located near your water meter or in a valve box in your yard.

Step 2: Open all Valves and Drain the Water

Next, open all the valves on your sprinkler system to allow the water to drain out. This includes the backflow preventer, which is usually located near the main valve. You can also manually open each sprinkler valve to let the water drain out. Be sure to let the water drain completely.

Step 3: Use a Compressor to Remove Any Remaining Water

After you have drained as much water as possible from your system, you can use a compressor to blow out any remaining water. Connect the compressor to your sprinkler system using an air hose and blow out each sprinkler zone until no more water comes out.

Step 4: Remove and Store Sprinkler Heads

It’s a good idea to remove and store your sprinkler heads for the winter to protect them from damage. Use a wrench to unscrew each sprinkler head from its fitting and store them in a dry place.

Step 5: Inspect Your System for Damage

While you are draining your sprinkler system, take the opportunity to inspect it for any damage or wear and tear. Look for cracked pipes, broken sprinkler heads, or other issues that may need to be addressed before you use your system again in the spring.


Q: Why do I need to drain my sprinkler system?

A: Draining your sprinkler system is necessary to prevent any water from freezing and causing damage to your pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads.

Q: When should I drain my sprinkler system?

A: It’s best to drain your sprinkler system before the first freeze of the season. This will usually be in late fall or early winter, depending on your location.

Q: Can I drain my sprinkler system myself?

A: Yes, you can drain your sprinkler system yourself, but it’s important to follow the proper steps to avoid any damage to your system.

Q: Do I need a compressor to drain my sprinkler system?

A: While you don’t necessarily need a compressor to drain your sprinkler system, it can be helpful in removing any remaining water from your pipes and valves.


Learning how to drain sprinkler system is an important part of maintaining your irrigation system. By following these steps and properly draining your system before winter, you can avoid costly repairs and maintenance in the spring. If you have any questions or concerns about draining your sprinkler system, be sure to consult a professional for assistance.