How to Drain Your Sprinkler System in 5 Easy Steps

image of a sprinkler

Just need to know how to drain your sprinklers? Jump to the Steps

What are the Parts of a Sprinkler System?

There are multiple parts to your irrigation system, and knowing what they are will ensure you can completely drain the backflow in your system. If you don’t drain the backflow, you risk broken/damaged pipes and other delicate parts. (Note: parts on your system may look slightly different, but will be this general shape.)


This section of piping actually has multiple important parts of your system in it. The two blue handles are both ball valves, and the top right valves are known as Petcock valves.

To the right is an example of a standpipe drain. This is the piece that connects into the ball valves and the petcock valve pictured above. The purpose of this drain is to prevent water getting trapped in the system. 

Inlet Drain Valve

An inlet drain valve, like this one, helps you avoid damage to the rest of your system. Without this piece, water may get stuck in your pipes.

Your Main Shut off valve may be a gate or ball valve. This photo is of a ball valve. It will be at the end of your system, and is used to cut the water from your sprinklers.

Main Shut off valve
Valve Pit

In Manual Drains, this valve pit needs to be open to ensure gravity can allow the system to drain properly.

How to Drain a Sprinkler System:


  1. Turn Off Your Water Supply Valve.
  2. Open All Inlet and Outlet Drain Valves and Backflow Preventer.
  3. Turn Inlet and Outlet Ball Valve Handles to a 45° angle.
  4. Open Drain Valve near Water Supply Valve to Drain Water from Backflow Preventer.
  5. Note: Some Systems Have Manual Drains and some have Automatic Drain Valves. In manual drain homes, Valve Boxes/Pits also need to be opened. This ensures the system drains properly.