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Advice on buying Air Compressor for winterizing Sprinkler System

Advice on buying Air Compressor for winterizing Sprinkler System

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  #1  
Old 01-26-08, 12:16 PM
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Advice on buying Air Compressor for winterizing Sprinkler System

Hello everyone,

This is my first post and I just signed up because I found these forums to be very useful and helpful.

I am a DIYer but not an advanced one. It is only upto a point I can handle things and beyond that I call for professional help.

I have been winterizing my 4 zone sprinkler system for the last 2 years by renting the Air Compressor from Home Depot. They have a small little DeWalt compressor (I don't know the specs on that) which I bring home for 4 hours, take it to the basement, hook it up to the Drain Valve, located after the Water Shut off for the sprinkler system and blow the air out, one zone at a time on all the four zone. I repeat the process the twice to make sure that all water is out of the pipes.

Just today, I have received a flyer where the Air Compressor is on sale for 1/2 price. I am thinking of buying this compressor that will also do away with the need of renting from Home Depot every year and it will pay itself in 3-4 years. The specs on this Air Compressor are as follows:

5 Gallon Air Compressor
Oil-lubricated pump, 3 hp peak, 1.3 hp running. Max 125 psi. 3400 rpm. 5.1 scfm @ 40psi. 4.1 scfm @ 90 psi.

Do the experts here think that this compressor will do the job. I read somewhere that don't try to winterize it with even a 10 gallon compressor but I am quite sure that the one I rent at Home Depot is no bigger that 10 gallon, may be even 5 gallon. I will have to go back and look at it again.

In any case, I need your advice if it will be a good idea to buy this compressor. Then I don't have to carry the rented one to my basement every year.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-26-08, 02:48 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I'd go to HD and find out what the cfm is on the one you rent. The cfm is probably the single most important info regarding air compressors. If the rental is the same or less than the one you want to buy, the one for sale will do your job.

I've never blown out a sprinkler system but do use quite a few air tools. If you think you will have need of more cfm for tools you expect to buy in the future it would make sense to purchace an air compressor big enough to handle them too.

Oil lubricated pumps that run off of a seperate motor are the best. The direct drive units are loud and I don't believe they last as long.
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-08, 04:09 PM
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Thanks Marksr for the reply.

I was able to search on HD's website and this is what they say about the compressor:

"4.5 CFM delivered at 100 PSI, recovers in less than 15 seconds and ergonomic design for easy portability."

I think this is the one I normally rent but I will still go there personally to check it out.

Is 4.5 cfm @ 100 psi the same as 4.1 cfm @ 90 psi ?

The one I am looking at delivers 4.1 CFM @ 90 psi and 5.1 cfm @ 40 psi. I am a little lost here. Does the cfm rating go up with lower psi or it is supposed to go down. If cfm delivered is higher at higher psi then obviously there is a mistake in the ad I am looking at. Again, I am not sure about this and it doesn't really matter as long as it does the job.

I am exactly in the same situation as Eklmn is in this thread http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=183103 and in the end he bought the compressor and since then has not reported back assuming it must be working out for him.

Also, I don't think I will be buying any Air Tools because winterizing is the only purpose I want to buy the compressor for.

Thank you....
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-08, 06:36 PM
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When it comes to blowing out a sprinkler system, within reason, the size of the air tank is a bit more important than the cfm.
When you open the air valve to blow out the line it is the initial rush of air that moves the highest volume of water.

If I were to choose a compressor for blowing out water lines I would pick the one with the biggest tank to move the most water and the highest cfm to let the tank pump up quickly between shots of air.

4 1/2 cfm isn't too bad for a home compressor.
Generally the compressor with highest cfm rating that can be used on a regular 115 volt 15 amp circuit is about 6 cfm @ 90 psi.

Which HD compressor were you looking at?
 
  #5  
Old 01-27-08, 12:18 PM
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Thanks GregH for the reply.

Here is the one that I rent from HD. Look at the Dewalt compressor at bottom of the page:

http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...ay=buying_tool

From the looks of it, I think it is the same as this one which is at another site for sale. You can look at more info on this page:

http://www.bigdboltandtool.com/d55155.html

And here is the one I am looking to buy:

http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/pr...861#product_aa

It is on sale for 1/2 price. I am thinking of picking up tomorrow.

Thanks.
 
  #6  
Old 01-27-08, 05:05 PM
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That compressor looks like it would work well for limited use and I am sure you will find additional things to do with it once you buy it.
 
  #7  
Old 01-28-08, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
That compressor looks like it would work well for limited use and I am sure you will find additional things to do with it once you buy it.
Thanks GregH. I think you helped me make my decision. I am going to pick one up this evening though I wouldn't know until fall how it goes. It will sit in my basement until then unless, as you said, I find some other uses of it once I buy it.

Only other thing I will need to know is how to make the attachment hose for winterizing the sprinkler system. Although I don't need it right away but it would sure be nice to have some ideas.

Thanks again.
 
  #8  
Old 01-28-08, 02:29 PM
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It is not difficult to figure out what fittings you need except we need to know what size and type of fitting is on the sprinkler system and what fitting is on the compressor.

The website did not appear to show what accessories come with it.
 
  #9  
Old 01-28-08, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
It is not difficult to figure out what fittings you need except we need to know what size and type of fitting is on the sprinkler system and what fitting is on the compressor.

The website did not appear to show what accessories come with it.
Well, from what I have used in the past that HD used to supply with their rental unit was an extension hose, one end of which will connect to the compressor hose and the other end to the drain in my basement. This drain has the standard threading to which any garden hose can be attached.

I read in one of threads on the forums here that you can use a washing machine water hose by cutting off one end and attaching a compressor nozzle to it. Although it is an excellent idea, I am not sure if this will be leakproof solution.
 
  #10  
Old 09-26-08, 04:26 PM
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OK. It is that time of the year and I went to Home Depot today to pick up the parts to put together the attachment for my compressor. I asked the HD service guy if I could use the washing machine hose for this purpose. I could connect one end to the sprinkler system drain and buy other parts needed to attach other end to the compressor. He said the washing machine hose is meant for water only and it may not withstand the air pressure that I want to use it for.

Is that a valid concern or this guy is just being paranoid. I do like the idea of using washing machine hose as there is one available at the HD which already has one end cut off. It will make things lot simpler for.

Any thoughts on this please.....
 
  #11  
Old 10-07-08, 05:40 PM
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The right compressor

Hi guys,
Hi Subhash,
Please let us know if your compressor worked fine and keep us updated.
I have a 4 zone 2 heads each sprinkler system which I installed last summer. Don't thik I need a huge CFM to blow the water out. However I already installed six automatic valves in the pipes but still want to winterize it.

Thank you.
Kubba
 
  #12  
Old 11-30-08, 11:46 AM
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Makita MAC5200 to blow-out (winterize) my underground sprinkler system

I purchased the Makita MAC5200 to blow-out (winterize) my underground sprinkler system. I have 6 zones with my longest run about 400 feet with 6 Hunter rotary heads. The compressor worked great and saved me $95. With the accessories and fittings I purchased at Lowes to make an adaptor it will pay for itself in 4 years. It takes about 75 seconds for the tank to recover from each use. You get from 45 to 30 seconds of air time and it took 4 to 6 times to completely blow out each zone. The compressor is very well built. It is rated at 6.5 CFM @ 90 psi.
 
  #13  
Old 12-01-08, 07:17 AM
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Get as much volume as you can afford and do not exceed 100 PSI. Professionaly, I push 100-200 CFM, which you just cannot match with those small compressors. Its not impossible for many systems, but it takes practice and patience.
 
  #14  
Old 12-20-08, 06:52 PM
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Blowing out irrigation system with air compressor

Ihave a 5 zone Rainbird system and every year I have had the installer winterize it. I watched him last year and found out how to do it myself.

I have a electric 2 gallon tank compressor that only goes to 100 lbs. I used it and set the outlet pressure at 50 #. At first the water came spirting out of the heads but within no time the air pressure was lost and had to cut off the valve and let it build back up.

What do you recommend in the way of a compressor that will do the job.

I am sure I did not get all the water out of the lines but got all I could after flushing out each zone around 4 times.

Advise.

PS. I just found this forum and this is my first post.

Thanks
 
  #15  
Old 12-21-08, 04:18 PM
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what you need is high volume, not hit pressure. Think of it like this. If you took a straw you could blow a lot of air through it with your mouth and get all of the water out of it, or enough that any left over would not matter. Next do the same to a garden hose. You just cant do it. At least not the 5/8" size. What happens is skim the water off the top and it seems that you are getting water out because all you see is air coming out the other end, but you ran out of volume and left lots of water inside.


Here is what you can do with a small compressor.

If you have a mainline you can "charge it" like a bladder tank. This will take several minutes with your tiny compressor. Then open a zone or station for a little bit until you run out of air. Close it up again and then do this over and over again until you are confident that you got enough water out. Then move onto the next zone.

If a zone gets stuck on, which sometimes happens when you winterize, you will not likely be able to finish this because your compressor just can't keep up.

If you are in good with a bunch of neighbors you guys could go out and rent a compressor for the day and share the costs. They run a couple hundreds bucks for a day which is why most homeowners don't rent one, they just pay someone to do it. Be careful, though, those rentals are usually cranked up high on the PSI scale and will damage your lines if you are not careful.

When buying a compressor on your own, get one with a large storage or bladder tank already on it, with the highest CFM (cubic feet per minute) style that you can afford. To give you a reference, I typically push around 100 CFM/minute at around 80-100PSI. That compressor costs thousands of dollars, though so don't expect to be able to just buy one and save money.
 
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