Bleeding or “winterizing” your home’s sprinkler system is one way to protect your sprinkler system from freezing during the winter. An easy way to do this is to drain the pipes and then blow them out with an air compressor to dry. Compressed air flowing through your sprinkler system prevents pipes from cracking and exploding. Here’s a simple step-by-step process that you can follow to vent your sprinkler system.
Vent your sprinkler system to avoid potential problems.
Locate and switch off the main water valve for your sprinkler system by turning the valve clockwise until it is fully closed. You will find the main water valve in front of your house near the control box of your sprinkler system.
Find the sprinkler head. Dig a 7-inch diameter area with a shovel around the sprinkler system. Be sure to expose both the sprinkler head and the riser connected to a series of underground water pipes. Look for the brass vacuum breaker, which is usually located in front of the sprinkler valve block.
Disconnect the sprinkler head from the main water line. Using a flat-bladed screwdriver, loosen the screws holding the sprinkler head in the sprinkler system. While holding the sprinkler head, turn it counterclockwise to disconnect the head from the system with a power outlet. Pull the sprinkler head out of the system with your hands. If necessary, you can also use pliers.
Empty the main valve into a bucket by turning it clockwise with a socket wrench. Place another bucket either under the main drain or under its main shut-off valve when you open the drain button. Keep the button open until the water is completely drained from the system.
Connect the compressor to the vacuum breaker. Locate the two threaded vent valves on the side of the vacuum breaker and then remove the black caps on the bottom of the threads. Attach compressor universal connector to exposed vent valves. Make sure that the air compressor is in the correct position before tightening.
With a pressure build-up of 40 t, turn on the air compressor at 80 psi or pounds per square inch. Make sure that you do not exceed the regulated 80 psi. Make sure all the bleed valves in your sprinkler system are in their normal “open” position. Activate the compressor and drive it until the compressor has completely drained the water from your sprinkler system. Close the valve and repeat this process in sequence with all the valves in the system. (See references 3, page – 107-111 and page – 139-140)
Turn off the main controller on the control panel to make sure that the water does not flow back into the piping until you want to reuse the system.