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Winterize your sprinkler system


Before the first freeze of fall, make sure that you disconnect hoses from faucets when not in use so that they can properly drain. Also make sure that your sprinkler system is drained since temperatures can be below freezing over night. Exposed exterior pipes will freeze and crack. The sprinkler system has a shutoff valve on the inside of the house near the wall where the pipe exits the house to the valves. To drain the exterior pipes, there will either be an interior pipe with a faucet or 2 exterior elbow pipe fittings with drain plugs which can be opened toremove the water


To completely drain the exposed sprinkler system pipes, follow the procedure below


  1. 1. Set your automatic sprinkler control to the off setting.

  2. 2. Shut off the water at the valve located inside the house where the pipe exits to the sprinkler controls outside the wall.

  3. 3. Outside the house, where the pipe rises up to the highest point is a vacuum breaker. There are two small valves which require a screwdriver to open. They are often covered with rubber caps. Remove the caps, if present. Turn the screws 1/4 turn in either direction. You should be able to see the valve is open if you look in the end.

  4. 4. You are now ready to drain the water from the pipes. There are 2 types of drains. If you look where the pipe comes out of the house there is an elbow where the pipe goes up to the vacuum breaker. If this elbow has a small brass cap proceed to step 5 otherwise proceed to step 6.

  5. 5. Unscrew the brass cap to drain the pipe from the house. Replace the cap after the water stops flowing. Proceed to step 7.

  6. 6. If you do not have the brass cap, your drain is located inside the house. There is a valve or faucet connected to the sprinkler pipe. Follow the pipe from the inside wall until you find this valve. Note this is a different valve than the one used to shut off the water. Open the valve to drain the water. Use a small bucket or pan to catch any water if the system does not have a drain. Close the valve when the water stops flowing.

  7. 7. Now you need to drain the water between the vacuum breaker and the electric valves. If there is a second brass elbow with a cap next to the electric valves, open the cap to drain the water, then replace the cap.

  8. 8. Open each electric valve for 30 seconds to let the water drain out of the valve. There is either a black lever or screw to manually open the electric valves. Close the valves when done.

  9. 9. On the vacuum breaker from step 3, close the two valves by turning the screw 1/4 turn. Look into the end of the valve to make sure they are closed. Replace the rubber caps if present.

This completes the process. If you have any questions about this or need assistance, please let us know.