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How to Blow Out Water Lines

May 22, 2024 | Blog

Blowing out water lines is a crucial task in the construction industry, especially as colder weather approaches. Whether you’re winterizing a home, preparing an irrigation system for the off-season, or maintaining equipment, knowing how to blow out water lines can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of what you need, how to do it, and why it’s essential.

Why Blow Out Water Lines?

First things first, why even bother? Water left in pipes during freezing temperatures can expand and cause pipes to crack or burst. This can lead to costly repairs and delays on the job site. Blowing out water lines removes the residual water, preventing freeze damage and ensuring your systems are ready to roll when you need them again.

Equipment You’ll Need

Blowing out water lines doesn’t require a ton of fancy gear, but you’ll need a few key items:

  1. Air Compressor: This is the main tool for the job. It needs to be powerful enough to push all the water out of the lines. Look for one with at least 50 PSI (pounds per square inch) capacity, though 80-100 PSI is often more effective.
  2. Air Hose: To connect your compressor to the water system. Make sure it’s long enough to reach your connections comfortably.
  3. Adapter: Depending on the system, you may need a specific adapter to hook your air hose to the water lines.
  4. Safety Gear: Safety goggles and gloves are a must to protect yourself from any sudden sprays of water or debris.

Setting Up Your Equipment

Before you start, make sure your air compressor is set up correctly. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • PSI Setting: Adjust the air compressor to around 50-80 PSI. For sprinkler systems, 50-60 PSI is usually sufficient. For home plumbing, you might need to go up to 80 PSI.
  • Connect the Air Hose: Attach the air hose to the compressor and the appropriate adapter to the other end of the hose.
  • Check Your Connections: Ensure all connections are tight and secure to avoid any air leaks.

The Process Step-by-Step

  1. Turn Off the Water Supply: First, shut off the main water supply to the lines you’re working on. Open a few faucets or sprinkler heads to relieve any pressure and drain as much water as possible.
  2. Connect the Air Compressor: Attach the air hose to the water system using the adapter. Double-check everything is snug.
  3. Blow Out the Lines: Turn on the air compressor. Start with the farthest point from the compressor connection and work your way back. For example, if you’re blowing out an irrigation system, start with the sprinkler head furthest from the main valve. Open one zone or faucet at a time to ensure all water is expelled.
  4. Monitor Pressure and Flow: Keep an eye on the pressure gauge and listen to the sound of the air flowing through the pipes. When you hear only air and no more water coming out, that section is clear.
  5. Repeat as Necessary: Move through each zone or section until all lines are clear.

Final Tips

  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush the process. Give each section enough time to blow out completely.
  • Safety First: Always wear your safety gear. Compressed air can be dangerous if not handled properly.
  • Double-Check: After you think you’re done, double-check all lines to ensure no water is left.

Blowing out water lines might seem like a hassle, but it’s a necessary step to avoid bigger problems later. With the right equipment and a little patience, you can get it done efficiently. Happy winterizing!