The coldest season has finally arrived, and along with it, the crucial process begins in gearing up your outdoor equipment for its onslaught: in other words, winterizing them.
The others will be stored inside garden sheds or garages, safe from the cold. But what about your lawn sprinklers? You could not uproot it and bring it to your garage. You are dealing with a complex scheme of pipework, devices, and hoses that are usually situated underground.
The reply is air compressor sprinkler for blow out.
What is air compressor for sprinkler blowout?
It is also called irrigation blowout. It is the winterizing procedure that your yard watering system needs to undergo. So it will continue to be operational in the cold months ahead.
You also need to ask yourself: Do I need to winterize my sprinkler system? Definitely, yes, and you will be learning the exact way of doing it.
The principal rationale for cleaning out the lawn watering equipment once per year before the arrival of freezing weather is to discharge all the holdover liquid in the piping once the entire contraption is shut down temporarily.
If done correctly, the piping can be expunged and become dry, preventing possible harm from water deposits that originate from the changing of seasons.
When an effective expungement occurs, there would not be any liquid left in the whole pipework if your home undergoes cold conditions. If the temperature drops to extreme freezing levels, you would not have to worry anymore that the lawn sprinklers would not have buildup because no liquids will remain.
The many sections of the entire sprinkler contraption are created to transport liquids from the water tank to your lawn grass. The inner portions of the pipework should not have any leftover water for an extended period since there is a likelihood that it will be eaten away by rust. By letting out all of the leftover liquids within the piping, it would not be susceptible to any corrosive elements or growth of mold.
Besides the expectorating effect of the blowout procedure, it will also guarantee that your lawn water system will still function in the coming summer. That would mean you will have to water your lawn again every day.
When should you blow out your sprinklers?
The best time to do it is in autumn. Doing it at that time will enable you to plan, thus avoiding expensive repairs.
The next question is: How to blow out your lawn compressor system? The answer: by utilizing an air compressor.
Using an air compressor for sprinkler blowout
If you use an air compressor for a sprinkler system, you can efficaciously clean out any holdover liquid when summertime ends. Before closing it down for the cold months ahead, pressurized air can provide the required power to drive out leftover standing water throughout the lawn system.
Pipes are designed to transport water from one point to another and not for storing it. Even though the kind of piping that carries water to your house may have a continuous flow, it is a different matter in your sprinkler lawn system, which is utilized only a few times each year. With a powerful burst of restorative air, leftover liquids will be ejected out.
A sprinkler compressor can also aid in maintaining proper water current throughout the sprinkler system whenever springtime arrives to activate it again. Compressed air drives liquids through the piping and going out the spouts, clearing out water that has the potential to freeze and cause damage.
Ice within the pipes can potentially be a big problem if not discovered in time, so you should be aware of this issue and treat it seriously. Even though some people may think it is not a big deal and the warm weather can unfreeze the ice, you have to assume the worst and be ready for countermeasures.
Compressed air can serve as a cleansing element throughout your yard water system. After a burst of powerful air is spewed in each section of the whole pipe framework, it will be free of any residual liquid that can lead to rust and mold during the time it’s inactive.
What type of air compressor to blow out sprinklers?
When you execute this winterization method of home air compressor blowout, you have to understand its mechanics as well as knowing the necessities that fit the requirements of the particular project.
We look at five of the most effective air compressors available in the market today, along with their strengths.
Five best air compressors to blow out sprinklers
- Most durable and quiet: California Air Tools 10020C
This hardy piece of machinery showcases a specially-created pump that has 3k plus hour life cycle. And also oil-free. It is perfect for doing the winterizing task of letting all the water out of the sprinkler system.
Not needing oil necessitates lesser maintenance and saves you money compared to oil-necessary compressors. It also has a powerful 2.0 HP engine, which allows for 125 PSI maximum pressure. It, in turn, has more than enough power to engage in section by section sprinkler blowout.
It also has a large tank that can fit ten gallons of air and is very lightweight at 82.5 pounds. Lastly, it has a wheeled framework that is ideal for occasional users who utilize it for sprinkler maintenance only.
- Most powerful: NorthStar GX390
Among the five cited, it is the most potent and can easily expunge the water from the sprinkler system. It has an equally robust Honda GX390 Ohv motor.
It can function with a maximum pressure of 175 PSI that is a comparatively higher and stronger force in the air compressor for sprinkler blowout.
Its tank capacity can accumulate 30 gallons of air, which is quite a lot for blowing out the lawn irrigation system.
Its chief disadvantage is that it is heavy because it weighs 492 pounds, more than four times the weight of the first one mentioned above. You need a wheeled platform to move it around. Another is its incredibly high price, costing from 1k to 2k dollars. If you need it for sprinkler maintenance, it would be better to select another one that’s cheaper and less hefty.
- Most portable: Campbell Hausfeld (VT6271)
It is a well-rounded piece of machinery, which essentially can do the necessary task. It showcases a 3.7 HP engine that has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI.
It also has a great pressure turnout of 10.2 CFM at 90 PSI. It is more than adequate to finish the zone-by-zone method of the lawn water system.
Its tank has the capacity of a thirty-gallon air intake. It makes the unit heavier, weighing 163 pounds. However, its design and wheeled framework make it ideal and mobile equipment. It makes it easy for storing. It is a bit costly, whose price range from 600 to 700 dollars.
- Most quiet: Eagle (EA-6500)
This unit is adept enough to provide both power and portability in such a compact frame. And functions as quietly as possible. The sound emitted at a distance of 25 feet is 53 dB.
It has a powerful 2.5 HP motor and can attain a 125 PSI maximum pressure. It has an equally strong turnout that works well for blowing out the sprinkler pipework clear of any remaining liquids.
It is especially quiet, which allows you to utilize it inside the house without much bother. Its tank can hold twenty gallons of air which is more than adequate to perform the winterization tasks.
Besides its chief usage for sprinkler winterization, it is also adequate for other uses during the year. It costs about five hundred US dollars.
- Most versatile: Stealth 20 Gallon SAQ-12018 Air Compressor
This unit is practically perfect for winterizing your lawn equipment. It has a 150 PSI maximum pressure, runs on electricity, and without the use of oil.
It has a tank that can fit twenty gallons of air. It showcases a turnout of six CFM at forty PSI and five CFM at ninety PSI.
Even though this unit may not be as potent as the others, it emits an ultra-quiet noise that can work great for indoor purposes, besides its chief use of winterizing your outdoor sprinklers.
Also, it has a wheeled and lightweight framework, which allows you to bring it everywhere with ease. It cost about 400 US dollars.
What to look for
Now you know the best ones available in the market. The next question to ask yourself is: What air compressor do I need to blow out sprinklers?
The most important thing to take note of is which specifications matter to you when you are choosing the best one to buy. You have to balance many of its known elements like PSI, tank size, CFM, and mobility.
Air compressor requirements
- PSI- It is a unit of pressure that ascertains the measurement of stress applied in a particular situation. It means pound-force per square inch. With air compressors in general, a high PSI means the more powerful pressure it expels.
The ideal output for a unit is about fifty to eighty PSI, which depends on the type of pipework your system has.
- Tank size- To do the blowout task for the lawn pipework, you need a unit that can hold about four-five gallons of air. It will still depend on your specific needs and if you will be lugging it around and storing it indoors.
- CFM- It’s the acronym for cubic feet per minute. It is the air volume that the unit can supply. You will need at least five to six CFM to winterize your pipework. It will be enough to perform the zone-by-zone method. But if you want to blow out the whole pipework at once, you need a unit that has twenty CFM.
Step-by-step process in how to winterize you sprinkler system
At this stage, you have selected the perfect unit that fits your requirements. The next step is to do the actual task of expelling the liquids out of the sprinkler pipework before temporarily shutting it down for the winter.
Before starting, you will need to have these items with you:
- Air compressor hose
- Sprinkler bib adapter
- Protective eye googles
- Extra air compressor parts and fluid products to keep the unit running smoothly
I. Shut off the water supply
To be successful in removing the residual liquid in the irrigation pipelines, you first have to turn off the main water line to execute the first step. It enables the whole cleansing procedure to be accurate and thorough. The unit’s chief function is to expel the leftover liquids after the pipework has been naturally drained.
You shouldn’t rely on exclusively letting the pipework drain by itself. There will always be residual liquids that will remain.
When the time comes once a year to winterize your sprinkler lines, let it drain first the natural way, then do the blowout procedure. This practice ensures the longevity of your pipeline.
II. Open the hose bibs to drain the water
Once the water is entirely closed, you will have to open the hose bib found in the main sprinkler line. This procedure will let out pressure stored in the pipework and induce the air to be naturally expelled. If you would skip this step, the liquids will stagnate inside the pipes in large amounts once you stop it from functioning for the duration of the winter.
Leave it by itself for a couple of minutes to let it completely drain. If you have a wide lawn space with an equally massive sprinkler scheme spread out far and wide, this step is necessary to avoid high maintenance costs in the future. Once the pipework has been completely drained, you are ready to do the actual sprinkler blow-out task.
III. Testing the unit
Give it as much time as you can to drain out all residual water. Then it is time to switch on the air compressor to start the blowout procedure. How much power is needed to get the job done will be dependent on the kind of pipework and how long and many they are.
If the pipelines are made of tough PVC or polyvinyl chloride, experts recommend eighty PSI to finish the task. For black polyurethane pipework, fifty PSI will be enough force to drive out the remaining liquids.
Before you undertake the incoming chore, go through the user’s manual on the procedure to set it up and charge it. If your pipework has a broad scope and all-encompassing, blowing it out all at once is not a possibility. The best way to do it is through zone divisions.
To accomplish it, you need a portable air compressor for sprinkler blowout. If it is compact and has a wheeled framework, then so much the better. You would not have any trouble lugging it around in every zone location to set up the air hose. Set it down where the action will be.
IV. Preparing the hose
After surveying the entire pipeline and determining the necessary PSI in the unit, switch off the valve to shut down the motor. The previous step was to prepare it for the task at hand and reaffirm the PSI force needed right before going to the consecutive steps.
In this step, you will be assembling all the components. You will need a long hose to link up the unit and the sprinklers. The hose must be elastic yet strong and do not have any cracks or tears.
You also have to ensure that the unit is thoroughly clean inside before initiating the procedure. Make sure that no mist or dust will be transferred through the system by cleaning out the filter and draining the drip tray.
If possible, apply lubricant on the components inside the compressor that have not been maintained in a while. Also, examine the belts and other parts to ensure everything is in working condition.
V. Fasten the hose
At this stage, the hose and the unit are now ready for the blowout process. Fasten the hose into the bib situated on the sprinkler’s mainline. If any problems arise in fitting both pieces, connect the bib to an adapter since bibs are not particularly designed with hoses and compressor units in mind. In most cases, the two pieces would not fit without the adapter.
Make sure both components are snugly fit each other. Check again if the hose does not have any leaks or tears since this would cause a degrading effect on the air pressure and cause a weak output.
All pieces must be in top condition. If any may seem defective, the entire blowout procedure will not perform in its utmost capacity.
VI. Activate the unit
It is now time to switch on the unit and perform the task. If you are doing it zone by zone, be sure it can blow out first the farthest sprinkler. Set the timer to trigger the blowout sequence in the order from last to first.
If you have a large property, start on the zones with sprinklers mounted on higher levels. Check if the unit has enough power and make adjustments.
VII. Open the compressor valve
At this stage, you have made adjustments, the fittings are connected properly, and you are finally ready for the procedure. Turn off the backflow valve first, then open the main valve of the compressor. The air should enter the sprinklers at a regular rate, not by powerful bursts.
The air will take its time to enter all pipework and spouts. Do not forget to wear protective goggles to stop flying debris in hitting your eyes.
VIII. Monitor the entire procedure
As the irrigation blowout continues, keep a close eye on the entire process, including the pressure indications on the unit. You have to be sure that it would not go over its maximum pressure and exert more energy than necessary and might cause it strain.
As time passes, the noise will lessen since all residual liquid is blown out. If the farthest sprinkler is also quiet, then you transfer to the next zone and do the whole process again.
IX. Go the next zone
The time spent blowing out the previous zone will be the same amount of time as the next one. In this instance, you are now aware of what to observe and listen to, thus making the process easier.
Check on the pressure level again and not go over the capacity. If this zone have lots of water trapped, the procedure might be a lot more intense that the first one. Once done, go to the next zone.
X. Finish all zones
Blowing out the third zone would not be difficult since you already know what to expect.
Always check on the pressure level of the compressor and would not exceed the maximum intensity. In most cases, it will take less than five minutes per zone for the blowout process to finish and expunge all leftover water on the pipework. Some zones might need to be blown out more than once to amply clear out all the liquids.
XI. Halt the blowout process
Once each zone has been blown out, the entire system should be clear of the water. As you are finishing the last zone, check on the spouts if there are no liquids anymore coming out. The whole process is finally over, and you can now shut off the compressor since unnecessary air pressure might cause stress to the inner pipes.
Now, you can feel assured that your whole sprinkler scheme is safe from the freezing effects of the winter months ahead. Once you turn it in when springtime comes, the entire system will work normally without any issues.
XII. Disconnect all the pieces
Once done, it’s time to take apart all the pieces and store them. Unplug the hose from the bib. Be sure that no excess air pressure is stuck in the lines. If there is, let it out.
Also, unplug the unit from the power source and store it safely, along with all the fittings.
You are finally done. Now you know the entire blowout method and the components you need. When the time comes the following year, you are confident that you can do the whole procedure again.