winterization question

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by turfman59, Sep 17, 2002.

  1. turfman59

    turfman59 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    I"m haveing second thoughts this year about winterizing. last year I blew out some systems by hooking up the compressor to the back flow preventer. this year Iam thinking that this isnt the best Idea. a couple of my installs I am going to have to install a pvc tee and add a compressor fitting. Also is it best to use a shorter compressor hose to do this??:dizzy:
  2. rvsuper

    rvsuper Senior Member
    Messages: 930

    I always install a bibb right after the main valve. Then when I hook the compressor to the inlet side of the preventers all i have to do is open the bibb and hook the compressor to it and you have the pipe from the backflow preventer to the main valve.

    For the rest of the mainline and laterals, I hook the air up to the outlet side of the preventer, open one valve at a time about 2-3 minutes each, or until all the water is out....DO NOT close a valve without one open. I have had a few times where I had no valves open and cracked a pipe because of too much pressure. So be sure to be around 9-10 CFM and set the pressure regulator at about 50-55 PSI.

    Finally, Turn the clock to winter mode or just unplug it or turn the dial to off.
  3. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Here is how we set up. Plumbing code won't allow for the unprotected hose bibb that you speak of, so a plug is used. We blow everything thru this every year. NO PROBLEMS. Everybody around here does it the same way. We use nothing less than a 125 CFM compressor with the regulator turned down to 70-72 psi shutoff. While blowing the pressure will usually drop to the 50's even on a 10 GPM system. Nothing blows up or cracks. Larger jobs we run a 185 CFM compressor set up the same way. I talking systems from 50-60 GPM to 150 GPM. Larger systems we hook up 2 185's at the same time. Compressor regulators can be adjusted on site to deliver at least 55-60 psi at the compressor. WE use 3/4 inch hose and double hose the larger jobs from the 2 comprssor valves to 2 ports on the system.

    I've also discovered that threaded port, snap on pvc saddle T's make a good quick port for permanent use. Glue them, snap them, drill a hole and you got a port.

    good pvb low res.jpg
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    We typically go thru the test cocks on the backflows. Main reason - I don't install many systems and 99% of the existing systems I take care of don't have a 1/2" or 3/4" thread hook up. But I've never damaged (that I know of) a PVB or RP by doing this. Even going that route, I can run 2-4 valves at a time depending on design of the zones.

    The commergial jobs I blow out do have threaded hook ups though.

    Harold, the only problem I encounter with hooking up your way, the 1/2" thread before the PVB, is that if the homeowner left the inside drain open and I kick the compressor on water and air blows into the utility room or basement. Maybe you don't put an interior drain because you have the good slope to drain outside. But all homes here have interior drains by the on/off handle.
  5. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    We don't install inside drains. If hooked up in the house it is usually a basement and a few in crawl spaces. Even in unheated crawl spaces their is enough ambient heat from the furnace or concrete and soil under the house to keep the interior pipe from freezing.

    I have had problems blowing thru RP assy. don't know why. We now have them set up with threaded ports on both sides and then drain the unit.

    Your typical residential house contruction and system piping is probably different than ours in some ways.
  6. hardscape

    hardscape Banned
    Messages: 2

    We typically install hose bibs at or near the high and low points of our system during our installs. For winterization we attach to the higher hose bib with a tool made up of PVC pipe with a hose thread fitting on one end, a compressor fitting on the other and a "t" w/a gauge and a bleed off valve. The valve is used to bleed off excess pressure and keep the pressure on the system in the safe range. We typically start witih the lower hose bib open to speed flushing the main line. Then we cycle through the clock a couple of times to blow out the laterals.

    Hope this can be adapted to your needs.
  7. CTLGM

    CTLGM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    My Question to you guys is whether it is neccesary to "blow-out" the system or not. I have "winterized" plenty of irrigation systems in the past in the Atlanta region and a few here in East TN, by no more than turning off the supply line and running the system for 5 mins. per zone. This allows the water and air to escape the lines and to me, seems to suffice my customers needs. My company is by no way an Irrigation Contractor, but we do handle repairs and occasional start-ups and shut-downs. It seems though that here in the "Transitional" zone, that the debate on this topic is always a HOT one!

    Any input welcomed!
  8. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Does the soil freeze and if so how deep? That is your answer. If the soil ever freezes to the depth the pipe is commonly buried you must winterize.

    You may be right for you climate.
  9. MOlawnman

    MOlawnman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    I suggest against winterizing through the backflow preventer. They are not made for air and the internal seals could be damaged by the air flowing by resulting in unhappy customers come spring.

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