Sprinkler line winterizing...

Tired of paying to have the sprinkler lines blown out every winter, but I also don't want to have to replace lines and sprinkler heads in the spring :-)
I am wondering if I could buy one of those 150 psi "Husky" compressors from Home Depot and do it myself. Is that doable? And if so, where would I get the adapters to connect the compressor tube to the outside check-valve? Any ideas?
Thanks for any advise or any "alternate" ideas anyone might have.
Chris
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Chris Tidio wrote:

has been a successful investment. I presently shut off gate valve feeding the outside water line for the sprinkler system and two hose valves, connect the compressor air line to one of the hose lines and fire away at about 45 psi. The air line connection to the hose bib is via the female end of a washing machine hose connected to an air line coupling fitting secured by a hose clamp.
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Thanks, will try it. It's well worth the investment.
wrote:

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wrote:

Well, I should have asked the *right* questions, I guess :-)
I went to Home Depot and got a compressor. 155 psi, 3 gallons. I got the appropriate couplers, and run home to blow out the lines. Turned the water to the spronkler off and connected the compressor to one of the check valve inlets. I turned the first zone of the sprinkler valves on and started my new toy... The first zone, has three sprinkler heads, with about 35 feet of pipe to each head. A little bit of water came out of the first two sprinkler heads and then the pressure of the compresson dropped and no more water. Run back to home Depot, and talked to the guy in hardware (Seemed knowledgeable). Well he says, with such long rung and multiple sprinkler heads, you need a lot more that a 3 gallon compressor. I returned the small compressor and got a 6 gallon one. Went back home and tried again. I had a bit better luck this time, but still was not able to blow out some of the longer runs.
Chris
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I don't know about the cold factor, but to be self draining it would seem to require a uniformly sloping area. If you have areas that are basicly flat, then what? Here in NJ the sprinkler trucks are all very busy pulling around rented air compressors every Fall. However part of that could be that not designing them to be self-draining, even when easy to do, means more $$ in their pockets to blow them out every year.
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Around here, almost all the systems are installed by pulling the pipe using a machine that does that instead of actually digging a ditch. It's less work, nothing to fill in, less mess, etc. But that means you can't change the depth gradually along the way. And depending on where the soil is more compacted, roots, etc, that the pipe might wind up buried 7" in one spot, 3" in another spot along the same run.
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Have you checked with the people at Home Depot? They should have everything you need.
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All you need for connection is a male air hose quick connect fitting. That you should be able to find at any auto parts store, HD, or online. Harbor Freight Tools has them cheap. The fitting has male pipe threads, generally 3/8" on the other end so you just use whatever pvc plumbing parts necessary to make up either a permanent or temporary fitting that you can connect to your system at the appropriate spot. I added a permanent one together with a ball valve to my system.
Whether you can successfully blow out the system with a small compressor is a different story. I do mine easily with an old Sears shop compressor,that has babye a 15 gallon tank and does 9 CFM at 40psi. I let the tank get up to about 80psi, then turn on a zone. I only have 3 rotors per zone and 7 zones so it works OK. Used it one year on a friends house that had 10 zones, from 6 to 10 heads per zone. That was much more difficult and took a very long time because these smaller compressors can't deliver the air volume to do it effectively and quickly. The pros use large gas powered compressors that can blow out several zones at once in a couple minutes.
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Chris Tidio wrote:

I've got a 7-zone sprinkler system at a small commercial office building. Each zone has about 6 or 7 heads. Each time the system comes on in the summer, every head in each zone belches air for about 15 seconds before water starts shooting out of them. This doesn't just happen the very first time the system comes on for the season - it happens every time the system comes on.
I'm thinking that the heads or the lines have an automatic drain function that always kicks in when the system turns off, and therefore I don't need to blow the lines out in the fall.
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You are most likely correct. A well designed system has no need for compressed air. I live in Denver, and used to design and sell the parts for irrigation systems. We always tried to design for gravity drainage of the system. The common pipe for laterals here is polyethylene (poly) pipe. It can take a lot of water frozen inside of it, as long as the pipe is not completely full of water. One office building I had, the north zone in the shade sometimes still had ice in the pipe when we would turn the system on. It would melt out with no damage. That system was in use for well over twenty years, until the highway department widened the road, and dug it out. The sprinkler guys love to convince you that compressed air is required to keep from freezing damage. My current home has a very old system, but it does gravity drain.
Dale
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Although it's too late for a lot of you that have already bought compressors ...
You would have been better off buying just a small, portable air tank (5 or 10 gallons) and rig it up with the appropriate gate-valve and connectors to attach to your sprinkler plumbing.
http://z.about.com/d/homerepair/1/0/h/4/-/-/carry_tank_5gal.jpg
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/sjdiscounttools_2079_34448523
To fill the tank, either take it to a service station or buy a small electric compressor.
I rigged up a 5 gallon tank so that I have a medium-sized electric compressor connected to the tank as well as having the tank connected to the sprinker system at the same time. This minimizes the time it takes to disconnect / reconnect the tank to recharge it.
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/1VAP3
What you need to purge a sprinker line is a massive blast of high-pressure air - which some of you now realize comes mainly from having a large tank that's been pre-charged. And only turn on 1 zone at a time when you do it.
And you need a low-restriction gate or ball valve to let the air out of the tank and into the line with as little restriction as possible.
If you connect a low-capacity / low-volume air compressor to your system and find that you can't exceed a pressure of 30 psi then your sprinkler system is probably self-draining and the air is bleeding out the drain. You need more than 50 psi to force the heads up.
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