Finishing Sprinkler Blowouts In Nampa Today – And An Angry Moment

I heard something yesterday that really made me angry.  I won't give all the details just to save some time on the post, but will give enough information for everyone to get the idea.

I couldn't find the main shut-off at one of the properties I visited yesterday, and told the owner by text the situation, which means I could not blow it out.  The customer told me that another company had come to blow it out and couldn't find the main either, so they shut off the house water at the main valve, did the blowout, turned the city water back on, and then charged my customer for the job.  They said the blowout may not have been totally completed because my customer had a broken head, and they couldn't get enough pressure, which is why this person contacted us to see if we could do a better job.

First of all, this is an irrigation system, and is not connected to the city water.  Secondly, even if the sprinkler system was on city water, if you shut off the main to the house to blow the system out it WOULD work, but since the sprinkler main wasn't turned off it would just fill right back up again as soon as the water was turned on!

This made me very angry with whoever did the "blowout" in the first place, and then blaming the customer because they couldn't get the necessary pressure.  The reason they couldn't get the pressure is because the main sprinkler valve was not turned off and the air went backwards instead of toward the system.

We have had to turn off the city water to the a house on occassion because the open sprinkler valve was leaking badly.  Once the water was turned off, the leak stopped, and we were able to shut the main sprinkler valve and continue normally withe house water back on.  Many times the main valve will close properly, but leak badly when in the open position.  This is usually a packing nut issue, which most of the time can't be addressed without digging up the valve.

Unfortunately, you have to be very careful who you hire to do anything anymore which is sad.  All it takes is a few bad apples to spoil it for the honest contractors and sprinkler blowout technicians.  I could share countless stories of what I have seen in the last 20 years in this valley where I was called out to replace something that didn't need replaced, but took 15 minutes to repair, when a previous repairman said it would have to be replaced.  So they could make more money, of course.  I do not operate that way, and strive to be honest with my fellow man……..  If the main can be found, we WILL blow out the system.  No one gets left behind.

We are continuing in Nampa again today.  It has been a real problem with piping above ground being frozen, which leaves no way to blow it out even though the valves, heads, and sprinkler lines underground are fine.  If there is galvanized pipe we can thaw it with a torch and continue although it really takes a lot of time to do so.  We were able to thaw a few of them to continue, but many are made up of poly, PVC or plastic, in which case we can't heat it up with a torch.  Many of these could have easily been blown out had the owners drained their filters or opened exposed valves for drainage.

We will try again today and see how it goes.  Whichever ones we cannot do we will come back to again after we work in the other areas.  The increase in temperature to the mid 30's and 40's over the next several days will help to thaw these pipes that are above ground.  This has obviously put us behind schedule again, but good news is my assistant will be working with me today, which I hope will speed things up.

I will not be updating the stats page for today, because there hasn't been much change, but will update it with new scheduling tonight so it is visible early Friday morning.


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