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Thread: sprinkler systems

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Tacoma, WA
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    I recently installed irrigation system. I used combination of 2 classes of PVC, and a couple rolls of 1" HDPE for the main lines. Just depended on purpose and risk exposure you want to take for frost damage.

    It is good if you can drain everything by gravity in the Fall and/or blow out the system. In the Fall I remove backflow preventer valve from its casing and insert a dummy cartridge with connection for compressor. Then in Spring I swap the valve back in. That way I can inspect and lube the expensive valve as well as remove it from possible frost damage. It just takes a few minutes to remove and replace 4 bolts. It is made for annual service so is easy.

    Consider using drip irrigation for plants, vegetables, and shrubs instead of spray. Drip irrigation can cover a large layout on one zone. Drip system can include emitters, micro sprayers, drip line of different diameters from 1/4" to 3/4" with different output.

    Seriously consider a smart controller. It adjusts watering based on actual and forecast weather and environmental conditions. Costs more than timers but saves operational money. They require connection to a wifi network with access to the internet. EPA recommends them.

    I went with Hunter Industries system but there are several good systems and many of the fittings and accessories are interchangeable. Be careful about not mixing metric and imperial tubing and fittings. One is brown and other is black. The smaller size (nominal 1/4") stuff can be mixed to some extent.

  2. #17
    I am having a hell of a time getting bids. I know it is the busy season. Is it typical for installers to balk at older houses, small lots and mature trees? I had one person tell me they will not do anything in my part of the city because of these combined factors.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Bedford, NH
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    To get a good idea of where to install the sprinkler head I would suggest making up a few stakes with string attached whose length is about a couple feet shorter than the range of the individual sprinkler heads. use this to position the location of the sprinkler heads. This will help ensure you get total head to head coverage, especially should the water pressure drop a bit.

    Also, I would suggest cutting up a 3" dia PVC pipe into 5" lengths to install around each sprinkler head. Surrounding the heads with these sleeves will prevent grass from growing into/around the head over time and provide some protection should you drive over the sprinkler heads with your lawn mower, especially if they don't sit down completely when the water is turned off.
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  4. #19
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Enders View Post
    The most popular systems are polyethylene (LDPE), and Rigid PVC. LDPE is flexible so fairly tight curves are workable. Rigid PVC requires elbows etc. to change direction. LDPE is less expensive to install, but is not as durable as PVC. The quote for our development was X for LDPE, and 2X for Rigid PVC. The life expectancy of LDPE was 3-5 years, and 20-40 years for Rigid PVC.

    The durability of LDPE is dependent on whether it is made from "100 hour", or "1000 hour" raw material. The problem is that a consumer cannot tell the difference. If you go with LDPE make sure it is a known brand name. Do not price buy LDPE. Rigid PVC is brittle below freezing temperatures, but is not likely to be exposed to any kind of impact if it is buried at the recommended 6-8 inches.
    Hmm, my poly irrigation pipe was installed in 1975 and when dug up, looks like new. At Home Depot, their supplier appears to be Advanced Drainage Products (ADS). Even their UTY (utility) grade pipe is HDPE. UTY is the stuff that is not rated for gas or drinking water (NSF). I would stick with 100 psi pipe unless your well or city delivers at over 70 psi, then I would go with 160 psi pipe. My lake pump system maxes out at about 35 psi.
    NOW you tell me...

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Enders View Post
    The life expectancy of LDPE was 3-5 years, and 20-40 years for Rigid PVC.
    Not sure where those figures came from, but I don't buy it. LDPE pipe last decades in irrigation systems. I've had mine in for 27 years & the only problems with it are from when I put a shovel through it. PVC is much tougher, but in cooler climates the LDPE pipe better resists freezing if the system doesn't get blown out in time.

    Virtually all residential systems around here are LDPE, which wouldn't be the case if the life expectancy was 3 - 5 years.

  6. #21
    I just got a quote for $6500. That is to install sprinklers for less than 1000 square feet. I really want to just hire the trenches and do the rest of this myself, but my wife, perhaps wisely, wants to hire out the whole thing so I can spend time on the deck. She knows how I work, and it is not quickly. If I do it myself how do I figure out how to negotiate the big tree? The trunk is about 4 feet diameter and I need to figure out how to get coverage on all sides of it.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
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    I also wanted to hire out the whole thing. I decided to hire a family member to help with the more physical part and do it my self. What I concluded when done is that if I contracted a complete system, I would not have ended up with near as good of system nor would it have been as flexible or as expandable as the one I did my self. The cost would have been less if I hired it out because I would not have understood what I was getting and the contractor would have held cost down to be able to get the job. I would probably been happy with the completed system. I learned a lot during the build but still would have had to detail every detail in order to end up with a contracted system that was as durable and good as what I built.

    I hired a ditch guy for the minimum 4 hours and had the ditches roughed in. I laid out what I wanted and went to the supplier for review and purchase of parts. I did not necessarily go with the cheapest parts starting with the PRV all the way to the sprinkler heads and controller. I used 1" HDPE for the supply, PVC schedule 40 from HDPE to the remote controlled valve vaults, and irrigation type PVC downstream from the valves. The valves reduce pressure and drip lines use lower pressure than sprinklers. I ran wire back to controller located in garage and added a smart controller and rain sensor. I did not go with a main valve nor a flow gauge. I have made some modifications since the initial installation for one reason or another.

    I am glad I went to the trouble to do it my self. Family member benefited by having work and I benefited by ending up with a good system that I understand and can easily modify as my needs change.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Highland MI
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    Standard practice for DIY irrigation is to rent a trencher. Rocky soil can be problematic as can hard, dry clay.
    NOW you tell me...

  9. #24
    I finally got a guy to give me a reasonable bid, so I think I'm going to save my knees on this one. I do need to punch a pipe through the foundation to reduce the footage of trench needed.

  10. #25
    OK, so one more question. The guy I have hired asked for 3/4 copper coming out of the back of the house. No problem. He said I would need a drain on the non-freezing side. Do I need a stop-and-waste or just a tee with a cap I can remove to drain the line? I know on a typical installation there is a stop-and-waste outside, but if I put one inside where does the water go?

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    OK, so one more question. The guy I have hired asked for 3/4 copper coming out of the back of the house. No problem. He said I would need a drain on the non-freezing side. Do I need a stop-and-waste or just a tee with a cap I can remove to drain the line? I know on a typical installation there is a stop-and-waste outside, but if I put one inside where does the water go?
    A number if ways to drain the water between the inside valve and the outside backflow preventer. A tee with a valve or a stop and waste would be the first two that come to mind. Just close the valve and drain what little water there is into a cup.
    NOW you tell me...

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    N. Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    I can't find anything in the local codes prohibiting in-ground sprinklers. I did find an ordinance saying that electronic timers are mandatory, which seems odd. I believe it will save water because with the old sprinklers on the hose I could never get it positioned just right and ended up watering the deck, the side of the house, the fence, the chicken coop, etc.
    Just FYI, many water supply jurisdictions now use 'smart meters'. They can see how much water you used in any given 15-minute time slice. Really handy if you suspect a leak, but its also used to determine your compliance with any irrigation water restrictions and/or drought limitations. :: No more lawn watering at 3AM, thinking you won't get caught.

    Codes in this area generally require a double-block shutoff on the owner's side of the meter - dedicated to the irrigation system, and that is 'publicly' accessible - at least to a representative of the city water department. Water Dept can then padlock a valve if you are caught watering in restricted area/time/zone, but still allow household water use. Also, a rain sensor is required (in all jurisdictions, I assume?), to disable the auto cycle for 3-5 days following measurable rainfall.

    Last 2 systems I've had are/were mix of drip and spray. As others have alluded to, drip is very efficient use of water! And in my experience with drip, it requires maybe 10% of the ongoing maintenance needed by spray. Sounds like your coverage requirements are relatively small, so 100% drip might be doable..?

    If not drip, then look at gear-driven rotary heads. They can easily throw water 40-50ft, so 1-2 heads could cover each of the various areas you describe - without trenching the entire yard, hopefully.
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 05-26-2019 at 1:06 PM.
    Molann an obair an saor.

  13. #28
    So I replaced a lot of pipe this weekend. I also learned that the new lead-free solder does not work well with propane. I bought a MAP torch and it worked beautifully.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Okotoks AB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    So I replaced a lot of pipe this weekend. I also learned that the new lead-free solder does not work well with propane. I bought a MAP torch and it worked beautifully.
    Yes, it seems to need more heat. And you need to be meticulous about cleaning the pipe & fittings.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Scottsdale, Arizona
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    474
    Frank,

    Putting a shovel through LDPE was the exact reason our contractor gave for the 3-5 years. Our development hires out the gardening and it is sometimes hard to know (or care) where the piping is buried.

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