DIY draining of lawn irrigation system?

We just bought a house with a Hunter in-ground sprinkler system. With winter approaching we need to drain and winterize the system.
- Is this a DIY project or should we get professionals?
- If we want to do it ourselves, how do we go about it and what special equipment do we need?
- If we go with a professional, what would it typically cost for a system with 9 zones?
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Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

Hi, I do it myself using air compressor. Not as powerful as pros use but it does the job taking little longer time. Where I live(Calgary Alberta), they charge 25.00 to 50.00. Tony
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its a diy project. with 9 zones, someone put some money into it. i would expect you have drains somewhere, find them.
randy

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If it was well designed, it would include drains and you need do nothing. Unfortunately, there are a lot of systems where no drains were installed, and since they are buried, it would be hard to find them.
The trick with doing it yourself is that you need a high volume air compressor (many home models are low volume), and a way to hook the air compressor into the system.
My suggestion would be to hire a professional for this year, but insist that you be able to watch him work. That way, you will see how to hook up the compressor. If a lot of water comes out of the heads when he injects the air, I would assume your system has no drains, and then you will have to decide whether to install drains, or get your own compressor, or continue using the professional. If, on the other hand, nothing but air comes out of the heads, I would take that as evidence that your system has drains, and you don't have to worry about blowing it out each year.
Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

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Good suggestion.
I will point out however, that you don't need a high volume/low pressure compressor. The pros do to make the job go as fast as possible, but it is possible to blow out irrigation systems with much more modest equipment.
I blow mine out with a home built compressor made with a 3/4HP tankless compressor coupled to a 4gal (now 10gal) air tank. The unit barely manages 1CFM at 80PSI.
You need the tank to get the "burst" of high volume.
You'll also have to figure out how you're going to connect it.
I have a "Y"'d hose bib - one side is the 1" feed to the system, the other side is an ordinary hose valve to a hose reel. I disconnect the hosereel, and "backfeed" the compressor thru the valve, using the valve to control flow. Just need a M air compressor fitting to male hose connector to attach.
Takes about 40 minutes to do my 6 valve system (two main 1" branches, perhaps 500' of line all told). The other system (2 valves plus a sink) takes about 15 minutes.
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