Can you blow out lines with a Shop Vac?

mrshowtime3

Active member
Apr 19, 2009
26
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!
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
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 :-D
 

mrshowtime3

Active member
Apr 19, 2009
26
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?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
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.
 

tphaggerty

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 27, 2007
218
Poughquag, NY
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!
 

Durk

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2007
654
New Jersey
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.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
All the advice is well and good :goodjob: 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 :cool:
 

mrshowtime3

Active member
Apr 19, 2009
26
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!
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
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. :wink:

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 :cool:
 

mrshowtime3

Active member
Apr 19, 2009
26
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.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
mrshowtime3 said:
I cant tell when that would be.
Neither can I :!: :wink: 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) :idea:

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. :wink:

I hate to say it, but that's the best I can do when the MD won't blow :oops:
 

mrshowtime3

Active member
Apr 19, 2009
26
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.
 

New2Me

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 2, 2008
322
SW Indiana
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.
 

Poolbuoy

Member
May 22, 2009
17
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
 

reindeerboy

LifeTime Supporter
May 27, 2008
519
Jamestown, ND
I own an air compressor that works great. I dont have any fancy connections. Its called ducktape! :lol:

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.
 

mrshowtime3

Active member
Apr 19, 2009
26
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.
 

reindeerboy

LifeTime Supporter
May 27, 2008
519
Jamestown, ND
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.
 

mrshowtime3

Active member
Apr 19, 2009
26
The mighty vac #275 worked amazingly. It clears all the lines effortlessly. Its not cheap but its definatly does the job.
 

greenhat

New member
Nov 16, 2011
1
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..
 

Jcgage0

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2013
59
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..
Did you mean 6hp or 6 gallon on your pancake compressor. I have a porter cable pancake compressor that has a 6 gallon capacity with a 3.5 SCFM at 40 psi, but when I looked up the specs on the motor the running horsepower is .8 HP. This leads me to believe you have A LOT more than what I'm considering a regular pancake compressor or you meant 6 Gallon?
 

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