Blowing Out Sprinklers

Sprinklers form a very important part of the piping system of any place. In some countries where the climates are not hot all the time, there\’s s snow and it\’s very cold, chances are the sprinklers can be blocked, which will in turn block the piping system. And, the rest won\’t turn out well.

So in order to prevent this from happening, there are many steps and precautions that need to be taken care of. For starters, we have to make sure that the piping system has been designed and is equipped in a way that it can sustain itself during the extremely cold weather. It\’s hard to imagine that even in the cold weather pipes can get affected, but that is definitely the case specially in places where it is cold more than it is hot.

Blowing out the sprinklers will help to prevent water from freezing in your pipes and damaging them, if you are living in a place where the frost level extends to your sprinkler pipes. If you mistakenly blew out the sprinkler, the head will shoot a self-propelled rocket, air compressor oil entering your drinking water or busted up pipes. Here are the steps on how to do the right way of blowing out the sprinklers.

You will need:

  1. Air compressor



  1. First, turn off the water supply to your sprinkler system and open the drain on the supply line. Close the drain after the supply line drains.
  2. You can purchase or borrow an air compressor with the suitable amount of cubic feet per minute. In general uses, most houses need at least 50 cubic feet per minute air compressors. For professional usage, you can use 125 cubic feet per minute for pipes up to 3 inches in a diameter and an air compressor with 250 cubic feet per minute for anything larger.
  3. Then, remove the back flow preventer, which is located after the irrigation shut off valve. Connect the air compressor to the back flow preventer rise. You have to make sure that the air does not pass through the pump or the back flow preventer as damage will definitely occur.
  4. Next, open valve at the highest elevation or the last valve before closing the rest of the valves. Turn off the air compressor. Keep monitoring the pressure and temperature. The pipes will melt if there is too much hot air getting in, so avoid pressure exceeding 50 PSI. You should stop for every two to three minutes to allow the air compressor to cool before continuing.
  5. Wait only until the air exits the valve and then you can turn off the air compressor; otherwise just wait until it has done its job.
  6. When it is done, you should turn off the air compressor. You can close the valve and open the next valve in line. Repeat the steps for each valve. You may need to open the last valve before turning off the air compressor and putting the back flow preventer back in place.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

Sprinklers & Watering Systems (Garden Maintenance)

Sprinklers & Drip Systems: The Right System for Your Yard, Step-by-step Sprinkler Installation, Building Effective Drip Systems