How to Blow Out a Sprinkler System

A working sprinkler.
It is vital to protect your outdoor property during winter. Malorny / Getty Images

Those living in northern areas that receive frost and snow know how important it is to protect outdoor property to ensure that it's operating when the temperatures rise in the spring. Read the steps listed below and learn about how you can blow out your sprinkler system and get it ready for the cold winter months.

  1. Turn the water off. Depending on how your system was built, you will be able to find the master shut off valve in the basement, utility room or outdoor shed.
  2. Manually drain the water from the system. Reduce the pressure flowing through your system's pipes by opening the hose bib. Catch the water running from the pipes with a large bucket. Remember the water is going to spurt due to the pressure in the pipes, so you're going to get wet [source: Zawacki].
  3. Rent or purchase an air compressor from your local equipment-rental yard. Charge the compressor. Most compressors can charge up to 120 pounds per square inch, but never charge it that high. Using so much pressure may damage your sprinkler system. Most experts recommend that you charge the compressor to 60 pounds per square inch [source: Higgins, Swift].
  4. Attach the compressor to the hose bib, after checking that the compressor is off. You may have to be creative to get a secure seal between the hose bib and the compressor, because the fittings almost never match.
  5. Turn on the compressor and empty the hoses, starting with the furthest zone from you and working your way to the nearest. Keep the sprinkler on for approximately two minutes in each zone. Watch the water sprinkling from the system. When the water turns from mist to air, it's time to move onto the next zone. Once you have finished with the zone nearest you, you have blown out your sprinkler system [source: Zawacki].