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Thread: What size air compressor is necessary?

  1. #1

    Question What size air compressor is necessary?

    I need to blow out the sprinkler system for the Winter.
    I live in NJ and heard it need 150 psi compressor.
    I read somewhere else I need 40psi and 10 cfm?
    Any affordable compressors for under $400?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    This is my second winter in an area requiring that same service. I find that a $30.00 visit/year from my landscape company is a lot cheaper than buying a new compressor plus fittings plus lugging hoses to the manifold..........
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    It seems 150 would be too high, because you risk blowing off the heads. Out here we don't have to do this, but it seems to me that 40PSI/10CFM would be more than adequate to get most of the water out of a system.

  4. #4
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default compressor

    I agree with JIMBO.
    Can you put a bubble of air an the system and then open one head at a time?

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member plumguy's Avatar
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    The compressor I use for winterizing and testing is a Sears Craftsman 3gallon 1.5 hp 150psi max(?). The tank is hot dog style,which I think was discontinued and replaced with a pancake style (2hp,4gal). I think they are around $200.00.

    I only winterize a couple of systems a year and yes I need all of the psi and at times a bigger tank. Definately need the pressure to push that water an open the heads as some of the heads are on long runs.

  6. #6
    DIY Member teamo's Avatar
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    I blow out my system every year with my 5hp 20 gal compressor. It takes about an hour to do 8 zones because the compressor has to recover and refill the tank after every zone. I set the pressure on about 60 psi with good results. You could do it with a smaller compressor but it would take a little longer to complete. I usually do each zone twice to make sure that they are all cleaned out. A professional usually uses a much bigger compressor because they can't spend so much time at each house doing the job.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member plumguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thezster
    This is my second winter in an area requiring that same service. I find that a $30.00 visit/year from my landscape company is a lot cheaper than buying a new compressor plus fittings plus lugging hoses to the manifold..........
    Good Idea! My compressor is not big enough to do it on a daily basis. But, if I got a lot of calls for it.... I would probably sub it out instead of investing in and transporting a large compressor.

  8. #8
    Engineer jdkimes's Avatar
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    Default Where to apply air?

    Where do you normally put the air to blow the system?
    I just bought a compressor for some air tools so figured I'd do it. Last years in house didn't do it but had a couple of frozen heads break.
    I guess I'm asking how do you do it?

  9. #9

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    Depends on what is available, or not available, and how your system is layed out. If you have a hose connection, on each zone, you can put together an adapter to connect there.

    If there is no hose bibs available you are going to have to find a way to break into the supply line and attach the compressor there (with a water shutoff before). I use quick connects on the air hoses which makes it easy to connect.

    I would also suggest you limit your output pressure to around 50 pounds or so. I blow out each zone several times as you will probably go through your air quickly to the point of not being able to maintain 50 pounds (shut the zone down and let the pressure rebuild). You can control each zone either by your controller or manually at each valve.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Paul

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    Default You convinced me..

    After all the back and forth.... you guys convinced me.... Went out this morning and bought 3 fittings to adapt to my system... Blew it out with my 5gallon, 135psi compressor system designed for nail guns. Set the regulator on 70psi and went to town. Blew each zone with one "tankful", allowing the compressor to recharge fully between blows. Did each zone twice.... and it seems to have worked beautifully. $10 worth of fittings plus my labor (which my wife tells me is free) - beats the $50 I would normally pay...
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

  11. #11
    Engineer jdkimes's Avatar
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    Where did you put the fittings. The on/off valve for my sprinklers is about 4 feet under ground, turned with key on long pipe handle. then it comes up and makes 90deg turn in a box. Maybe there's a place to hook up there. I"ll look.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    I have a regular faucet inside my basement on a drop leg that leads to the outside pipes. Hooked up there, isolated the house pipes with the valve that leads there, opened the drop leg valve - then opened each zone individually as the compressor recharged.
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

  13. #13
    Engineer jdkimes's Avatar
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    INteresting, wonder if there's a reason not to use the outside hose bib that can be isolated from the house that is hooked between the house valve and the street (city supply valve)?
    I want to avoid putting in some new fittings if possible.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    Sounds like (here comes a dangerous assumption) your best spot would be after the shutoff valve and before the pipes go into the zone valve box. I would put a hose bib at that 90, allowing me to isolate the sprinkler system with the existing shut off valve and blow it out through the new hose bib. Unfortunately, that will leave water between the old shut off valve and the new hose bib - but you indicate that's underground. Here in this area of Colorado I don't think (here's the dangerous assumption part) you would have to worry about the buried pipe. You'll note I'm right up I-25 from you.
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

  15. #15

    Default Followup

    I wanted to know what size compressor to use. I eventually bought a sears
    30 gallon and did each zone a couple times. I used schedule 40 pvc. I understand that the black plastic pipe in a roll that they sell for this purpose is better to use than the ridgid pvc. I would even think a smaller compressor would do the job just fine.

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