It is extremely important to drain the sprinkler lines of excess water during the winter season because frozen water will expand and can freeze inside irrigation valves, pipes, and sprinkler heads causing a burst on underground plastic pipes.
Therefore, it is very important to blow out your water lines. One of the easiest and most effective ways to winterize sprinkler systems is by blowing out sprinkler lines with a compressor.
For winterizing an irrigation system, lawn sprinkler experts recommend using the air blowout system, which blows air through valves, pipes, and sprinkler heads to remove all water completely.
For this, you will need an air compressor that can provide the recommended pressure, and cfm or if you don’t have an air compressor then you can easily rent a larger compressor or you can also hire a professional to do it for you.
Note: (When blowing out the system with compressed air, extreme care must always be taken.
Wear eye protection at all times, Don’t stand near your sprinkler system, Carefully monitor the pressure (PSI) and airflow ratings (CFM).)
What Size Air Compressor For Blow Out?
In order to blow out an irrigation system properly, an air compressor must be able to provide a minimum of 20 cubic feet per minute. For optimal performance, irrigation professionals often recommend 50 CFM at less than 50 PSI when the diameter of the water lines is less than an inch.
Additionally, the larger the pipe, the higher the CFM (volume) required to accomplish the job. However, if you have a small sprinkler system, then a small 10 or 20-gallon air compressor should be enough, and you should blow out your sprinkler system one zone at a time.
An air compressor’s cubic foot per minute (CFM) rating can be found on the side of the tank.
It is crucial to use sufficient air volume to avoid your system’s remaining water from freezing and causing damage. It is important to avoid overpressurizing the system by using pressure-regulating valves and limiting the pressure to no more than 50 pounds per square inch (PSI) during the blow out.
Related Post: Best Air Compressor for Your Sprinkler Systems
How Much (PSI) Do I Need to Blow Out Water Lines?
If you are using a rigid PVC pipe, set the compressor air pressure regulator at 80 psi. If you are using a flexible polyethylene pipe, set it to 50 psi.
The recommended pressure rating for blowouts is about 50 PSI in order to maintain safety as well as efficiency and you should not push your pressure rating higher than 80 PSI in your lines, because the damage will more than likely occur.
How Much Tank Capacity For Sprinkler System?
As I have mentioned above, if you have a small sprinkler system then a 10-gallon air compressor will be enough if you are doing zone by zone but for larger systems, most professionals recommend an air compressor with a tank size of 20 to 60 gallons.
The reason is that the air compressor needs constant airflow for blowing out the sprinkler line and it has to refill its tank once it’s nearly empty, whereas it can take a long time for smaller tanks to refill which takes up a lot of your time.
In addition, the larger tank capacity will prevent the compressor motor from working overtime.
Electric or Gas Powered Compressor For Irrigation System?
Both types of the compressor are good for blowing out water lines. So no need to worry about anything if you prefer an electrically powered compressor then go for it if not then you can pick a gas compressor.
But the potential risk of using an electric air compressor in a sprinkler system is that your extension cord has a higher chance of getting wet which can be dangerous.
The gas-powered air compressor, on the other hand, does not require an extension cord and therefore will not expose you to the risk of electric shock and can work anywhere in your yard, making them suitable for winterizing your sprinkler systems in places where an electrical outlet may not be accessible.
How much does it cost to winterize a sprinkler system?
Depending on the size and local rates of your sprinkler system, the cost of winterizing a sprinkler system can range from $50 to $200.
To find out what the average price in your area is, you have to call around or try to ask your friends. If you do not have an air compressor that can handle a proper sprinkler blowout, you can rent one or hire a professional to do it.