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Old 09-25-2018, 10:52 AM   #1
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Sprinkler Winterization


Hi All,


I'm an avid DIY'er....and I'm tired of spending around $65/year to get our sprinklers blown out. I think that is just way too high. I'd rather do it myself and save the $$$ every year.



Can someone recommend if this would be a good enough compressor to get the job done? I only have a pancake 3 Gallon Porter Cable right now, I know it doesn't have a high enough CFM to get my job done. I have 9 Zones in all, so its a pretty big/long system.


https://www.harborfreight.com/air-to...sor-61454.html


Also, I have attached a picture of my backflow device. I'm not 100% sure where to hook up the compressor to? I've read/heard that I don't want to put compressed air through the backflow, so I wouldn't want to connect at the bottom or through the test cocks.



Just after the backflow device, I see a possible connection point. This is where my Rid O Rust System injects into the line (to prevent rust stains from hard water). I suppose I could just remove that temporarily and blow it out through there.


If anyone has any suggestions, I'd appreciate it!


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Old 09-25-2018, 06:02 PM   #2
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


You can connect the compressor to the bottom of the pipe. The other spot is too small to provide enough air to blow out your system. I can't say if the compressor is big enough. It seems too small considering the size of compressor my contractor uses to blow out my system. As an example, one of my supply lines holds 100 gallons of water. The 21 gallon air tank seems too small.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:04 PM   #3
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


The 3 gallon compressor will definitely not have enough to blow out the lines. It's not the psi you need to worry about, it's the volume of air. I have a 30 gallon and it's barely enough to blow out one zone at a time and has to recover a lot. You won't want to go much over 50 psi, but the 21 gallon won't be enough air. That's why the companies have big gas compressors, large lines and storage tanks because they need the volume. $65 isn't that much. Ours charges $90 and that's in a little town with very low cost of living.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:07 PM   #4
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


I don't think that little pipe at the bottom is where they would blow out the lines either. I think that's where they drain the backflow preventer pipe in winter. I think there's a place somewhere else where the main line feeds that they would blow it out, but I could be wrong on that.
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:01 PM   #5
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


I have a spigot on my system where the tee comes out of the house. My contractor has an adapter that connects the compressor to the hose threads and blows it out from there.
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Old 09-26-2018, 09:38 AM   #6
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


Thanks for responding and providing feedback everyone. I've read SO many mixed reviews on blowing out through the test cocks. Some say do, some say don't. I've seen more that do than don't.........and I'm sure as long as you keep the pressure around 60Psi or less the PVB would be fine.............but, seeing as I already have a connection point after the PVB, I'll just connect to that. That's just my injection for my Rid O Rust system. I can simply remove that by hand, and then buy the adapter for the hose for 1/2" NPT and should be fine. That way I'm not risking blowing any air back through the PVB. I'll simply close that top ball valve and no air will get through it. I'll drain the PVB with the test cocks and unscrew the white drain piece and I should be good to go.


Someone else in another forum made a good point. If I connect to the bottom of the PVB (where that white drain cap is), I'd be introducing air back into the house. There is still going to be some water between that section, and the ball valve on the inside of the house. I don't know what introducing air in there would do (with water in there), but I don't want to find out. Unfortunately, I don't have a drain on the inside of the house to get the remaining water out. My Irrigation guy installed that system, so for whatever reason, they didn't put a drain inside. It's not been a problem ever since it's inside the house, so they probably figured why bother since it won't be freezing inside the house.




Last edited by gibbywmu; 09-26-2018 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:01 PM   #7
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


You need a compressor that will deliver 10 cu. ft. a minute, and it needs to be set at a maximum 80 psi for pvc pipe or 50 psi for black polyethylene pipe
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Old 09-26-2018, 04:21 PM   #8
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


I disagree about needing a compressor that does 10 CFM. There are many, many people that blow their systems out that do not have Industrial Size Compressors capable of producing 10 CFM. I may have to do each Zone a few times, but I'll get out enough water with the compressor that I have now.
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Old 09-26-2018, 05:30 PM   #9
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


Your allowed to disagree, you asked for suggestions and i gave you the recommendations for doing the job in a timely manner, and maximum pressure for both kinds of pipe, with 9 zones i'd guess you'll get the job done, but will probably take a while, in fact after a while you may reconsider the $65.00 charge as being reasonable.
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:31 AM   #10
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Re: Sprinkler Winterization


A few things.

1. CFM from the tank has nothing to do with CFM from the compressor section. You better believe that compressor can do the job. I actually used one to stimulate a water well and indeed the outlet off the regular was puny. I tapped into the bottom of the tank and I could dump the tank of seconds. CFM of a compressor indicates its compressed air delivery to the tank.

2. You do NOT need to get out every little drop of water in the system! As long as there is expansion space in the pipe, you are golden. I would not waste the day purging each zone 10x.

3. 100gal of water does NOT equal 100gal of compressed air! Roughly, if you pump that tank to 125psi you will have about 178gal of air in there down to 0psig. You won't get to 0 because your valves will shut down. Probably about 20psi or so.

4. As other mentioned, make sure you set and test your air regulator and I would not exceed 50psi. We like to have a valve open before applying air. It might be needed to buy a REAL regulator that can do some CFM though. As I mentioned, some of these candy box pieces of sh** move very little air because the air pump is small.

My personal choice is to build a high flow reg just for the irrigation and put a pipe nipple directly on the air tank and bypass everything. Put a ball valve on the reg and take all that jaz out to the application point. We typically install a ball valve and air fitting on the main so when it comes time, you just hook on and jam.

ALSO, if you have a low pressure shrub zone, you want to be more careful here to ensure you are getting the water out. That can take some time. We typically will crack the air to get the valve open and leave it partial open for some time. Again, get all the water out is not needed. You go disconnect your hose from the house and let it lay there all winter with water in and let me know if that thing breaks on ya! lol
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