winterize sprinkler system/air compressor??

michael814(z6 NJ)September 5, 2005

Every year I have paid a sprinkler system company to "winterize" my sprinkler system, which, as far as I can tell, simply means they blow out the lines with an air compressor. I want to save some money and do it myself. (I could also use an air compressor to blow out lines to swimming pool and blow up inflatable pool toys, so I would make use of it.) Anyone have advise as to what type of air compressor to buy.. i.e. they seem to be rated in terms of psi/cfm/hp/gallon, etc.

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Winterization of your sprinkler system is not an area that I would suggest skimping on, particularly up here where it gets cold.
If you search around you will find that the recommended compressor stats (for simple residential sprinkler system blowouts) are 10-25CFM at 60-80 PSI, a little further research and you will find that a compressor of this type is LARGE and EXPENSIVE, $1000.00+. Vastly more than you would ever need for blowing up pool toys and bike tires.

The volume of air is the crux for consumer grade compressors they just do not move *enough* air to clear the lines completely, the air will override the water leaving the pipe partially full of water, which accumulates in the low areas, and freezes...

I know a few folks who use their home compressors and have had no problems, I have also reinstalled systems where the freeze damage was so extensive replacement was the only cost effective approach.

BELIEVE me I am a do-it-yourself homeowner, in fact I just this weekend completed replacement of 50' of my house foundation which was do it yourself to the extreme.

It is my opinion that winterization by a proffesional is well worth the money.

Good luck

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 8:16AM
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coho(z8/9 N. Calif)

You could rent a large enough compressor, but be sure you have everything you need to hook up to your system and know what you are doing!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 12:16AM
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I have an Ingersoll Rand Air Compressor that I use at home and it's great. I don't really know about using it to winterize your sprinkler but you can check out the whole product line below and see if one fits your needs and is in your budget.

Here is a link that might be useful: IR Air Compressors

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Sorry, wrong link. Try this one!

Here is a link that might be useful: IR Air Compressors

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:03AM
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I've been using a 3.5HP Campbell Hausfeld unit with a 12 gallon tank for around 15 years in Massachusetts. Cost about $200 originally. Works fine for me, has paid for itself many times over, plus I use it for other tasks. Take your time, don't inject more than around 40 or so PSI into the lines, do each zone twice.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:30PM
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I have a similar setup to Steve_1, Bought at Home depot. The valve to my system has a drain plug. I bought a threaded adapter that screws over the stub and then converted to the threads required for an air fitting. I remove the cap on the valve, screw in the adapter, and connect the comrpressor. I run it at 30-40psi, and it works very well, and I run it twice for each zone too. Hiring someone is a waste of money. Takes me no more than 20 minutes each year, and I have 8 zones.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Thanks for all useful information, I am a starter to use air compressor, so please help me to solve my concerning.
Today, I bought a new HYUNDAI HPC2050 OilFree Air Compressor Kit, features: Tank 2Gal (7.5L), 1.3HP, 100PSI max, 2900RPM, CFM 0.4@90PSI, 0.5@40PSI, 120V/60Hz. Does it work for using to winterize your sprinkler? I'm afraid it is not enough power and make a terriable effect in next spring after I read all of article you post. Please give me suggestion, thanks in advance!
Very beginner, Lamlam

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 11:40PM
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bernd ny zone5

A friend of mine uses successfully a Sears Craftsman Compressor, model No. 919.167320, which has a 33gallon tank on a vertical mount with wheels. max psi is 150, 120v/15 amp.
He does one zone at a time. All sprinkler heads have to lift to pass all water, therefore there is a lot of air leakage requiring a large tank.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 5:34PM
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