View Full Version : First time running

Watson's Landscaping
03-12-2007, 07:58 PM
well this year i'm offering sprinkler repairs to my lawn clients, and would also like to be able to turn on there systems for the first time for them. Is there any thing i should know, besides turning the water on slowly so I dont blow there lines out.

Dirty Water
03-12-2007, 08:01 PM
My typical turn on consists of this:

Locate and visually inspect backflow for cracks or damage.

Turn on water.

Check timer, make sure proper program is set, and correct date and time.

Look for any mainline leaks.

Run each zone, look for leaks/broken heads/adjustment problems etc.

Note any problems, and inform owner.

Watson's Landscaping
03-12-2007, 11:03 PM
Dirty Water
Thanks that was great but what do u mean the "backflow" would than be outside next to the main vale box.

Dirty Water
03-12-2007, 11:42 PM
The backflow preventer is a device that is used to keep water from traveling back into the well or water main in event of a backflow or backsiphonage event.

Depending on what the codes in your area are, they could be DoubleCheck Valves, and they would be buried in a valvebox or mounted in a basement/crawlspace depending on weather conditions there:


Otherplaces use PVB's or RPZ's. These devices have to be mounted above grade, and you'll often find them next to buildings. You will rarely find one in a basement or crawlspace, but if the winters are cold, then you will most likely find a shutoff and drain inside.





However, the question I have, is how competent are you going to be at sprinkler repairs if you don't know how to identify a common and fundamental device used with them?

03-13-2007, 09:32 AM
that is a good question.....

I have one...

I want to start mowing lawns...what is that thingie with the handle that makes loud noises...and how do I get it to move.....

03-13-2007, 09:52 AM
that is a good question.....

I have one...

I want to start mowing lawns...what is that thingie with the handle that makes loud noises...and how do I get it to move.....If you tickle her in just the right spot she will make noises and move all over.....oh wait that's another forum... Never mind.:o

03-13-2007, 10:31 AM
Wow...you do realize that being able to figure out what's wrong with an irrigation system is a bit of an art and requires a pretty wide array of knowledge?

I can train monkey's to do an install, the real magic is in being able to do a repair... I wish your customer's luck..

03-13-2007, 04:25 PM
While we're trading knowledge what kind of plants should I put in my flower beds?

03-13-2007, 04:36 PM
While we're trading knowledge what kind of plants should I put in my flower beds?

Lets see your flower beds, and we will tell you what your tastes are for plantings...

03-13-2007, 05:42 PM
While we're trading knowledge what kind of plants should I put in my flower beds?Hey, I know, I know! ~ Flowers?

Watson's Landscaping
03-13-2007, 06:35 PM
Hey guys THANKS for all that help. And yes I'm sure i'll be able to do my repairs i've be working w/ a very large system at the Harbor were I work full time and for some odd reason it seams to make a lot more sense to me then the small ones on the house lots. But thanks any way dirty water and the type of backflows we have up here for the most part are the PVB.

03-13-2007, 06:40 PM
How much money do you plan to spend on a repair inventory?

Mike Leary
03-16-2007, 07:26 PM
Welcome to irrigation 101: you may want to think about liability issues.

03-16-2007, 07:57 PM
You guys are ripping this poor fella a new one...didn't all you guys start out the same way...not knowing anything?? Everyone has to learn, at least he is doing it for his existing lawn customers. I mean I dont know how it is in your areas but down here in central florida irrigation systems are not rocket science....just my two cents

good day

Watson's Landscaping
03-16-2007, 08:06 PM
Hey thanks for the backup this site can be PRETTY harsh.

Mike Leary
03-16-2007, 08:14 PM
No one is ripping him a new one ( o.k., a little), the point is with sprinklers, " you touch it, you fix it". He should do what the rest of us had to
do in the early days: bother the reps, bother the suppliers, bother the competion ( o.k., that works not) Get up with some knowledge.

03-16-2007, 08:16 PM
The idea is that a dedicated craftsman will perservere despite getting ripped, and that a marginal character will go back to what he ought to be doing. :nono:
Irrigation isn't rocket science, but neither is plumbing. And both have requirements of inventory and insurance apart from lawn cutting.

Mike Leary
03-16-2007, 08:48 PM
Good point, wet boots, sprinklers are a niche industry, lotsa bucks can be
made if you chose and service your market. Sucess comes when the client
stops fooling with the clock and lets your crew manage the system. You then
have a depression-proof biz: Start-up, backflow test, spring start-up "cookie-
cut turf heads, set controller, summer adjust, fall adjust, shut-down, compressor-winterize. I like remotes, any system over 12 zones gets one.
Don't fool with the Hunter remote: waaaaay too slow, buy a Rain Master.

03-17-2007, 02:01 AM
So, we are picking on the new guy and harsh?? Well, I "learned" by working my arse off digging 4" mains on a golf course where screwing up meant you didn't get to go home, the boss was standing over your shoulder the entire time you "fixed" your mistake, and if you were lucky it wasn't in the middle of the summer while he was grumbling about how bad he needed the water. Most of us came up through the ranks in some fashion. No one handed us a magic customer list and said "see if you can make it all work". I don't have very many days that I don't ask myself why I didn't learn another trade. Well, actually I have learned several, but irrigation has by and far over the years paid the best. Might be because I am ALMOST adequate. BTW, if I am ALMOST adequate, how many of these guy do you think I actually believe have any buisness at all touching an irrigation system. Sure, its not rocket science. Its not brain surgery. BUT, it is a skilled trade that requires knowledge, dedication, and training to do correctly. I have "left" irrigation to take over a small 9 hole golf course. This move is best for my family. I have "left" irrigation to maintain aprox. 200 valves operating around 250 industrial heads. This system has been "maintained" by a revolving door of guys who think that irrigation and turf management "isn't rocket science". I doubt I get the damage by almost trained monkeys repaired this season. It will probably take most of next season too.

03-17-2007, 09:22 AM
I took it as the guy was talking about doing residential service and repairs for his existing customers?? In my opinion that is the best was to learn. Some times I take for granted that down here in Florida there isnt really much to "service" When a system is set up down here as long as the homeowner leaves the clock alone and the lawn guy stays off the heads(which if they are installed right will happen) there really is no "service" we dont winterize, no shut down and start up here...thats where the not rocket science comment comes from. I know large spreads get more complex but I didnt think we were talking about that....

good day

03-17-2007, 09:24 AM
I learned digging up Valve In Heads and 6 inch mainlines on a golf course...as well as rewiring an entire 9 holes.....I have no sympathy for those that get ripped.

I do have advice...and you aren't going to like it.

Go work for someone...work your way up the ladder...if you are worth your salt, in 2 seasons you will be ready (work-wise, not business sense)....to go out on your own.

Good luck

03-17-2007, 10:23 AM
that's a good point... maybe someone should post this advice in the sticky up top.

We get a lot of guys come through here wanting to add on to to heir business and dive into sprinklers... How many guys that have established businesses here started out on their own and learned what they needed to know on irrigationtutorials?

I started with a sprinkler co for four years and started by just digging the holes for the guys to come behind and make the connections.

maybe sub it out, hire a sprinkler tech?

03-17-2007, 02:15 PM
The main problem I see is that this forum is really not set up as a training forum and perhaps that is why some are inclined to "ripping" a person asking a question when they should have done some homework first. It is great when guys have familiar experience and knowledge and then we can dicker about the idiosyncrasies of our personal preferences. But, we are basing these differences on years of experience and on the same universal principles of irrigation "rocket science" of hydraulics and how an irrigation system works to promote plant growth.

There are numerous sites out there (including whatever manufacturer you're planning on using) that offer the exact info you're seeking via downloading PDF files and will even send you written information. Most of us learned from the "school of hard knocks" because this info was not readily available in our early days. Perhaps this is the attitude difference some newbies get when they ask their questions? There have even been numerous homeowners that we have helped out... BUT they did their homework first and had a basic understanding before asking their questions. They were looking for the "knowledge kernals" that we could then offer based on our experience and knowledge which then might suit their particular situation best.

03-17-2007, 02:36 PM
Any grass cutter without a 36 is open to being ripped :p

03-17-2007, 02:45 PM
Any grass cutter without a 36 is open to being ripped :p

Ouch, my primary responsibility these days besides fixing a run down irrigation system is cutting grass............I don't have a 36 on the place. Smallest swath I can cut is with the tri-plex greens mower. I think the cut is 60" - three 22" units. I do have a 18 or 22 push mower and I've got a 22" walking greensmower comming. My next smallest unit is a 72. Oh, and then the 14' bat wing pull behind rough unit. So, rip away :walking: :drinkup: