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Thread: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

  1. #1
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    Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    I have a Craftsman Model 17066 Shop Vac. Its 6.5 HP and has a blower feature that claims it outputs air at 265mph.

    Would this be ok to use to blow out inground pool lines for the winter? Is it underpowered or maybe even to powerful? I dont want it to damage the pipes.

    Also if I can use it how do I attach it to the skimmer hole? The hose is about 2.5" and the skimmer hole is 1.5". I dont know if there is some sort of adapter I can get.

    Thanks a lot for your help!
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

  2. #2
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    The shop vac should be sufficient, the only thing it might not get is a main drain (but unless you dive down and plug it, even the stronger shop-vacs work as well as a vac - blower)

    I usually blow the lines from the equipment pad, but poolside also works. Any chance you can describe what you plan on doing to winterize the pool ? That way we can make suggestions that will be specific to your pool and set up
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  3. #3
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    Well I have a 16x36 inground. One skimmer and two returns and a main drain. Sand filter. I was planning on screwing in the shop vac to the threaded hole in the skimmer (I found a adapter) then putting the filter on recirculate to blow out the lines. Plug up each hole with a rubber plug as they get blown out one by one. Then after the main drain is blowing for a while close off the valve to it to air lock. Would this all work?
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

  4. #4
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    That is a good plan and it should work. None the less, be prepared for surprises. Sometimes you have to make adjustments to the plan as you go.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  5. #5
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    Leaf blowers work well too. Just take off the wand and hold the end to the line to be blown. My shop-vac is too small to blow my lines, but the leaf blower is great!
    20 x 40 vinyl IG. SWG. Solar. Ikeric VS pump.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    My 5hp Shop-Vac brand shop-vac won't blow out my main drain but did fine with skimmers and returns. Likewise my Stihl backpack leaf blower. I rigged up a system to put 25lb psi air from my basement air compressor (5hp w/20 gal. tank) into garden hoses and then directly into the filter plumbing. (It's about 150' from compressor to pool pad). I get serious air coming out the main drain with this set-up and I can have one hand on the air control and one on the appropriate pool system Jandy valve. Many have written that compressors don't have the volume to blow lines. My own experience says otherwise. The water explodes....and at only 25psi. High volume for the few seconds needed is no problem.
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
    Previous: 40,000G 20'x40' I/G Koven unlined WWII salvage 5/8" marine steel; Lomart Stainless Sand Filter; 3/4hp Hayward SuperPump; 1946-2003 (managed by me from about 1964)
    Ancient Taylor K-2000, upgraded with Taylor CH, TA, and FAS-DPD, and TFT CYA tests.

  7. #7
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    All the advice is well and good One thing I was hoping for is confirmation that you'll be lowering the water at least below the skimmer mouth - if you don't, for whatever reason, we can modify the blowing of the lines and adding antifreeze
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  8. #8
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    PROBLEM!

    Well I went to close it today. The Shop Vac blew out everything fine except the main drain. I tried from the skimmer and from equipment pad it just didnt have enough power to do it.

    So now i want to either buy a mighty vac thats made for blowing out the lines. But thats $400. Or does anyone know a good compressor I can buy that will be enough to do the job? Id want a nice mobile one. Ive seen some youtube video of a guy using a small one that he can carry and it blows the lines.

    So if anyone knows a model thats cheaper then $400 please let me know right away. Thank you!
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

  9. #9
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    I can't help you with an inexpensive compressor or blower However, as I alluded to in my earlier response, you might not need one.

    Here's the deal: Since you can't plug the line while it's blowing air, as long as you can force enough air into the line to get it below the frost line and close the valve to keep it there - your shop vac may well do that
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  10. #10
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    I cant tell when that would be. The shop vac hose blows off because of to much built up pressure with no where to go when i try to blow out the main drain.
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

  11. #11
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrshowtime3
    I cant tell when that would be.
    Neither can I Unless... I tie a string to the skimmer pole and lay it across the MD - then I gauge how much water has been forced out of the line (by how long the string has been moving)

    While I can't give you a chart of "X seconds of movement = Y feet of vertical pipe blown", from blowing your other lines you should have a good idea of how quickly they purge. Take into account your 'frostline' (how deep the ground in your area will freeze in abnormally cold weather), and guess if you're below that level.

    I hate to say it, but that's the best I can do when the MD won't blow
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  12. #12
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    In the youtube videos I see they have a orange or red small portable compressor. However i cant find any compressor that looks even remotly like it.
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

  13. #13
    Senior Member New2Me's Avatar
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    You can also leave the main drain for last. Once you are done with everything else, pour a gallon or two of anti-freeze into it from the pad, it will stay on top and protect down several feet of pipe. If the frost/freeze line is lower then the drain line, you're outta' luck.
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    This is my first year owning a pool, so this will be my first closing. I have an IGP with 2 returns and 1 skimmer and live in the cold Northeast. I'm trying to read as much as I can about how to close it. I just want to make sure what I'm reading I'm comprehending. Before you blow out the lines, is there steps before this that should be done? Such as line disconnected from the filter, valve turned to skimmer or main drain, pump on or off? Then, to blow out the lines you put a shop vac hose into the skimmer and this should blow out any water in the returns? Do I do this with the pump on or off? Once this is done, where do I add in the antifreeze?

    Is my guess on steps correct up to blowing the lines or not:
    1. Balance pool water
    2. Remove equipment (ladders, diving board,rails)
    3. Get water below skimmer but just above returns
    4. Disconnect hoses and pool pump
    5. Blow lines
    3rd yr pool owner, 16x36 oval IG,Sand Filter, Vinyl liner, 3/4 HP hayward pump,loop loc cover

  15. #15
    Senior Member reindeerboy's Avatar
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    I own an air compressor that works great. I dont have any fancy connections. Its called ducktape!

    You dont need a large air compressor to do it as long as the pressure is around 125-150' of pressure. I have an inground close to what you are desribing and even when I first purchased the house and had the PB close my pool, they decided to use my air compressor because it did a better job of forcing air into the lines.

    You can buy these things at a Tractor Supply Co, Lowes, Menards, or Sears. If you go online, you can purchase them with 2 gallon tanks. That is what I have and it works perfectly. I attached a 100' hose to mine and use it for all sorts of things around the house.

    Hope that helps.
    Chad R.

    POOL SIZE: 16 x 32' Vinyl lined pool. 22,000 gallons. 8' deep. 2009 Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump. Hayward S310S 30" 500 lb Sand filter. 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Solar Blanket.

    Pics of my pool: http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/reindeerboy/

  16. #16
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    Well i bought the craftsman and it did absolutly nothing. Barely the littlest bubbles came out of even the returns. Just couldnt keep up. Probably a 2HP or more might have done it but im not messing around getting more compressors. I ordered a mighty vac hopefully that works as advertised.
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

  17. #17
    Senior Member reindeerboy's Avatar
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    My compressor is a 6hp compressor. Sorry about that. I should have mentioned that a larger motor on the compressor is needed in order to keep the PSI high enough for it to work.

    Let us know how you come out. What did you end up purchasing? I am curious to know what kind of Mighty Vac you got and if it worked.

    Good luck.
    Chad R.

    POOL SIZE: 16 x 32' Vinyl lined pool. 22,000 gallons. 8' deep. 2009 Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump. Hayward S310S 30" 500 lb Sand filter. 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Solar Blanket.

    Pics of my pool: http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/reindeerboy/

  18. #18
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    The mighty vac #275 worked amazingly. It clears all the lines effortlessly. Its not cheap but its definatly does the job.
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

  19. #19
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    Re: Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

    I was able to get the air out of main drain with a regular 6hp pancake air compressor . my drain is 8 feet deep. i connected the compressor to the pump basket, set output to 25psi and kept it running for about a minute..

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