Temperatures in Northwest Florida can occasionally reach the low 20s or even lower. If water is left in the irrigation pump and it freezes, the pump can be severely damaged.
Draining the pump in the fall to protect it from freeze damage is a fairly simple operation. Standard lawn pumps have a 2 inch pipe that comes out of the ground, makes a 90 degree bend and attaches into the inlet on the front of the pump. Directly below the inlet at the bottom of the pump, near the ground is a drain plug. It usually looks like a regular bolt or it could have wings that facilitate turning a small valve.
Unscrew the bolt all the way out or turn the wings until they stop turning (about 4 or 5 turns.This opens the drain valve). There should be a hose spigot coming out of the top of the pump. Opening the valve on the spigot will release the vacuum and allow the water in the pump to drain out the hole at the bottom.
After the water is through draining out, replace the plug or close the valve and you are good for the winter. Be sure to turn the irrigation timer to the “off” position so the pump does not come on while it is drained.
In the spring, when you are ready to use the irrigation system, make sure the drain plug is in place or the drain valve is closed. Open the spigot at the top of the pump. Turn the pump on, then hold a garden hose to the mouth of the spigot to allow water to fill the pump. The pump should prime within approximately a minute. Close the spigot and you are set for the summer.