How to install a sprinkler system? If you want to do it yourself or tackle some sprinkler repair Longwood maybe this article can help.
Designing the Irrigation System
The first task is to flag the location of each sprinkler valve. According to the sprinkler system design using different colored flags for each zone sprinkler will help simplify the installation. For example, zone one heads are blue flags, zone two heads are green flags, etc. Marking spray will show the exact location of where to dig the trenches after turning off the water supply.
Connecting to the Water Supply
Dig up the main water line near the water meter. The reason we’re next to the water meter is: we want the most amount of volume and water pressure to feed our sprinkler system. Using a tee, tap into the house line into our irrigation main line.
It is a one-inch pipe with a ball valve. Now the ball valve is there, so we can turn off the water to our irrigation system, while maintaining water flow to the rest of the home. We also use a valve box that goes over our ball valve and once we fill it in with dirt we’ll be able to loop the lid right here and get in and turn off our water without having to mess around with digging it all out.
Trenching is the most time-consuming and physically demanding part of this job. Do-It-Yourselfers you’re going to want to get several friends to help. Before the valves goes the backflow prevention device. The Seminole County water district requires a Reduced Pressure backflow preventer when you’re installing sprinkler systems, because it keeps contaminated water from flowing back into your drinking water source.
Whether use a reduced pressure or pressure vacuum breaker, we recommend some kind of backflow prevention.
Now that we’ve installed our ball valve and our mainline, we can turn the water onto the rest of the home. Sometimes roots can pose a significant challenge. Having an axe or reciprocating saw can make the task quicker than using a shovel only.
Piping in the Solenoid Valves
Solenoid valves can be piped in different ways. If you have a smaller sized yard, installing a valve manifold usually works very well. This is when valves are all clustered together in one spot. For larger yards where longer runs of pipe are needed for the zones, you can run mainline along with the lateral lines and place the valves in the middle of the zones. Take photos or remember where the valves are with a drawing in case you need to do some lawn irrigation repair in the future.
Generally speaking it’s safe to use class 200 pipe to feed the sprinkler heads (lateral lines) and that can save you a little bit of money versus schedule 40.
Because the soil in Longwood is sandy, you can use a water hose to bore under the driveway. To run the pipe under the driveway we recommend using a water-powered, boring kit. What you do is you put a high-pressure nozzle in the end of your class 200 pipe and you slowly push it under the driveway and the water pressure pushes the dirt all the way, creating a tunnel for the pipe to go through. Then just connect that to the rest of your irrigation system.
Using Swing Joint Connections
The old school way of connecting sprinkler heads to zone pipe was using threaded schedule 80 nipples. This is not recommended as the nipples break easily under the weight of zero turn mowers or car tires.
A swing joint is much flexible, and it can be moved easily into position. Not only does its flexibility make it less breakable, it helps with adjusting the height of your sprinkler head.
If the St Augustine turf thatch were to change the height of the ground, you just dig it up, put a little dirt underneath it and pull it up a little bit and adjust at the joints.
Sprinkler Control Wire
We will use direct burial wire, which means we do not have to run a conduit in order to bury this wire underground. Let’s say we have three valves. We will need a wire for each valve as well as a common wire that connects to all three. So, four wires are needed to control three valves. Standard practice is to make the control wires one color and the common a different color. This with help with any sprinkler repair Longwood in the future.
We are going to wrap a small coil of each wire at the valves as it adds a little bit of an extra protection against power surges. To make the wire connections we will use waterproof silicone filled wire connectors to prevent corrosion.
You want to overfill your trenches when you’re filling them back in. Otherwise, when the soil gets wet and begins to settle it’ll sink down a little bit. You want to tamp it down to get it nice and compact. That way, you don’t leave any signs of trenches in your yard.
Crushed rock or gravel under your valve boxes can help with drainage and provide a nice solid foundation in case anything heavy ever rolls over on top of it.
Rain Sensors Required in Florida
We are going to install a rain sensor as they are required by law. We want this to be above where the sprinklers are going to be spraying, because we obviously don’t want water to get on it and turn it off. I prefer wireless rain sensors as they can be placed any where on the property easily.
Installing the Irrigation Timer
I prefer outdoor sprinkler system controllers as it forgoes the need to run wire inside the garage to a non-weather proof timer.
Generally the first valves that are set to come on are ones near the road or sidewalk. This way those zones have finished watering before joggers and dog walkers are out on the streets.
Smart controllers are very popular now and can be controlled by phone from anywhere in the world. You often do not need a rain sensor with them as they collect weather data and run your irrigation system according to the forecast. However, the still need to run only on the days allowed by the Seminole County water restrictions.
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