Your behavior appears to be a little unusual. Please verify that you are not a bot.


Irrigation Tech: A better blowout

February 8, 2021 -  By
Blow Out Bonnet (Photo: Accurate Lawn & Irrigation)

Blowouts made easy The Blow Out Bonnet came about after inventor Jason Downing realized there was a way to save time on irrigation blowouts. (Photo: Accurate Lawn & Irrigation)

For 30 years, Jason Downing, president of Accurate Lawn & Irrigation in Council Bluffs, Iowa, has been working on irrigation systems. Over those years, his toolbox became packed with adapters and tools to troubleshoot the various irrigation systems he was hired to winterize each fall.

About five years ago, Downing decided he’d had enough of the frustration of the various fitting sizes, broken fittings or even no fitting at all.

“I thought there had to be something better to do this,” Downing says. “Repairing backflows and taking them apart and fixing them through the years, I realized they all thread on to the top — why can’t I make a fitting that I could thread on to the top of the backflow and have my access port to blow it out? That’s how I came up with it, and I worked on it for a few years.”

“It” is the Blow Out Bonnet, or BOB for short. BOB, launched just last year, can save irrigation professionals time on each winterization blowout, allowing them to do more jobs each day. BOB is made for residential lawn sprinkler systems that have pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) systems, which Downing estimates is about 90 percent of all residential sprinkler systems.

To use BOB, the irrigation contractor removes the factory poppet bonnet off the backflow and installs BOB on top. Then, the contractor screws an air hose or fitting into that to blow the sprinklers out. In instances where the contractor or plumber didn’t put a fitting on to access the backflow, there is now an access. (To view Downing giving a video demonstration of BOB, visit AccurateLawns.com/blow-out-bonnet.)

Downing bases his time savings on the equipment he uses: a 185 CSM air compressor and a three-quarter-inch full-size hose. He uses 70 to 75 pounds of air pressure on his blowouts.

Graphic: LM Staff

Graphic: LM Staff

“The average residential (system), it’s about three minutes per zone,” Downing says. “With our system, if you can open the valve box and open all six stations at once, (the job is complete) in about three minutes. If you’re using a smaller hose and a smaller air steady, you’re only going to blow out about one station at a time. If each station takes you three minutes, you’re going to save approximately 12 to 15 minutes on every job. In an eight-hour day, you can easily get another five or six jobs done.”

Downing says launching BOB to the irrigation industry is off to a good start, even though the pandemic has limited his opportunities to show off his invention.

“We’ve come a long way. We haven’t had a ton of opportunities (to demonstrate it), with all the trade shows that have been shut down. Sprinkler Warehouse has them available as part of its lineup now,” Downing says. “We’ve sold quite a few of them but obviously we’d like to sell a lot more.”

Reflecting on the process of perfecting the BOB in the field over the last five years, one big challenge, he says, was the short window he had each fall to test the prototypes. Each time he modified the design, he had to wait until the next season to see the results. After five years, he felt it was ready for production, and he applied for and received a patent.

“I felt if it was something we were going to manufacture and put our name on, we were going to make sure it was a quality product, it was going to work and we weren’t going to have any problems,” Downing says.

Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

Comments are currently closed.