Winterizing Irrigation System with no Power

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Maco Services, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    No. An "auto drain" or "King drain" has a plunger and a spring built inside. So when the water pressure is added to the line, it pushes down on the plunger. When the zone turnes off, the spring releases the plunger and water drains out of the pipe. Usually 2-3 are installed on any given zone. http://www.kinginnovation.com/products/irrigation-products/king-drains-2/king-drains/

    Good and bad issues with the drains. I install them only on manifolds or mainlines that we have to rebuild due to freezing.
     
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,412

    While there are gate valves to be found with the name "King" on them, what is meant here is an automatic drain valve, an old idea that was revised with some success by one Lloyd King.
     
  3. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,340

    are you working for a lending institution? are they paying T&M or do they have you on blanket projects? weigh the cost vs time if these are blanket projects, you won't want to wait for 90 days on your cash outlay
     
  4. Fireguy97

    Fireguy97 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 394

    The valves in the valve boxes in the ground are electrically actuated, but you can open them manually. I don't know what knob you are talking about. Some valves have a flow control knob beside the solenoid, on the top of the valve - the flow control won't help you. The HD Orbit valves have a small black toggle type switch on top of the water outlet on the valve. To manually open other valves you turn the solenoid a little to the left, to close it turn it a little back to the right - or with the 9 volt battery. I like the manual way of doing it so I don't hammer the valves open and closed with the air pressure, and I can open one before I start the blow, then open the next one before I close the previous valve.


    Hopefully there is a water shut off in the house that will kill the water to the exterior that you can start with.

    Normally a blow out port would go right after the water line left the house.



    Almost any sized compressor will do the job. The question is how long do you want to spend doing it? I only use 45-50 psi, but a lot of volume. The principal is to push the entire water column through and out of the pipe in one shot. If you use a small compressor, you will push the water to the limit of your compressors air reservoir. Some water will leave the zone. The water that is now left in the zone will now re-settle in the pipe and find its new level.

    At some point in the process as your small compressor is refilling the reservoir, the water will re-settle in the pipe and you will get an air gap above the water. The next air push will now find the easiest way out of the pipe, and not get a lot of water out.

    I've had older clients that have done it themselves for years and years. When they got to a point that they didn't want to take the time to do it themselves, they called me. Some have actually cursed themselves when they told me that, what took me 15 minutes to do with my compressor, took them 3 1/2 to 4 hours to do themselves with their small compressor one teny reservoir at a time.

    Mick

    p.s. Keep your beer. I'll buy. Send me a plane ticket, and I help you for the day and show you first hand!

    M
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  5. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,922

    We've inherited sites that had previously been winterized with a "nail gun" compressor, also. Only the previous winterizers were "contractors". Boy, were the clients p.o.'d after we fired the 125 and were out of there in ten minutes. By the way, King "auto-drains" suck big time, imho.
     
  6. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I thought you had no 4 zoners. :)

    They have their place, but I'm not a fan. Waste water, and contribute to hammer. But I do like them on a manifold or mainline when I know the H/O is not going to learn how to drain properly. Or we've rebuilt the same thing a few times.
     
  7. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,922

    Glad you spotted that; it was for you! :laugh:
     
  8. Fireguy97

    Fireguy97 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 394

    Any auto-drain is a mechanical device, and will fail over time. Some time fail open, sometimes fail closed. Fail open you find during the irrigation season. Fail closed, you find during spring start-up. My bank account likes those better!

    Mick
     
  9. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    My favorite story on this, is mid 90's I got a call due to a leak in a back yard. Probably a 20-30 year old system, and they had never blown it out before. Turned out to be 60' of shattered PVC in a trench with 4 other pipes and the shattered one was the bottom pipe. Auto drain failed in the closed position.

    Grass roots can grow inside and prevent it from opening or closing. Or grit.
     
  10. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,922

    I did a cold call service where the folks said they'd lost a 20' x 50' chunk of turf on a high bank waterfront property. I looked (gingerly) at the edge of the bank and saw four laterals dangling 10' out in the air. All of them had auto-drains at the ends! Needless to say, "cone markers in the truck and up the driveway".:dizzy:
     

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