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Old 11-17-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


I need suggestions for a good compressor to use to blow out my sprinkler system. The going rate around my area is $75 for a company to do it. I find that to be very high for what they are doing. I've read online of people doing it themselves. Any suggestions?

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Old 11-17-2009, 08:24 PM   #2
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


$75.00 may seem expensive, however most home style air compresors do not have enough volume of air or cfm to remove all the water from the lines. If they freeze and burst it will be a lot more than the cost to have a pro do the work.

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Old 11-17-2009, 09:17 PM   #3
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


I understand that. I was asking if anyone could help me narrow down a decent compressor that can do the job. So far the only 10 CFM compressor that I have found is a Rigid model from HD. I dont trust the Rigid brand because I find many of the products offered are cheaply made.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:32 AM   #4
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


this would not even be close. You need a two stage unit about the size of a small car to completely clear lines if the yard is large. I do this every year for my system but use the tow behind units you see along road work. I do have a three stage unit in the shop that can handle the job ($3,500) but it takes too long to clear my 45 zones. The large compressor I use costs $13,000. And you need to know what you are doing. The correct pressure... sequencing the opening and clearing each zone... So I agree the $75 fee is very cheap.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:59 AM   #5
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


You could try to rent something but I agree this is one of those instances where the damage to your system trying to do it yourself would be hard to justify just to save $75. One blown apart remote valve out there in the system is going to cost you how much to have replaced?

Last edited by user1007; 11-18-2009 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:24 PM   #6
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


I understand the risk involved. Ive researched online what I need to do. But I also have seen the company guy do it at my house and I have to say that he did not do much. He connected a hose to the spiget, opened up one zone at a time with the controller in the basement and ran the compressor. I handed over a $75 check for a job that took less than 15 minutes (I only have 4 zones). The guy had more trouble going up and down the steps than he did with trying to figure out how to blow the system out.

I found out that I can rent a 10cfm compressor at HD for $37.
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Old 11-27-2009, 02:28 AM   #7
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoskee View Post
I understand the risk involved. Ive researched online what I need to do. But I also have seen the company guy do it at my house and I have to say that he did not do much. He connected a hose to the spiget, opened up one zone at a time with the controller in the basement and ran the compressor. I handed over a $75 check for a job that took less than 15 minutes (I only have 4 zones). The guy had more trouble going up and down the steps than he did with trying to figure out how to blow the system out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoskee View Post

I found out that I can rent a 10cfm compressor at HD for $37.

This reply might be a little late for a blow-out, but with the weather we're having this year, who knows? Go to a proper tool rental outfit. They will have the proper compressor for your needs. You will need a compressor that will give you 75-85 CFM. Pressure only has to be about 50-55psi for most systems, but you need the volume of air to push the water column to the end of the zone in one shot. If you don't get most of the water out in one shot, then the water will 'settle out'. Then you will be calling someone like me in the spring to replace the shattered lines.

Call the tool rental place before you pick up the compressor. You will want the proper size ball for your trailer hitch.

Get the proper tools to do the job properly. A professional doing a professional job will *always* make it look easy. $75 is more than I charge for a blow-out, but I don't know what the expenses are for your area. Compressors rent for $138 a day here. Hose rental is extra. I have my own hose, and I had to make up my own fittings/connections. I have about six different combinations that I have to have with me for all of the different combinations that are on clients systems. Rental, Insurance, licenses, training, knowledge, and my time doing it right the first time also costs.

$75 for a blow out - without any damage done to your irrigation system is a low price to pay. How much is your time worth?

To rent the compressor from HD, get it home, get the proper fittings, then take it back to HD will take about 4-6 hours, depending on travel time. The blow out itself will take *at least* an hour to an hour and a half with a compressor this small. Just as you get the lines starting to fill with air, you'll run out the reservoir. While you are waiting for it to re-fill, the water will be settling out. I've had client's tell me that they took 3-4 hours to blow their systems out. They still weren’t sure they had it all, so they then called me. With these small compressors, there is always water left in the lines. With or without their 'help' it's done in 10-15 minutes, including hose out, then hose in.

Good luck. Let us know how it worked out.
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:08 PM   #8
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


Update:

Went ahead and rented the HD compressor. Everything cleared out just fine. The two storage tanks for the air had just enough power to blow out my longest run in the backyard. I did that one twice just to make sure.

The only thing that I did not like about the entire experience was the feeling of being rushed to do everything due to the 4 hour rental window. I only have 4 zones and 3 out of the 4 are pretty short so it worked out for me.

Im not sure if it was worth the trouble. I might just get someone to do it in the future because when you add up the time I spent online, using different compressors and the like, I ended up waisting a lot of time.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:42 PM   #9
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


What was the cost if the rental, and how far did you have to go to get to HD?

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Old 02-03-2010, 03:18 PM   #10
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


I paid $38.29 for the 4 hour rental. Furtunately for me they opened up a new HD about 5 minutes from my house.
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:37 PM   #11
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


Well, If you were paying your self for this job,you would have earned $10.00 an hour.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:11 AM   #12
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Well, If you were paying your self for this job,you would have earned $10.00 an hour.
Earned? So let's figure it out. (If you were paying yourself)

Cost - rental $38.29 (+ or = 4 hours of your time)
Did you have to purchases any additional fittings to connect?

Even if HD is only 5 minutes away, you still loose (costs you) 1/2 an hour each trip.

How much is your time worth? Even to break even at $75.00 (the going rate in your area)

Not even including the fuel, insurance, and minimal wear and tear on your car/truck (yeah is small, but it's still a factor - you're not going to walk to HD and carry it home are you?)
$75.00
-$38.29
$36.71 divide that by five hours and your time would have to be less than $7.34/hour to make a profit.

And that is as long as you didn't have to purchase any fittings or other other parts to make the connections, and hopimg that you did get enough water out that you won't break anything with a freeze.

My time is worth more than $7.50 an hour to me. My spring start up's also include lots of extra new clients that like to do things themselves, but didn't do it right in the fall. Lots of repairs for me to fix when they turn the water on. It's not that the can't repair it, or don't know how to. It's more of they know that they don't have the tools, glue, primer, parts, and time to do a repair that I could do in a far shorter time.

I've had a long time client that always his own irrigation work at his home. I do all of the irrigation work at his three restaurants. He told me that he had a major leak that he couldn't find. So far he has put in about ten hours looking for it before giving up, and calling me. I found and repaired it in under two. While I was there, I was also able to see and fix three other small problems that he didn't even know that he had.

Some times some people don't understand that they can make more money doing what they know best, and that they can actually save money by hiring a contractor.

On the other hand, you have the satisfaction of doing the job yourself.

Mick
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:07 PM   #13
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what compressor can I use to blow out sprinkler system?


This time around the satisfaction was worth it. But in the long run, not having the right equipment at home, I think it I will pay. Now if I were to buy a compressor that is adequate for the job I would do it again. It just wont pay in the end to invest that amount of money for my current property due to our plans to move.

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