Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    128

    Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    I found a few articles in regards to this, but I'm still confused on what to get.

    I tried 6.5hp shop vac and it'd do skimmers just fine, but for whatever reason it would not do returns or even vacuum line. I can't figure out why, as vacuum line works just fine when used, and it doesn't go through filter\heater. Main drain - forget it.

    I know yellow and orange Mighty Vac do the job, but spending over $300 for something I'd use only once a year seems like an overkill.

    As for compressors, can someone recommend the specs on what's needed?
    Someone (I believe on this site) mentioned that 2 scfm is not good enough. And then pancake ones are not good enough. Then 2HP may not be enough. I don't know anything about air compressors, so need help

    What is good enough and safe to use? how much psi is too much and can damage lines?

    hp
    psi
    cfm
    gallons

    Thanks.

    P.S. Would something like this be enough to blow all lines?
    http://www.sears.com/craftsman-3-gallon ... 915310000P

    Or do I need something like this (my neighbor will have this one on upcoming garage sale for about $150. just found out )?
    http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-33-g ... 916472000P
    23k in-ground plaster. Cartridge filter Hayward 450 or 550. Hayward 2ph pump.
    liquid chlorine, tablets occasionally when out of liquid and cya allows it. ph down.
    stabilizer (Had no cya last two openings, but never before that)
    no other chemicals used in years
    TF100.

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    146

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    I use a leaf blower, just duct tape the plastic chute over the pipes. I just lower the pool level to below the returns, i have tile that will freeze so I have to (gunite pool). Personally I'd be wary about putting too much pressure on any line. With the water level lowered, "blowing things out" is much, much easier. With a vinyl cover, I'm not sure how much you can safely lower it, however.
    25,000 Gallons Inground, Gunite
    DE, Hayward Filter
    Loud pump
    Hayward navigator cleaner, leaf hose suction

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    128

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    how about main drain? do you drain it at all or don't bother because you water is low enough? Also, do you have mesh or solid cover?

    Also, do you know if you leaf blower would blow returns when water is not lowered at all? the reason I ask is because I tried with shop vac but got no air coming from returns nor vac line. I assume that could be because water wasn't lowered, I just wanted to try the vac, but I also never had water lowered below returns. I was told with solid $3k cover you don't want water to be too low.
    23k in-ground plaster. Cartridge filter Hayward 450 or 550. Hayward 2ph pump.
    liquid chlorine, tablets occasionally when out of liquid and cya allows it. ph down.
    stabilizer (Had no cya last two openings, but never before that)
    no other chemicals used in years
    TF100.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    The cheapest compressor will easily blow out lines. The volume flow rate really does not matter. It will take a few minutes, but it will work just fine. Blowing out an 8 foot deep Main Drain line only takes about 3.5 psi.

    ShopVacs are not made for pressure, but for volume.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    128

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    JamesW - are you saying the smallest and the cheap 3 gallon one, such as http://www.sears.com/craftsman-3-gal...p-00915310000P will be just fine for in-ground pool? Will it just take a lot longer than the 30 gallon one?
    23k in-ground plaster. Cartridge filter Hayward 450 or 550. Hayward 2ph pump.
    liquid chlorine, tablets occasionally when out of liquid and cya allows it. ph down.
    stabilizer (Had no cya last two openings, but never before that)
    no other chemicals used in years
    TF100.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    Yes, it will work just fine.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    h2ctpdjl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    252

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    I have been using my 5.0HP shop vac for the past six years and it has worked beautifully every time - including the main drain.
    18,000 gal, 18x32 IGP, vinyl liner, 3 to 5.5ft depth. One inlet/skimmer (Aqua Genie), one main drain. Hayward Pro Series Sand Filter w/filtration rate of 20 GPM/FT, Two-Speed Pentair Whisperflo 1 HP pump, Natural Gas Hayward H200 pool heater, Aquabot T2 (200 Series) Robotic Pool Cleaner (my best friend), Automatic Electric Pool Cover (2nd best friend).

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Long Island NY
    Posts
    419

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    I use a little pancake compressor , just hook it up , turn it on and it will pump air into the lines.
    You don't need one with a big tank because you are not storing air or building up presure.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    128

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    Thanks guys. I ended up with 33gal compressor (got it cheap) and it seems like it did the job. The only thing I noticed - I have two main drains, but only the first one was bubbling. When pool guys used cyclone blower, both were bubbling. I guess it is ok, since both are connected to the same pipe.

    I was blowing at about 5psi and it got most of the water out of the skimmers, but not all. As I was blowing skimmers I plugged the skimmer pipe with rubber plug for a few seconds and then I had about a quart of water shooting out.

    Question -
    1. is it ok to do it the way I did it - by plugging the skimmer for a few seconds? I had someone check the PSI gauge on the compressor it it merely moved, but it appeared the water was just a little brown or rusty and I hope it just picked up some dirt from the pipe.
    2. Do I even need to worry about the water left in the pipe, which may not be that much and Antifreeze is cheap in walmart ($3 for a gal of -50)
    3. Do you blow heater with returns open or plugged? And also do you leave heater plugs in or out for the winter? Same pool guys left them out first time and then in the 2nd time, saying they got new instructions..

    Thanks
    23k in-ground plaster. Cartridge filter Hayward 450 or 550. Hayward 2ph pump.
    liquid chlorine, tablets occasionally when out of liquid and cya allows it. ph down.
    stabilizer (Had no cya last two openings, but never before that)
    no other chemicals used in years
    TF100.

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    The cheapest compressor will easily blow out lines. The volume flow rate really does not matter. It will take a few minutes, but it will work just fine. Blowing out an 8 foot deep Main Drain line only takes about 3.5 psi.

    ShopVacs are not made for pressure, but for volume.

    I can agree with the OP. I couldn't get my mains to bubble even with a backpack leaf blower duct taped to the line. When I removed the blower, I got a huge whoosh of air back, so I know I was building pressure. The return jets went fine, but I couldn't get the spa returns to go either. Odd. Going to try an air compressor next weekend.
    24k gallon inground with 500 gallon spa, 580sqft Jandy cartridge filter, Jandy ePump 2HP variable speed pump, Jandy 1400 SWG AquaCal Heat Pump, Diamondbrite Aqua Quartz plaster

  11. Back To Top    #11
    zimm's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    421

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    I tried my stihl leaf blower- nothing. My air compressor hooked to the pump drain fitting, regulated down to 25psi blew out the skimmer and returns (after I reversed my pre-pump check valve), but I still had water in my SWG (clear window on the pool pilot bypass valve). I showed it to the pool guys when they were installing my cover. He said that wasn't any good and pulled out their cyclone blower and holy cow- a lot more water came out. Cost me $150 for them to do that. I'm going to buy a real pool blower next year when I close it again.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,331

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    The issue is that leaf blowers and shop vacs have lots of volume but don't have enough pressure to clear the lines and air compressors have plenty of pressure but not nearly enough volume to blow out the lines. If you didn't want to invest in a proper blower you coud make an air receiver out of 4" schedule 40 PVC pipe and cap one end and put a 4" to 1½" reducer and valve on the other that would hook to the plumbing. You could charge it with an air compressor to about 50 psi and use it to blow the lines.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Long Island NY
    Posts
    419

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    The issue is that leaf blowers and shop vacs have lots of volume but don't have enough pressure to clear the lines and air compressors have plenty of pressure but not nearly enough volume to blow out the lines. If you didn't want to invest in a proper blower you coud make an air receiver out of 4" schedule 40 PVC pipe and cap one end and put a 4" to 1½" reducer and valve on the other that would hook to the plumbing. You could charge it with an air compressor to about 50 psi and use it to blow the lines.
    That's a great Idea, now you got me thinking. But on the other hand if you look at why pipes burst then it may not be necessary to get every drop out. Pipes burst because there full of liquid with no air space, so when they freeze and expand something has to give, like the pipe.

    But if you blow out the lines to where your skimmer/and returns are bubbling then plug them, you know you have an air space in that line. Same with the main drain, when she bubbles plug it.

    No need to get every drop out.
    19,000 gal - Vinyl IG - Sand filter -1.5hp. - Taylor k 2006 - Loop Loc cover

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    A compressor will push out all water to where the pipes go from vertical to horizontal. This is below the freeze level on most pools. As long as the place where the bubbles come out is below the freeze line, there should be no risk of freezing.

    If there is water trapped in the system, such as in a "U" or check valve, the water can be removed from that area quite easily in most cases.

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Compressor vs shop vac to blow lines?

    Air compressor to a combination of fittings that stepped up to a Fernco plumbing coupler did the trick.
    24k gallon inground with 500 gallon spa, 580sqft Jandy cartridge filter, Jandy ePump 2HP variable speed pump, Jandy 1400 SWG AquaCal Heat Pump, Diamondbrite Aqua Quartz plaster

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •