First Winterization Try - Need some help

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I have 11 zones and they're typical 4-5 heads each. Last two years I watch the lawn companies guys come in with huge air compressor and blowout my lines, zone by zone. I figure I could save some money and also have an air compressor for use on the side as well. They pretty much shut my water valve and hookup the air line and then open up each zone by zone and that's pretty much it, so I figure I tried it with a compressor and killing two birds with one stone.

30 gallon 7.7cfm @ 40psi. It's the husky 175psi 30 gallon oil black tank from homedepot.

When I ran zone 1 it took 3 times, it watered up and then turn fine mist and then no mist. Great, same for 2 and 3 and so on, but some zones no water comes out, but the head pop up blowing air, I can see the head pop up even though there's nothing coming out. It's zone 10 that scares me, it doesn't pop up at all and no mist, no water, but I can hear the air at each head and I check the head in the ground is spinning, but just doesn't pop.

My quesitons is does/can certain zone/s drain down into other zones once the other zones are empty? and/or does the higher(elevation) zones sink/flow(gravity) down into the lower zones because theres little or no water in those zones? When the commercial guys do it, I see water from every zone come out and they do it in the same order that I do. My gut says zone 10 should/might still have water, but I can't confirm and also, my zone 1 blew out a lot of water compare to the rest as well?

Obviously i have to let the compressor recharge to full tank between blowouts, but I keep the pressure at 70 and as soon as i plug in the air, it quickly drops down to 40 and I increase the pressure back to around 60. Pretty sure I didn't blow any up with higher than 60-65 psi.

What are you guys experience?


The wife is still training me.
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Orlando, Florida
Your Zone 10 may be the lowest point of the system and the water will slowly drain out at the lowest sprinkler head(s). It can take an hour or so depending on the length of pipe. There are actually sprinkler heads designed to prevent this to reduce run off well after the zone had turned off but nothing you need to worry about.


In the Trades
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My setup is similar to yours. I have a Husky 1.5hp 150psi 20 gallon compressor. I have 17 sprinkler zones that vary in size from 3 to 10 heads. Even with 10 heads and a smaller tank I have no problem popping up all the heads even when there is no water in the lines.

First, how are you connecting the compressor to the sprinklers? You want to connect the compressor to your sprinklers so that the point of connection isn't reducing air flow from your compressor. I added a faucet just downstream of my backflow preventer and connect my compressor to the faucet.

Second, you should keep in mind that air is not water. It compresses a lot more than water at a given pressure, creates higher stresses on your system, and can damage it. Do not exceed 50 psi continuous pressure. One of the first parts to fail at high pressure are the poly 90's that connect sprinkler heads to the lateral pipes. Not all systems use them, but that's where I'd look first. The good news is you can buy an new one for less than a dollar at the store you bought your compressor from. The bad news is you'll need to dig up your sprinkler to fix it. You may have to apply water back to zone 10 and wait for the puddle to form to locate it.
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