Hooking up a compressor to blow out sprinklers

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Old 10-28-07, 06:36 PM
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Hooking up a compressor to blow out sprinklers

Hey all,

I was looking for some advice on what kind of fitting I would need to hook up my compressor in order to blow out my sprinkler system for the winter.

Outside, I have a standard hose bib between the backflow preventer valve and the manifold where the zone valves are. Is there some kind of fitting that I don't know about that will allow me to attach a standard 3/8" threaded air line to a hose bib? Also, if such an adapter does exist, where would one find it?

I also have a 1/2" threaded valve in the basement (same as you would find on the wall behind a toilet) that is where I drain the standing water in the system after shutting off the supply. Could I hook up the air there instead?

I figure as long as I don't run the air pressure more than 45-50 psi or so I can't possibly damage anything since the normal water pressure here usually runs in the mid 50-psi range.

Am I on the right track?

Thanks,

Chris
 

Last edited by redshift; 10-28-07 at 06:37 PM. Reason: added more information
  #2  
Old 10-28-07, 07:17 PM
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I don't have a sprinkler system, but I made an adapter and I blow out all the garden hoses each fall. Hose is 3/4" male thread and I just fiddled with other adapters at Home Depot one day until I had my fitting. Seems to me it was three pieces total, but might have been four - not an overly complex piece.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 07:42 PM
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I purchased brass fittings at a local plumbing supply store near my house. The fitting I used was the same type of nipple that goes on the end of an air tool; my air hose hooks on to that nipple. I also made a "shut-off" out of a gate valve to hook up between the air hose and the anti-siphon valve so I can turn the air on and off right there instead of having to go back to the compressor, which is in my garage.

I had to buy a 90 degree elbow for the nipple because when they installed the ASV, they mounted it very close to my gas meter and it's too close to hook up the air hose without the elbow.

I don't remember the sizes of the fittings, but it's all standard stuff that can be purchased at any well stocked plumbing supply shop......Plus, when I went there; they already knew exactly what I was trying to do and what I needed. Don't got to Lowes or Home Depot unless you know exactly what you need, go to a place that does only plumbing supplies!

And remember; you're going to need a pretty good sized compressor to do the job. Don't try to do it with a little 10 gallon 2 horsepower compressor!
Phil
 
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Old 10-28-07, 09:35 PM
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Thanks, guys!

I'll stop off at the supply house on the way home from work tomorrow!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 10:52 PM
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No one helped me when I made mine and it took maybe three or four minutes. The plumbing supply house will probably only take one or two, though. Problem is, I now need to make a new one because I didn't put a shut off valve in mine and now I want one.
 
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Old 10-29-07, 05:01 AM
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>>>now need to make a new one because I didn't put a shut off valve in mine and now I want one
 
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Old 10-29-07, 07:00 AM
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Adaptor

Cut the fitting off of one end of a clothes washer hose and use a band clamp to attach your air compressor fitting. Good luck with your project.
 
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Old 10-29-07, 08:45 AM
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Hey, I never thought about the washer hose idea. I never thought it would hold, but I guess it only needs to hold standard water pressure and it's only temporary anyway.

Does anyone think there would be a problem with hooking up the air in the basement where the "toilet" valve (for want of a better name) is? It is inline with the water line feeding the sprinkler system just after the shutoff. It's a mixture of PEX and copper and does pass through the backflow preventer, but as far as I can think, it shouldn't be a problem passing air through instead of water.

I will be hooking up to the irrigation system outside this time since I don't have a choice. Next year though, I will have my air lines plumbed into the utility room where the incoming water is (I'll be finishing the basement next winter and would like to have a permanent air line down there for nailing, texturing, painting, and any other air tool activities I might think of in the future. It would be great to just plug into that, hook up to the the irrigation water line across the room, and not have to drag the compressor out of the garage or smash the plants pulling a heavy air line all the way around the house.

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-29-07, 04:56 PM
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that valve is commonly called a boiler drain valve and yes it will be ok to use it. I usually use a quick couple fitting for air tools the3/8 male end and thread it into either of the test ports of the bac-flo preventer, top is best though, to keep the bac flo from vibrating which can damage the poppit assy.febco rpavb's are very prone to this vibration and a small screww in the poppit will loosen and fall out. best spot is the boiler drain like you were talking about if you can access it.Note: make sure screw driver valve on the test port is open when using this method to blow out. Also make sure the ball valves on the bacflo are both opened when finished to ensure there is no water trapped in the hole of the ball, this trapped water will result in a burst out the side of the ball valve body when it freezes.
 
 

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