PDA

View Full Version : Newly installed irrigation system troubleshooting


Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 08:31 PM
Hey guys, I'm usually on the Fertilizer lawn end of things but I'm trying to learn a lot about the Irrigation aspect of things. I just had an irrigation system installed at my house and I'm having some issues with it that I will need some advice on. If any of you can offer any, I'd greatly appreciate it.

First off, I'll give you the basics.

3/4" line coming from town water supply, going into an older 3/4" spigot, into a 5/8" town supplied water meter, going into another older 3/4" spigot, out to 3/4" line, into 3/4" Febco backflow, and into 1" mainline to the first valve box.

I have 90 psi at the backflow and a 6 zone system.

Zone 1 - 3 Hunter Pros 04's (left side front bed)
Zone 2 - 3 Hunter Pros 04's (left side front bed)
Zone 3 - 4 Hunter PGP's (front circle)
Zone 4 - 4 Hunter PGP's (back lawn)
Zone 5 - 4 Hunter PGP's (back lawn)
Zone 6 - 3 Hunter Pros 04's (back strip of lawn)

Problem # 1 - When system turns on (doesn't matter which zone it is), the backflow leaks water everywhere (luckily it's mounted outside the house). To rectify this, I need to turn one of the ball valves to the closed position and slowly open it, then that zone will work fine. Because of this, I cannot trust the system to run when I'm not home or when I'm asleep.

Problem # 2 - Area in center of backyard is not getting hit with the PGP's. I've changed out nozzles and have gotten it to hit those areas but I'm still not too happy with the way it's done and I feel as though this may be a band aid fix.

I've had the irrigation contractor back 3 different times to address these issues and he's at a loss. I've decided to try and rectify these issues but I may need your help in steering me into the right direction.

So far, I've done a couple of things in regards to the backflow. I've talked to my local plumber (the person who installed the backflow) and he came out with a gauge to check things out. He showed me that I'm getting 90 psi at the backflow but when the zones kick on, the pressure drops to 20 psi before rapidly increasing. He thinks my problem may be twofold. He's proposing to change the old style 3/4" spigots on the main line before and after the water meter, to new 3/4" full flow ball valves. He thinks that this may reduce that rapid pressure drop. If that doesn't work, he suggested changing the 5/8" water meter to 3/4". My question to you all is this, "Are we on the right track?"

As for the area in the center of my yard that's not getting "hit" by the irrigation heads, I've changed out a bunch of nozzles in the PGP's. Prior to my changing them, I noted that the irrigation contractor had the Red # 3's in all heads. I did some research on matching precipitation rates and changed out the corners to # 2's and the 180 degree units, I changed them out to # 4's. This helped a lot but I feel as though this is a band aid fix and I think I may have to have another zone put in where there's a head directly in the center of the yard. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

If anyone can offer some advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks,

Pete

Wet_Boots
09-05-2011, 08:38 PM
tell us about your location

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 08:58 PM
Why the hell was not a 1" mainline and backflow installed to the valve manifold from the meter is beyond me. Is the backflow assembly a DCVA or a RP? Having x amount of static pressure means nothing after figuring friction loss to the head. What's the deal with the "spigots", is it not a automatic system? My head hurts. :dizzy:

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 09:00 PM
Pete -
do you know what you are getting for gallon per min at the backflow? Having spiggots at the meter is deffinetly a big choking point, swap those for ball valves. One of the biggest thing i'm thinking is your supply is 3/4" but you are upping that to 1" irrigation line, you're losing alot of presure there. How long are he runs from the house to the v.box, and from the v.box to the heads? What about elevation change, is your yard flat or are there heads that are higher than the febco.

You don't have any guys that come in that can swing buy your house and figure it out? John M. should be able to point you in the right dirrection.

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 09:17 PM
tell us about your location

I'm in Wareham, Massachusetts.

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 09:18 PM
realized I accidentaly deleated a sentence, that 5/8" meter is a big issue.

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 09:21 PM
Why the hell was not a 1" mainline and backflow installed to the valve manifold from the meter is beyond me. Is the backflow assembly a DCVA or a RP? Having x amount of static pressure means nothing after figuring friction loss to the head. What's the deal with the "spigots", is it not a automatic system? My head hurts. :dizzy:

I do not know why a 1" mainline and backflow weren't installed. I have 3/4" line coming in from the town's water supply, through the foundation of my house to a 3/4" old style "needle and seat" spigot. From there, it goes into a 5/8" water meter that's been supplied by the town. From there, it goes into another 3/4" old style "needle and seat" spigot. From there, the main water supply line inside my house is 3/4", thus, the 3/4" line to the 3/4" backflow, to a 1" line to the valve box. The spigots are there so that the water can be shut off and the meter changed or serviced by the town. It's "code" in my town for this setup.

mitchgo
09-05-2011, 09:22 PM
realized I accidentaly deleated a sentence, that 5/8" meter is a big issue.

no it's not it's the 3/4 city supply upstream of the meter is the bigger issue.. Many people use this line all at once.

Having a massive pressure drop like that indicates a severe flow restriction.. More then likely it's your service line that supplies your house ( probably galvi).. Tapping the back flow assembly at the water meter's point of connection would help reduce this.. However more investigation is needed . Make sure all your valves are open fully including your water meter

DanaMac
09-05-2011, 09:26 PM
It's a matter of available water volume. You have high pressure, but weak volume availability. It may be in the spigot that you mentioned. Something is blocking the water.
1. the contractor did a poor upfront job of designing the system to the available water volume provided
2. you/he/plumber may be able to help correct it by, like you said, replacing the inline components to allow better water flow - spigot, meter, etc.
3. reducing the nozzle sizes may help prevent the water from dumping, but performance of the heads and coverage will be weak
4. pressure regulator may be faulty, giving high pressure, but low water volume output
5. if that contractor could not troubleshoot this, then he doesn't know what he is doing and you may be in for a lot more problems if the rest of his install follows his troubleshooting skills

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 09:29 PM
Pete -
do you know what you are getting for gallon per min at the backflow? I guess I'll have to check that and can do that tomorrow afternoon after work. Having spiggots at the meter is deffinetly a big choking point, swap those for ball valves. One of the biggest thing i'm thinking is your supply is 3/4" but you are upping that to 1" irrigation line, you're losing alot of presure there. How long are he runs from the house to the v.box, and from the v.box to the heads? What about elevation change, is your yard flat or are there heads that are higher than the febco.

You don't have any guys that come in that can swing buy your house and figure it out? John M. should be able to point you in the right dirrection.

I don't know what we're getting for gallons per minute at the backflow. My plumber said that the spigots and meter are definitely a problem and he proposes the changing of the spigots to 3/4" full flow ball valves. If that doesn't work, he said that the meter will have to be changed to a 3/4" unit by the town water department. I'm waiting for them to come and change the ball valves and this will definitely get done. If it doesn't fix the backflow flooding problem, I'll get the meter changed as well, then everything will be 3/4" up to the backflow and 1" from that point on.

My ground is relatively flat and none of the heads are above the backflow in terms of elevation. The backflow is on the side of the house, directly above the first valve box and there's a 1" supply line from the backflow to that valve box. I then have a 25' one inch line that goes out to my backyard to valve box number two.

I don't have any guys that can swing by and check it out, that's why I'm asking for help here. Also, it helps me to understand things better. I have talked to John M and he's also on board with the meter being a bottleneck to the system.

On a side note, I have other questions in regards to the Red PGP nozzles. How do you know which ones to put in the heads as a base starting point? I've been reading up on matched precipitation rates and I understand how they work but don't understand what a starting point should be. Is it based on pressure, volume, or both?

I will get this system working 100%, it's just a matter of time!:drinkup:

Wet_Boots
09-05-2011, 09:37 PM
..............................3/4" line coming from town water supply, going into an older 3/4" spigot, into a 5/8" town supplied water meter, going into another older 3/4" spigot, out to 3/4" line, into 3/4" Febco backflow, and into 1" mainline to the first valve box................some photos would help

the 5/8-inch meter isn't as much an issue as the 3/4-inch stop valves probably are

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 09:43 PM
no it's not it's the 3/4 city supply upstream of the meter is the bigger issue.. Many people use this line all at once.

Having a massive pressure drop like that indicates a severe flow restriction.. More then likely it's your service line that supplies your house ( probably galvi).. Tapping the back flow assembly at the water meter's point of connection would help reduce this.. However more investigation is needed . Make sure all your valves are open fully including your water meter

I agree but because I'm new to all this, I don't know if I'm an uneducated idiot or something else. I compare it to the fuel system in my car. In my car, I have 3/8" line from the tank all the way to the mechanical pump, then I have 3/8" line from the pump to the carbs. We had to modify the pickup in the tank from 5/16" line to the 3/8" line to make everything the same. Having my house's supply line at 3/4" and the meter at 5/8" is certainly hurting my chances of feeding the irrigation system's 1" line.

My water meter is inside my basement, about 8 feet from the backflow on the outside wall. All of the piping is copper, including the 3/4" line coming through my foundation from the street.

I've talked to the guy at the Water Department and he said that I can increase the meter size to 3/4" but that the supply line will have to stay 3/4" unless it fails at some point because they're not going to dig up the road to allow me to have that supply line changed.

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 09:45 PM
when you are saying spigot are you talking about 3/4 copper going into the back and then threads on the other end for a hose? like you have on the outside of the house for your regular hose connection? Or is it just a valve with copper going into each end, with a handle you spin multiple times to open or close

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 09:47 PM
some photos would help

the 5/8-inch meter isn't as much an issue as the 3/4-inch stop valves probably are

I'll go take some right now. Do you think I should have the 3/4" backflow changed out to a 1" unit? If so, the supply line would still be 3/4", unless the plumber changed that out to 1" at the point of his line tapping. It would still remain 3/4" from the meter to that point though.

mitchgo
09-05-2011, 09:49 PM
Just replaced an old gate valve the other day that was stuck about 3/4 of the way closed

Wet_Boots
09-05-2011, 09:51 PM
Turning the water off at the street is a necessary step to be able to replace all the old valves.

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 09:59 PM
I don't know what we're getting for gallons per minute at the backflow. My plumber said that the spigots and meter are definitely a problem and he proposes the changing of the spigots to 3/4" full flow ball valves. If that doesn't work, he said that the meter will have to be changed to a 3/4" unit by the town water department. I'm waiting for them to come and change the ball valves and this will definitely get done. If it doesn't fix the backflow flooding problem, I'll get the meter changed as well, then everything will be 3/4" up to the backflow and 1" from that point on.

My ground is relatively flat and none of the heads are above the backflow in terms of elevation. The backflow is on the side of the house, directly above the first valve box and there's a 1" supply line from the backflow to that valve box. I then have a 25' one inch line that goes out to my backyard to valve box number two.

I don't have any guys that can swing by and check it out, that's why I'm asking for help here. Also, it helps me to understand things better. I have talked to John M and he's also on board with the meter being a bottleneck to the system.

On a side note, I have other questions in regards to the Red PGP nozzles. How do you know which ones to put in the heads as a base starting point? I've been reading up on matched precipitation rates and I understand how they work but don't understand what a starting point should be. Is it based on pressure, volume, or both?

I will get this system working 100%, it's just a matter of time!:drinkup:

to know which ones to use you need your available gpm and psi. then use the charts that come in the boxes of pgp's or at: http://hunterindustries.com/Products/Rotors/pgp.html
Each nozzle will give you the distances and percipitation rate for different preasures. Use your presure and the nozzle that will get your distance, while trying to keep the precipitation rates as close as posible. Theres alot more to it than that, if the heads are 360, 180, 90 degrees it will change. Also you have to figure in pressure loss through the length of the pipe, valves, each fitting will lower the presure. But the chart will get you started. Hunter has a real good manual that explains how to do all the calculations, I'm not sure how redilly available it is, it was given out at a training course managers went to in 08. I would check with, Jim the hunter rep, and see if they are still available. That way you'll atleast have that in the future

Sprinkus
09-05-2011, 10:00 PM
Hopefully the corporation valve at the tie in to the city main, not the stop valve at the meter, is all the way open.
I've seen problems with that a few times.

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:01 PM
Hey guys, I'm back with pic's. Before I post them, I want to Thank You all again for trying to help out. O.k., here's the pic's.

Pic # 1 - 3/4" main line from foundation into older style 3/4" "needle and seat" spigot, into 5/8" meter, into another 3/4" older style 3/4" "needle and seat" spigot.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_1068.jpg

Pic # 2 - Entire unit from pic # 1, showing how it goes up into the ceiling area. All lines from the meter out are 3/4". Edit: The line and spigot in the ceiling area are actually for my existing spigot outside for my garden hose.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_1069.jpg

Pic # 3 - Entire unit from pic's 1 & 2, showing where my plumber tapped into existing 3/4" line and added 3/4" line, ball valve, and more line through the ceiling area, out through the wall, and into the 3/4" backflow. The line in the ceiling area with the older style spigot is for my existing garden hose spigot on the outside of my house and is not the one for the backflow!

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_1070.jpg

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:04 PM
Turning the water off at the street is a necessary step to be able to replace all the old valves.

Yes, my plumber is going to make an appointment with the town water department so they can shut the water off and allow them to change the valves. We're going to see if this helps out. If not, then the meter will be getting changed by the town.

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 10:06 PM
Questions, questions, questions.....must be a AVB/ PVB backflow to cause the leakage? Umm, I just saw the pics: where's the backflow preventer and they put meters in the basement?

mitchgo
09-05-2011, 10:13 PM
Questions, questions, questions.....must be a AVB/ PVB backflow to cause the leakage? Umm, I just saw the pics: where's the backflow preventer and they put meters in the basement?

Yeah he lives in MA which is fairly normal to have meters in the basement.. I think spokane has just about all there meters in there basement too.

It's a PVB because of the water loss when the system turns on, he said it's located outside his house.

To the OP

I think replacing the gate valves is a good thing.. While it's taken apart you should do a Gallon per minute check


Meter's in the basement are weird to me because that means either the city has to come back out after the house is installed to install the service line from there main line.. Or do they install it into the property without fully knowing the design of the house

Wet_Boots
09-05-2011, 10:16 PM
Changing the meter won't be necessary for a system with 4 PGPs in a zone.

(those are not gate valves - they are "stop valves")

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:18 PM
Yes, the meters are all in the basements here and if you look in my 2nd picture, you'll see a wire hanging off of the ceiling joists. This wire goes through the outside wall to a Black plastic thingy where the town meter readers can plug something into it to see how much water I've used. They take two meter readings yearly, one in May and the other in November.

What's a PVB?

Oh, I must say that once I "regulate" the ball valve on the backflow to turn on a zone, the zone works perfectly, with plenty of pressure and volume (except for the two zones in the backyard where I had that area that wasn't getting hit by the PGP's). My front lawn and mulch/shrub areas are looking very nice and the new grass is coming up excellent.

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 10:18 PM
Mike, up here it is standard for the meter to be in the basement. The water main out side has to be below the freeze plain so that the line doesn't freeze up solid. We usually have a wire, or wireless, display outside for the water department to read for billing. What throws me off in the pic is that he has a valve before the meter. I have never seen that before. What is to keep you from tapping in before the meter to bypass it

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:21 PM
when you are saying spigot are you talking about 3/4 copper going into the back and then threads on the other end for a hose? like you have on the outside of the house for your regular hose connection? Or is it just a valve with copper going into each end, with a handle you spin multiple times to open or close

Sorry for the confusion. I guess they're not spigots. They've got 3/4" copper line going into each end, with the handle that you spin multiple times to open and close them. DOH, on my part!

Wet_Boots
09-05-2011, 10:22 PM
......................What is to keep you from tapping in before the meter to bypass itHonesty, young Horatio Alger :rolleyes:

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 10:23 PM
Yes, the meters are all in the basements here and if you look in my 2nd picture, you'll see a wire hanging off of the ceiling joists. This wire goes through the outside wall to a Black plastic thingy where the town meter readers can plug something into it to see how much water I've used. They take two meter readings yearly, one in May and the other in November.

What's a PVB?

Oh, I must say that once I "regulate" the ball valve on the backflow to turn on a zone, the zone works perfectly, with plenty of pressure and volume (except for the two zones in the backyard where I had that area that wasn't getting hit by the PGP's). My front lawn and mulch/shrub areas are looking very nice and the new grass is coming up excellent.

I'm gonna agree it's a PVB, thats the standard up here for residential. Only thing else we usually see is a double check, but that is usually installed in the basement.

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 10:23 PM
:::::Backs out of thread,opens a jug of Chardonnay and starts planning to head south::::: :dizzy:

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:24 PM
Mike, up here it is standard for the meter to be in the basement. The water main out side has to be below the freeze plain so that the line doesn't freeze up solid. We usually have a wire, or wireless, display outside for the water department to read for billing. What throws me off in the pic is that he has a valve before the meter. I have never seen that before. What is to keep you from tapping in before the meter to bypass it

If I do that, I'd be in BIG TROUBLE! Because we have to pay for our water, I'd be running the irrigation system without the amount of water being calculated, thus in effect, I'd be running the system with free water. If I got caught, I'd be fined heavily.

mitchgo
09-05-2011, 10:24 PM
I have never seen that before. What is to keep you from tapping in before the meter to bypass it
lol

very true

Another foreman from the company I work found this at a customers house

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 10:28 PM
If I do that, I'd be in BIG TROUBLE! Because we have to pay for our water, I'd be running the irrigation system without the amount of water being calculated, thus in effect, I'd be running the system with free water. If I got caught, I'd be fined heavily.

Deffinetly not recommending you do it. I actually turned a customer in who was a d*** to me and had his plumbed up illegally. Are you on town sewer or do you have septic?

mitchgo
09-05-2011, 10:28 PM
(those are not gate valves - they are "stop valves")

can you explain the difference? My termonalogy isn't the best for older items

The one prior to the meter to me looks likes a regular sweat gate valve and the other a gate valve with a bleed off screw.

Is it different because the device that closes isn't an actual gate , but a ring type deal that creates the seat?

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 10:30 PM
can you explain the difference? My terminology isn't the best for older items

The one prior to the meter to me looks likes a regular sweat gate valve and the other a gate valve with a bleed off screw.

Is it different because the device that closes isn't an actual gate , but a ring type deal that creates the seat?

Leave it to Boots to confuse us with nomenclature. The bleed-off valve is called a "stop-and-waste."

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:32 PM
O.k. guys, I didn't think my camera would take a picture in the pure Black sky but it did. Here's the outside of the house, showing the 3/4" Febco Backflow, 1" line down to the 3-Zone valvebox (these zones operate the system in the front yard). Not shown in these pic's, is the 25" one inch pipe that runs out to my backyard's 3-zone valvebox. I'm not a fan of the 1" plastic pipe being above ground like that and I'll be changing that to 1" copper piping at some point. Oh, at that spigot on the bottom of the Backflow, that's where the plumber and I saw 90 psi on his gauge, then it dropped down to 20 psi when the zone kicked on, it then raised itself to about 60 psi when the zone was working correctly.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_1072.jpg

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:34 PM
Deffinetly not recommending you do it. I actually turned a customer in who was a d*** to me and had his plumbed up illegally. Are you on town sewer or do you have septic?

Yeah, I won't do it. I'm an honest guy and I'm never looking for anything for free (except advice like on this site, LOL!) I have a Septic System so we're not on town sewer.

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 10:40 PM
I'm never looking for anything for free (except advice like on this site

You may regret that comment after we get done tearing your system apart. :)

greenmonster304
09-05-2011, 10:41 PM
That poly above ground looks sweet. Where did you find your installer, craigslist? Watch out for weed wackers.
Posted via Mobile Device

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:42 PM
to know which ones to use you need your available gpm and psi. then use the charts that come in the boxes of pgp's or at: http://hunterindustries.com/Products/Rotors/pgp.html
Each nozzle will give you the distances and percipitation rate for different preasures. Use your presure and the nozzle that will get your distance, while trying to keep the precipitation rates as close as posible. Theres alot more to it than that, if the heads are 360, 180, 90 degrees it will change. Also you have to figure in pressure loss through the length of the pipe, valves, each fitting will lower the presure. But the chart will get you started. Hunter has a real good manual that explains how to do all the calculations, I'm not sure how redilly available it is, it was given out at a training course managers went to in 08. I would check with, Jim the hunter rep, and see if they are still available. That way you'll atleast have that in the future

Thanks for the info here, very good! I'll be educating myself much more in this area. For now, I changed some of the nozzles (180 degree units) to number 4's and I put 2's in the 90 degree corner units. This helped to alleviate the area that wasn't getting hit. I kind of compared it to a car running out of fuel at high rpms - just keep changing the jets on the secondary side of the carburetor until it doesn't "nose over." LOL!

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:43 PM
You may regret that comment after we get done tearing your system apart. :)

LOL! Be easy on me!

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 10:45 PM
That poly above ground looks sweet. Where did you find your installer, craigslist? Watch out for weed wackers.
Posted via Mobile Device

Believe it or not, I've seen this many times in my travels. I'm not a fan of it either. I will have it changed out to copper but that's the most trivial part of what's going on at the moment. I need to fix this pressure/drop problem so that the Backflow doesn't malfunction. Everything else is minor.

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 10:46 PM
That poly above ground looks sweet. Where did you find your installer, craigslist? Watch out for weed wackers.
Posted via Mobile Device

thats more common up here than anything. You can usually tell it is a good installer when there is pvc or copper above ground and then poly for the rest

Wet_Boots
09-05-2011, 10:49 PM
can you explain the difference? My termonalogy isn't the best for older items

The one prior to the meter to me looks likes a regular sweat gate valve and the other a gate valve with a bleed off screw.

Is it different because the device that closes isn't an actual gate , but a ring type deal that creates the seat?a stop valve is a globe valve, with a seat and a washer - if it has a bleed screw on the outlet side, it is a stop-and-waste valve - some of the modern ones are flow restrictions

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 10:54 PM
I'd hate to be the backflow tester; we did carry offsets for those installs, and charged for it.

Wet_Boots
09-05-2011, 11:02 PM
As a last resort, the Febco PVB can be replaced with a Wilkins 720. Those will still dump a little when pressure gets low enough, but they don't stay in dump mode, and will reseal themselves when the heads are popped up.

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 11:03 PM
I'd hate to be the backflow tester; we did carry offsets for those installs, and charged for it.

backflow testing up here :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

I have a plumber test all of mine at install just as something I do (plus I use this as a justification of my cost difference compared to other companies). But annual testing is nothing heard of here. Most towns look at you confused when you call town hall for an install permit. Most plumbing inspectors are shocked when you ask for a permit on an existing house like the op has. Most guys only pull a permit on new construction as they know the plumbing inspector will be there on site from time to time.

DanaMac
09-05-2011, 11:03 PM
Nothing wrong with the isolation valve before the meter. Every single home here is set up that way. Meters in the basements too. Almost every home here is also set up with a 3/4" service line, and a 5/8" meter. And we design systems at 10-12 gallons per minute. So there should be nothing wrong with that set up. Something has to be damaged like a bad gate valve, or there is just not enough water flow from the water department.
I am betting the gate valves on either side of that meter are at least one cause for the limited water flow.
Your installer is not a high quality installer. The system may operate just fine, but long term quality is not there. The black poly pipe above ground is not industry standard. The hose bibb before the backflow preventer that you measured the pressure on, does not meet most building codes as it is a cross connection. Someone could hook up a fertilizer unit or herbicides through a hose, at that connection, and in the right conditions it could get sucked back into your drinking water. But I know guys like AI on this site see that type of hook up all the time (I think it was AI anyway).
The installer should have checked his water flow availability before designing the zone.

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 11:15 PM
I need to fix this pressure/drop problem so that the Backflow doesn't malfunction. Everything else is minor.

Geez, I wish we all had Pay Pal accounts on this thread, could just sit around, pontificate, and bill for it. That being said, there is something about the BF draining that confuses me: a stuck poppet in the PVB, or can extreme low water pressure cause spew?

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 11:21 PM
The hose bibb before the backflow preventer that you measured the pressure on, does not meet most building codes as it is a cross connection. Someone could hook up a fertilizer unit or herbicides through a hose, at that connection, and in the right conditions it could get sucked back into your drinking water. But I know guys like AI on this site see that type of hook up all the time (I think it was AI anyway).
The installer should have checked his water flow availability before designing the zone.

That method is within MA plumbing codes. It is very common up here. I usually increase the hose bib supply line up to 1" and run it right out the same hole that the spigot previously used (obvously drilled out to fit the 1" copper). We then tee off and install a hose bib and the backflow as the picture shows. We of course leave more room than what this hack did.

Replacing that poly above ground with copper will help protect the line from damage, but it will throw off anyone you migh have come out and service it in the future. They'll see the copper and asume it's a good install, then be pissed when they actually see how the system really is.

I'm curious how the wiring looks. I'm picturing a birds nest in the controller and each box. Probably no greased caps, just electrical tape on the wire ends

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 11:25 PM
Geez, I wish we all had Pay Pal accounts on this thread, could just sit around, pontificate, and bill for it. That being said, there is something about the BF draining that confuses me: a stuck poppet in the PVB, or can extreme low water pressure cause spew?

low presure will cause them to open and spew when the valve opens and water begins to flow through the backflow. Once pressure builds it re-seats itself. It's real common on low pressure systems. I've never seen in spew water out for more than 2 or 3 seconds

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 11:29 PM
Nothing wrong with the isolation valve before the meter. Every single home here is set up that way. Meters in the basements too. Almost every home here is also set up with a 3/4" service line, and a 5/8" meter. And we design systems at 10-12 gallons per minute. So there should be nothing wrong with that set up. Something has to be damaged like a bad gate valve, or there is just not enough water flow from the water department.
I am betting the gate valves on either side of that meter are at least one cause for the limited water flow.
Your installer is not a high quality installer. The system may operate just fine, but long term quality is not there. The black poly pipe above ground is not industry standard. The hose bibb before the backflow preventer that you measured the pressure on, does not meet most building codes as it is a cross connection. Someone could hook up a fertilizer unit or herbicides through a hose, at that connection, and in the right conditions it could get sucked back into your drinking water. But I know guys like AI on this site see that type of hook up all the time (I think it was AI anyway).
The installer should have checked his water flow availability before designing the zone.

Yeah, my plumber thinks the Gate Valves are a big problem as well and that's why we're going to get them changed over to the 3/4" full flow ball valves. I'm not too sure why the hose bibb on the backflow preventer is there but I've also seen this on many systems up here as well. I agree that the installer should have checked the water flow before designing the zones but with 4 PGP's on each of the three rotary zones and 3 Pros 04's on each of the three mister zones, I don't see them being overloaded (not absolving him from checking the water flow beforehand). Again, I'm going to be checking into matching the precipitation rates after figuring out what my gallons per minute are.

At this point, I can't worry about anything else except for fixing this issue. Everything else (changing nozzles and changing the 1" above ground poly pipe) is something I feel that I can work on as I go. I will get this fixed, it's only a matter of time.

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 11:33 PM
low presure will cause them to open and spew when the valve opens and water begins to flow through the backflow. Once pressure builds it re-seats itself. It's real common on low pressure systems.

OP take note. Thanks GIA, I have no experience with vacuum breakers.

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 11:34 PM
Geez, I wish we all had Pay Pal accounts on this thread, could just sit around, pontificate, and bill for it. That being said, there is something about the BF draining that confuses me: a stuck poppet in the PVB, or can extreme low water pressure cause spew?

That's why I'm on here trying to figure this out. It's baffled not only me, but the installer and few other guys that I've talked to as well.

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 11:35 PM
As a last resort, the Febco PVB can be replaced with a Wilkins 720. Those will still dump a little when pressure gets low enough, but they don't stay in dump mode, and will reseal themselves when the heads are popped up.

Thanks for the heads up! I'll keep this in mind if all else fails.

GreenI.A.
09-05-2011, 11:36 PM
Yeah, my plumber thinks the Gate Valves are a big problem as well and that's why we're going to get them changed over to the 3/4" full flow ball valves. I'm not too sure why the hose bibb on the backflow preventer is there but I've also seen this on many systems up here as well. I agree that the installer should have checked the water flow before designing the zones but with 4 PGP's on each of the three rotary zones and 3 Pros 04's on each of the three mister zones, I don't see them being overloaded. Again, I'm going to be checking into matching the precipitation rates after figuring out what my gallons per minute are.

hose bib is between the house and the backflow so that during winterization that pipe before the bf can be blown out. From the pictures of your basement I cant see a hose bib betwen the irrigation ball valve and where the pipe exits the house. Is there on in there? that will alow you to blow all of the water out of the irrigation supply pipe before the bf. I would have your plumber install one in there. This spring I saw a copper pipe that cracked in the wall because it couldn't be fully drained with just the hose bib like you have out side

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 11:40 PM
That method is within MA plumbing codes. It is very common up here. I usually increase the hose bib supply line up to 1" and run it right out the same hole that the spigot previously used (obvously drilled out to fit the 1" copper). We then tee off and install a hose bib and the backflow as the picture shows. We of course leave more room than what this hack did.

Replacing that poly above ground with copper will help protect the line from damage, but it will throw off anyone you migh have come out and service it in the future. They'll see the copper and asume it's a good install, then be pissed when they actually see how the system really is.

I'm curious how the wiring looks. I'm picturing a birds nest in the controller and each box. Probably no greased caps, just electrical tape on the wire ends

The wiring looks good. It's nice and neat, with greased caps and wire ties holding it all in a nice bunch.

Mike Leary
09-05-2011, 11:43 PM
The wiring looks good. It's nice and neat, with greased caps and wire ties holding it all in a nice bunch.

Pics please, we've come this far without anyone freaking out.

Hissing Cobra
09-05-2011, 11:53 PM
Pics please, we've come this far without anyone freaking out.

Mike,

I've re-read every one of your posts in this thread and you've offered NOTHING in the way of help, just criticism. I'm trying to find a solution to this problem and if you have nothing constructive to add, please keep your comments to yourself.:hammerhead:

greenmonster304
09-05-2011, 11:56 PM
Just wondering if this installer did this as a favor/barter or side job?
Posted via Mobile Device

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 12:00 AM
Mike,

I've re-read every one of your posts in this thread and you've offered NOTHING in the way of help, just criticism. I'm trying to find a solution to this problem and if you have nothing constructive to add, please keep your comments to yourself.:hammerhead:

Loosen up pal, I'm as confused as you are, and if you had any sense of humor, you'd understand this is a forum where we help by asking each other what may seem like dumb comments or criticisms, but, I assure you, after your post , they are. Bye bye:waving:

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 12:06 AM
Just wondering if this installer did this as a favor/barter or side job?
Posted via Mobile Device

No, not at all and I also did not ask him to lower his pricing or anything like that. I paid a fair price. I've talked to a couple of other installers and they agreed that I paid fair market pricing.

I think this backflow problem would have happened regardless of who installed the system. As you can see, we're on page 6 already and there's no definite answers, although those valves seem to be a general consensus to be changed. We're definitely doing that, hopefully this week.

DanaMac
09-06-2011, 12:26 AM
Any changes should be on the shoulders of the contractor, not you. It is his fault for not doing his due diligence and building the system properly with what you have. if done right, he probably could have installed your system with what psi and gpm is available. Many of us have had to do 2-3 heads per zone due to available water flow.

I personally have been at fault in my early days for not checking and designing a system due to bad flow. Old galvanized pipes coming into the house, were corroded like a blocked artery. I ended up having to split zones in half, add more pipes and valves, increase the size of the controller, all on MY DIME. Not the homeowner's, and I did not have the homeowner trying to figure out what the problem is. I still have this customer as a twice a year, start up and shut down customer, 12 years later.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 12:28 AM
You might look for a real technician, that's all we are getting at, instead of milking us for free. We do make a living at this after all. Here's a possibility where a guy like you can find a pro:

GreenI.A.
09-06-2011, 12:31 AM
if you can tomorrow check your flow at the hose bib. Put a 5 gallon bucket under it and time how long it takes to fill. That will give us an idea of your flow for the system.

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 12:37 AM
if you can tomorrow check your flow at the hose bib. Put a 5 gallon bucket under it and time how long it takes to fill. That will give us an idea of your flow for the system.

I will do this.

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 12:39 AM
Any changes should be on the shoulders of the contractor, not you. It is his fault for not doing his due diligence and building the system properly with what you have. if done right, he probably could have installed your system with what psi and gpm is available. Many of us have had to do 2-3 heads per zone due to available water flow.

I personally have been at fault in my early days for not checking and designing a system due to bad flow. Old galvanized pipes coming into the house, were corroded like a blocked artery. I ended up having to split zones in half, add more pipes and valves, increase the size of the controller, all on MY DIME. Not the homeowner's, and I did not have the homeowner trying to figure out what the problem is. I still have this customer as a twice a year, start up and shut down customer, 12 years later.

I hear what you're saying and I'm not adverse to having him come back. To be honest, I don't think he can fix this issue.

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 12:40 AM
You might look for a real technician, that's all we are getting at, instead of milking us for free. We do make a living at this after all. Here's a possibility where a guy like you can find a pro:

Milking you for free? You haven't contributed anything to this thread except for crap like this. Please leave like you said you were going to do.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 12:41 AM
I hear what you're saying and I'm not adverse to having him come back. To be honest, I don't think he can fix this issue.

Is the system under any sort of warranty?

GreenI.A.
09-06-2011, 12:41 AM
Mike - I know the OP and he has access to get free info from plenty of guys in the industry. He stated earlier that he has described the situation to a few guys locally and they haven't been able to nail it. He's not like the H.O.'s that come on here just looking for free advise so they can bypass the experts and do it themselves for free.

Pete - I would definetly give the installer one more chance to comeout and get it operating right. I would get it in writing that if it is still not right then you will have another service company come out at the installers cost. Just get it in writing so that you don't end up having to 2x. Back in May I did a 12 zone install for an existing system. It was cheaper for the customer to pay me for a second one then to fix the existing system

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 12:46 AM
Mike - I know the OP and he has access to get free info from plenty of guys in the industry. He stated earlier that he has described the situation to a few guys locally and they haven't been able to nail it. He's not like the H.O.'s that come on here just looking for free advise so they can bypass the experts and do it themselves for free.

With that, I apologize to the OP. *trucewhiteflag*

DanaMac
09-06-2011, 12:52 AM
Mike - I know the OP and he has access to get free info from plenty of guys in the industry. He stated earlier that he has described the situation to a few guys locally and they haven't been able to nail it. He's not like the H.O.'s that come on here just looking for free advise so they can bypass the experts and do it themselves for free.


Are you, or were you, able to go on site to troubleshoot? On site troubleshooting and advice is much more valuable and accurate than getting a bunch of free advice from a bunch of hacks :) on a website where systems and install practices vary from region to region.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 08:07 AM
That poly above ground looks sweet. Where did you find your installer, craigslist? Watch out for weed wackers.
Posted via Mobile Device

Exactly , first sign of a hack. Or maybe the first sign was the fact that he never even did a bucket test.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 08:08 AM
Believe it or not, I've seen this many times in my travels. I'm not a fan of it either. I will have it changed out to copper but that's the most trivial part of what's going on at the moment. I need to fix this pressure/drop problem so that the Backflow doesn't malfunction. Everything else is minor.

Get rid of those stop and waste valves. The meter will have screens on both side , prolly clogged, yank em. 5/8 meter does not matter , very common on resi in our area.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 08:09 AM
Geez, I wish we all had Pay Pal accounts on this thread, could just sit around, pontificate, and bill for it. That being said, there is something about the BF draining that confuses me: a stuck poppet in the PVB, or can extreme low water pressure cause spew?

Yes , its low pressure , turning the system side BV 1/4 way off may be enough to remedy it.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 08:13 AM
I hear what you're saying and I'm not adverse to having him come back. To be honest, I don't think he can fix this issue.

Then he is a hack, this is elementry. Curious , what did you pay for the install?

Kiril
09-06-2011, 10:08 AM
I see no reason why this system shouldn't work as it has been described. Why hasn't anyone considered the possibility the backflow is defective? Has it been torn apart, checked, and reassembled? Does anyone have dynamic pressure readings at the PVB (upstream and downstream) for all zones? How about nozzle pressures for each zone? System flow rate for each zone? Pretty difficult to diagnose problems without data.

Tom Tom
09-06-2011, 12:19 PM
Did you actually make sure all the existing valves are fully open?

charlie z
09-06-2011, 02:36 PM
Did you check curb stop to make sure its opened all the way ?, If its not opened all the way you will get good pressure but bad flow

hamham
09-06-2011, 02:50 PM
We know:

1. 90 psi static before the backflow
2. 20 psi dynamic before the backflow once the zone opens.

Therefore: You have 70 psi drop at that location upon flow, which means you have a problem between the backflow and the city water main.


To find the source of the problem you need to find where the excess pressure drop is by:

1. Put a pressure gauge on the hose bib on the left in post #35. Then give us the static and dynamic pressure readings again.

2. While the plumber is there, put in a pressure gauge tap after the upstream meter shutoff valve. Take static and dynamic readings.

3. While the plumber is there, put in a pressure gauge tap after the downsteam meter shutoff valve. Take static and dynamic readings.

If you get these readings, you will know if its the city lateral to your house, the meter, or the plumbing in your house.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 02:57 PM
We know:

1. 90 psi static before the backflow
2. 20 psi dynamic before the backflow once the zone opens.

Therefore: You have 70 psi drop at that location upon flow, which means you have a problem between the backflow and the city water main.


To find the source of the problem you need to find where the excess pressure drop is by:

1. Put a pressure gauge on the hose bib on the left in post #35. Then give us the static and dynamic pressure readings again.

2. While the plumber is there, put in a pressure gauge tap after the upstream meter shutoff valve. Take static and dynamic readings.

3. While the plumber is there, put in a pressure gauge tap after the downsteam meter shutoff valve. Take static and dynamic readings.

If you get these readings, you will know if its the city lateral to your house, the meter, or the plumbing in your house.
Excellent critical path method, we'll all be interested in what the OP finds.

Kiril
09-06-2011, 03:46 PM
Excellent critical path method, we'll all be interested in what the OP finds.

One critical problem .... the dynamic pressure doesn't hold at 20 PSI, it drops to 20 PSI when the zone valve opens, then increases rapidly.

I've talked to my local plumber (the person who installed the backflow) and he came out with a gauge to check things out. He showed me that I'm getting 90 psi at the backflow but when the zones kick on, the pressure drops to 20 psi before rapidly increasing.

This is a point I think most people missed, and is expected to occur when a zone valve opens. The question here is why is the back flow dumping when line conditions do not meet a dumping situation. A drop to 20 PSI should not cause a PVB to dump, even if it were to drop to that pressure and stay there. This brings us right back to my initial point .... has anyone verified the PVB is not defective?

Beyond that, high flow through the system could easily generate dynamic pressures of 20 PSI without there being a single thing wrong with anything other than the design of the irrigation system.

Wet_Boots
09-06-2011, 05:49 PM
I don't take the given gauge numbers seriously, since pressure is jumping around. OP has to do a proper flow-and-pressure test to know what's going on. I have one or two well-water systems that sometimes can spill at the PVB, when the strainer hasn't been cleaned. Using the Wilkins 720 makes it non-critical, because the inner spring keeps the poppet in contact with the bonnet, to insure that it seals once the pressure recovers.

hamham
09-06-2011, 05:56 PM
One critical problem .... the dynamic pressure doesn't hold at 20 PSI, it drops to 20 PSI when the zone valve opens, then increases rapidly.



This is a point I think most people missed, and is expected to occur when a zone valve opens. The question here is why is the back flow dumping when line conditions do not meet a dumping situation. A drop to 20 PSI should not cause a PVB to dump, even if it were to drop to that pressure and stay there. This brings us right back to my initial point .... has anyone verified the PVB is not defective?

Beyond that, high flow through the system could easily generate dynamic pressures of 20 PSI without there being a single thing wrong with anything other than the design of the irrigation system.

Missed that. What pressure does it stabilize at?

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 06:11 PM
if you can tomorrow check your flow at the hose bib. Put a 5 gallon bucket under it and time how long it takes to fill. That will give us an idea of your flow for the system.

I've checked the flow at the bib by placing a 5 gallon bucket underneath it and filling it up. In one minute flat, I had a little bit less than 5 gallons. It was about 1" from the top of the bucket.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:13 PM
So obviously your getting just under 5 gpm. Change the sprayers to mp rotaters and nozzle down the rotors and keep lookinmg for a problem with the plumbing.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 06:14 PM
I've checked the flow at the bib by placing a 5 gallon bucket underneath it and filling it up. In one minute flat, I had a little bit less than 5 gallons. It was about 1" from the top of the bucket.

Now add up the gpm of the nozzles on each zone. Five gpm @ ????? psi is not much after the friction loss to the heads. I think you're overzoned.

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 06:14 PM
It's good to know that the 5/8" meter may not be too much of a problem but if it is, I'll change that out as well. We'll check for screens on each end of it, and get the valves changed to the new style ball valves. I'm just waiting for the plumber to call me back with a date that they and the town can show up together because he can't do any of this work until the town can come out to verify what he's doing. After all, it's their meter that he's working around. I'll keep you all posted and THANK YOU to all who've chimed in so far. I really do appreciate it.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:16 PM
He may not need the town if you can find the shutoff in the street and he has a curbstop.

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 06:17 PM
Now add up the gpm of the nozzles on each zone. Five gpm @ ????? psi is not much.

I will do this as soon as the monsoon outside stops. It's CRAZY out there right now.

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 06:19 PM
He may not need the town if you can find the shutoff in the street and he has a curbstop.

I hear ya there but I've already talked to the town water rep and he stated that they are the only ones who can shut the water off at the curb. They then have to come inside and actually watch him disconnect the water meter, change the valves and then reinstall the meter. It's already been corroborated by both the town water rep and the plumber.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:19 PM
If you know what # nozzles are in the rotor heads we can do it for you right here.

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:22 PM
seeing the town is going tom be there , ask them about the meter. Town I work out of
( westford , MA ) will change out any meter older then 10 yrs old for free.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 06:27 PM
If you know what # nozzles are in the rotor heads we can do it for you right here.

"WE"? That guy thinks I'm a horse's ass, he'd never believe me. :dizzy:

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 06:29 PM
seeing the town is going tom be there , ask them about the meter. Town I work out of
( westford , MA ) will change out any meter older then 10 yrs old for free.

I asked about the meter when I went in to talk to them and they can change it out for a new 3/4" meter but it'll cost me $150.00. I don't mind paying it but the plumber wants to see if the valves will fix the problem before investing in the meter. The town water employees must change the meter so if I do have to do it, I won't have to call the plumber back. Personally, I'd rather change the meter at the same time but the plumber is stressing that I may not need to and to just wait to see if the new valve installation makes a difference. Sometimes I need to be patient!

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:29 PM
more like a donkeys ass, or would that make you an ass's ass?

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:31 PM
I asked about the meter when I went in to talk to them and they can change it out for a new 3/4" meter but it'll cost me $150.00. I don't mind paying it but the plumber wants to see if the valves will fix the problem before investing in the meter. The town water employees must change the meter so if I do have to do it, I won't have to call the plumber back. Personally, I'd rather change the meter at the same time but the plumber is stressing that I may not need to and to just wait to see if the new valve installation makes a difference. Sometimes I need to be patient!

They may change out to the same size for free. Going larger will increase your water bill in most towns as they charge by meter size. W

Before I had my changed when i flushed the toilet , the sink would damn near stop. Had 70 psi in after . Old meter was junk.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 06:48 PM
more like a donkeys ass, or would that make you an ass's ass?

Yes.......I'm still having trouble believing my buddy has any more of a problem than a piss poor design (if any).

AI Inc
09-06-2011, 06:50 PM
Im thinking he,s gonna pick up a little more volume changeing out old stop and wastes, but does sound like system was put in by sams sprinklers and storm windows.

Wet_Boots
09-06-2011, 07:55 PM
Yes.......I'm still having trouble believing my buddy has any more of a problem than a piss poor design (if any).One detail we don't have, is the distance from street to house. That can make a difference. I do have to wonder about a plumber that doesn't have his own curb stop keys. My guess for chief culprit is the red-handled stop valve.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 08:20 PM
I have heard of a pro from dover that will travel; not sure the OP could afford him. I hear he's kinda mouthy, though.

GreenI.A.
09-06-2011, 08:23 PM
One detail we don't have, is the distance from street to house. That can make a difference. I do have to wonder about a plumber that doesn't have his own curb stop keys. My guess for chief culprit is the red-handled stop valve.

I know guys that have them, but I believe only the water department can access them here. Some times there buried in the lawn, sometimes there in the street below a 6" cover. Other times the cover is buried beneath the blacktop. But either way I'm pretty sure only the city or town is suposed to turn it on or off. I'm not sure if it's a city by city policy or state law. AI might have better insight on this

Wet_Boots
09-06-2011, 08:54 PM
If I have to shut down a gate valve upstream of a meter, and the gate breaks free and drops down, I am not leaving a message with a town's voice mail. I break out the keys and git-r-dun.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 09:42 PM
If I have to shut down a gate valve upstream of a meter, and the gate breaks free and drops down, I am not leaving a message with a town's voice mail. I break out the keys and git-r-dun.

That's why we worship you at your feet. :rolleyes:

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 11:21 PM
One detail we don't have, is the distance from street to house. That can make a difference. I do have to wonder about a plumber that doesn't have his own curb stop keys. My guess for chief culprit is the red-handled stop valve.

My house's foundation is 40' from the road but I'm not too sure where the curb stop is. I'm not sure if it's buried in my gravel driveway, across the street on the side of the road, or wherever it may be. In my town, the plumbers do not have access to these and if they must be shut down, a call to the water department is needed before work commences so that they can get there and shut the water down.

Hissing Cobra
09-06-2011, 11:22 PM
As for my nozzles, I'll go out tomorrow and take stock of what I have in the heads, then post back what I came up with.

Mike Leary
09-06-2011, 11:27 PM
As for my nozzles, I'll go out tomorrow and take stock of what I have in the heads, then post back what I came up with.

Have you brought the original installer into this fold? Seems to me, Hunter made a pressure gauge that fit into the nozzle port, would be cool for you to have. Let us know.

Tom Tom
09-07-2011, 12:49 AM
oooooooooooooooooops

Tom Tom
09-07-2011, 12:50 AM
...................

DanaMac
09-07-2011, 01:37 AM
? Seems to me, Hunter made a pressure gauge that fit into the nozzle port, would be cool for you to have.

It's called a pitot tube, and it hooks to a regular gauge. Are you telling me with all your tools and gadgets, you don't own one? :dizzy: Do I have to teach to everything boss?

Mike Leary
09-07-2011, 11:39 AM
It's called a pitot tube, and it hooks to a regular gauge. Are you telling me with all your tools and gadgets, you don't own one? :dizzy: Do I have to teach to everything boss?
No, I have a tube (if you like to get wet, that's the tool for you). This one fit into the nozzle orifice. I think it was for just the PGP & I-20.

Hissing Cobra
09-09-2011, 11:32 PM
O.K. guys. It's been pouring inches and inches of water here for the past two days so nothing new has come along. I'm still waiting for the town and the plumber to come and change out the two valves and possibly the meter. I'll let you know how everything shakes out once that work has been completed.

In the meantime, today I went out and checked the nozzles in the heads of my three PGP zones. I've been reading up on "Matched Precipitation" and gallons per minute and I changed a lot of nozzles out today and then ran the system. In my front yard, I have a piece of lawn in the center of my horseshoe driveway. There's a head on each corner, each with a number 3 nozzle inserted into it. I kept these installed, as the entire area is getting excellent coverage. I checked the Hunter PGP Chart for the Red Nozzles and if I'm correct, each one is putting out 1.2 gpm. I multiplied that by 4 and came up with 4.8 gpm, just below my 5 gpm that I got with the bucket test. I think I'm alright with this zone.

On my next zone, I changed the 90 degree head to a Red # 2 (0.9 gpm) and the three 180 degree units to Red # 4's (1.6 gpm). If I'm correct, this zone will be exceeding my 5 gpm with a total of 5.7 gpm for the entire zone. This is the zone that has me concerned, as my yard is not a true rectangle. It flares out at one end and this is creating a small dry area about 5 feet wide by 3 feet long.

Over on the next zone, I changed two 90 degree heads to Red # 2's and the other two 180 degree units to Red # 4's. If I'm correct, this zone will equal my 5 gpm's. I'm kind of o.k. with this zone but I think I may have to move a head. I'll figure it out as I move along.

I then ran each zone and lo and behold, the backflow did not malfunction (sometimes it does while other times it doesn't). I also got much better coverage than ever before, with only one small dry spot. I also watched and adjusted each sprinkler as I went to ensure that everything was getting hit. I have an average of about 25' between sprinkler heads but my yard flares out at one end and I feel like I may need a head in the center, as there's one small area that I'm concerned about as far as total coverage is concerned.

That's it for now. I'm going to wait to see if that valve and or meter change affects my gpm and stops the backflow from dumping. I'll keep you all posted.

Mike Leary
09-09-2011, 11:38 PM
Now add up the gpm of the nozzles on each zone. Five gpm @ ????? psi is not much after the friction loss to the heads. I think you're overzoned.

"Progress is our most important product."

Sprinkus
09-09-2011, 11:41 PM
Glad to here that you were able to fix what the installer could not/would not fix.
Make sure and give them the appropriate review/referrals. :rolleyes:

Hissing Cobra
09-10-2011, 12:01 AM
Well, I haven't fixed it yet. But I feel I'm making progress. I'm hesitant to bring him in at the moment because he's never encountered the backflow issue before and he doesn't know how to deal with it. That's why I've asked my plumber for his recommendations and he said to change those valves and possibly the meter. I'm waiting for those to be installed and if it allows the system to work properly, I won't need to bring him back unless I need another zone. If I do, he'll be getting another call.

I was reading the hunter book and it states that systems with 3/4" line and 5/8" meters can expect a max of 12 gpm. If the valves and the meter can get me from 5 gpm to 12 gpm, I'd be on top of the moon. If they can get me to even 7 or 8 gpm, I'm confident that the system can work correctly. Even today, I watched and adjusted all of those PGP heads and the coverage was very good.

Yes, I can bring him back here but doing it this way will teach me a lot about my system and it'll enable me to maintain it to a point that I'm comfortable with. If I can't get rid of that one dry spot that I'm concerned about, he'll be coming back for sure.

If I didn't have this damn backflow issue, I probably wouldn't even be on here asking for help.

GreenI.A.
09-10-2011, 12:18 PM
If you can pick up another 2 gallons once the plumber makes the changes inside then you should be able to make the adjustments on that rear zone to get that dry spot. You probably wont ever be able to get the precip. rates matched perfrectly and have to over water part of the zone to get that flared out end watered enough. Like others have sid above, it comes down to the system design, you can keep working to get it lose, but it will never be as perfect as if it was designed properly.

Hissing Cobra
09-10-2011, 12:36 PM
Thanks Mark, that's what I'm hoping for. I just manually turned on the system for the two PGP zones and the single Pros 04 zone out back (obviously at different times) and the backflow didn't overflow at all. It's mind boggling and I can't wait to get those new valves installed. I'll keep you all posted.

Wet_Boots
09-10-2011, 01:28 PM
Can you program some delay between zones? (in case it's two zones on at once that is why the PVB dumped)

Hissing Cobra
09-10-2011, 06:39 PM
Can you program some delay between zones? (in case it's two zones on at once that is why the PVB dumped)

I can but I haven't seen any evidence of two zones coming on at the same time. I've got a new lawn as well so I'm watering in short 15 minute intervals about twice per day, but only when I'm home to watch it. I just turned it on for the second time today and ran all 6 zones without a backflow malfunction. Again, this is intermittent and doesn't happen all the time.

Wet_Boots
09-10-2011, 06:43 PM
Not two zones coming on at the same time, but one zone still in the process of closing while the next zone is opening. That combination lowers supply pressure maybe more than the PVB will hold shut for.

Hissing Cobra
09-10-2011, 06:56 PM
Not two zones coming on at the same time, but one zone still in the process of closing while the next zone is opening. That combination lowers supply pressure maybe more than the PVB will hold shut for.

Ah, I see what you're saying. I'll look into that!

Mike Leary
09-10-2011, 07:04 PM
Ah, I see what you're saying. I'll look into that!

Depending on the valve, Boots could be right. If your clock has multiple programs (not many have a delay), try that as an experiment.

Hissing Cobra
09-10-2011, 07:53 PM
Thanks Mike. My clock has multiple programs (A, B, C) so this is something that I think I'll try out for the time being. It's crazy that I operated it twice today without the backflow malfunctioning at all and then other times, it's dumping.

Mike Leary
09-10-2011, 08:42 PM
Hmm, you may be right on the edge of your water availability, depending on the local demand of the neighborhood, which we've seen. With your system, it seems, you are stepping on glass and a gallon or pound could make the difference. Hang in there.
Are you running the same zones in the same sequence and getting dump/no dump?

Mike Leary
09-10-2011, 08:56 PM
Try the multiple program run, with just a couple of minutes in between start times. What the "contractor" should have had: betterwaterind.com click on "flow meter".

AI Inc
09-12-2011, 07:33 AM
Ah, I see what you're saying. I'll look into that!

definatly do it. Usualy takes about 25 seconds for a valve to closae. During those 25 seconds you are using twice the water that you have available. Is it a pro c clock? If so , hold in - button and turn dial to set station run times and your delay will appear.

Hissing Cobra
09-23-2011, 06:40 PM
O.K. guys. I'm finally back with another update. I tried the delays in between zones but it didn't make a difference. It's wierd but sometimes the backflow doesn't malfunction and other times it does. It doesn't matter which zone I try to manually turn on.

In the meantime, I've been waiting for my plumber to show up and today was the day. Working in conjunction with the Town Water Department, the water was shut off at the curb stop and he was able to change the valves out to the 3/4" full flow ball valves. The meter was then re-connected and the pressure re-checked. It's still at the 90 psi with only 5 gallons per minute. So, that rules out the valves.

After the town employees saw that I was only getting 5 gallons per minute, they went back out to check the shut off at the curb stop. It seems that it's an ancient unit that's been in the ground since 1973. So, they are going to come out next Wednesday, dig up the road and install a brand new saddle on the main pipe, new pipe to the shut of, and a new shutoff. They are going to be increasing the size to 1". Luckily for me, I have a gravel driveway so I won't see any damage when this is all done. Oh yeah, the best part? There will be NO CHARGE to me! They think the pipe from the shutoff to the house is o.k.

I'm hoping that this will fix my problem with the backflow and it's inability to handle this great pressure drop when the zones start up. I'll keep you all posted with another update sometime next week after the work has been completed.

In the meantime, here's a picture of my new front lawn, which has finally decided to show up!

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0044.jpg

Hissing Cobra
09-28-2011, 06:00 PM
O.K. guys, for those of you who've been following this thread, I THANK YOU ALL for your help, tips, tricks, etc.... I believe that this will be my final update (I hope).

Today the Town Water Department showed up and replaced the saddle on the main pipe, increased from 3/4" to 1", the eight foot section of pipe that goes into my driveway to the shutoff, installed a new 1" shutoff, and finally, installed a 1" to 3/4" coupling to the existing 3/4" pipe that goes to my house and meter.

All I can say is WOW! The pressure and flow to the house is AMAZING. I did a bucket test at the bib and I'm now getting more than 5 gallons per minute in less than 30 seconds - a far cry from less than the 5 gallons in one minute that I was previously getting! I'm estimating that I'm now somewhere between 11 and 12 gallons per minute.

The best part? I manually turned on all of the zones (at different times) and they all ran without the backflow even dripping a single drop of water. I did this at 12:00pm this afternoon when there's less water usage on my road and I did it again tonight at 4:45pm when there's more water usage. It didn't seem to make a difference as the gallons per minute and the pressure were the same - and the backflow didn't drip, overflow, or malfunction at all.

I now have to re-adjust the spray patterns and fine tune things but that's nothing compared to what I just had to deal with.

Again, I want to thank you all and if you need any help with your lawns, fertilizer applications, etc.... hit me up in the other areas of Lawnsite - I'd be glad to help you out.

AI Inc
09-28-2011, 06:05 PM
Glad ya got it together man, rock on.

Hissing Cobra
09-28-2011, 10:11 PM
Glad ya got it together man, rock on.

Thank you very much.:drinkup: I've notified the irrigation contractor and he's coming by at some point to look things over and help me tweak things. I'm relieved to know that it's finally working the way that it should.

Wet_Boots
09-28-2011, 10:16 PM
What, no photos of the repair? :)

Sprinkus
09-28-2011, 10:54 PM
Good to hear you got it fixed. Thumbs Up
Bad to hear that your irrigation contractor didn't figure all of this out before the system went in.

Hissing Cobra
09-29-2011, 12:02 AM
What, no photos of the repair? :)

Unfortunately no. I couldn't be home today while they were doing the repair and when I came home from work, everything was put back perfectly. I couldn't even tell that they had been there (thanks to my gravel driveway). I called the Water Department and spoke to one of the workers and he described what they did. I'll take some more pic's of the valve boxes and back yard and post them up but I'll have to wait a couple of days because it's due to rain all day tomorrow.

Hissing Cobra
09-29-2011, 05:57 PM
Well I just got home from work and the heavy rains haven't arrived yet so I was able to snap these pic's.

These first few pic's consist of the clock and wireless rain sensor location and wiring. I think the contractor did a good job here.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0229-1.jpg

Close up:

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0231.jpg

Wiring:

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0230.jpg

Inside of Valve Box # 1. Valve Box # 2 looks the same. The contractor did use sealed wire nuts, teflon tape on the threaded connections, and double clamped the pipe onto the barbs.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0233.jpg

Backyard: The brand new lawn is beginning to come in. I have extensive knowledge of lawncare so it won't be long until this thing is looking like a fairway at the British Open.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0235.jpg

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0238.jpg

Thanks again to everyone here. I really appreciate it.

AI Inc
09-29-2011, 06:16 PM
I dont see how that rain senser works with the clip left in there.

Hissing Cobra
09-29-2011, 06:22 PM
Which clip are you talking about? Because I've been manually turning the system on and off since I had the system installed, I haven't even thought about the rain sensor. When I pull the cover off, it's either lit up Green or Red, depending upon what the weather has been like.

Wet_Boots
09-29-2011, 06:30 PM
the sensor may be cut into the field wiring, and not run back to the controller

AI Inc
09-29-2011, 06:31 PM
top left hand corner of the pro c controller. 2 taps there for the RS , that metal clip must be taken out. It acts as a jumper , comes installed from factory to complete connection in case one DOSNT USE A RS. Lossen the wires , take out the clip , chuck it, and screw the wires back in.

Sorry to say, but your installer did a nice job hiding the wiring , but he was a rookie. You may have been his guinea pig.

AI Inc
09-29-2011, 06:32 PM
the sensor may be cut into the field wiring, and not run back to the controller

looks like its wired right on top of the clip.

AI Inc
09-29-2011, 06:37 PM
If he gave you the owners manuel as he should have, look up " connecting a weather sensor on page 8

Hissing Cobra
09-29-2011, 06:55 PM
If he gave you the owners manuel as he should have, look up " connecting a weather sensor on page 8

Thanks for the tip. I just looked and it was there. I do have all of the owner's manuals so I went through the one for the Rain Sensor and it mentions to remove that clip. I did remove it so we'll see what happens now that I can have the system operate by itself and I don't have to babysit it.

Kiril
09-29-2011, 09:44 PM
These first few pic's consist of the clock and wireless rain sensor location and wiring. I think the contractor did a good job here.

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c240/1979Mustang/DSC_0229-1.jpg

That sub-panel is not even close to being up to code. That exposed wiring is a big no-no .... hate to see what it looks like on the inside.

Mike Leary
09-29-2011, 10:01 PM
That sub-panel is not even close to being up to code. That exposed wiring is a big no-no .... hate to see what it looks like on the inside.

WTF, no one hardwires anymore? Please, don't send a pic of the interiors.:dizzy:

FIMCO-MEISTER
09-29-2011, 10:10 PM
I like exposed wiring in the garage. Gives a manly feel about the place.
Posted via Mobile Device

GreenI.A.
09-29-2011, 10:39 PM
I like exposed wiring in the garage. Gives a manly feel about the place.
Posted via Mobile Device

I like to strip the insulation of the 110v wire. The homeowner gets a little shock and learns the first time he opens the controller not to mess around in there :laugh:

Kiril
09-30-2011, 10:21 AM
WTF, no one hardwires anymore? Please, don't send a pic of the interiors.:dizzy:

At least he used a surge suppressing receptacle.

Wet_Boots
09-30-2011, 11:21 AM
the real controller is in the Intermatic case

Hissing Cobra
09-30-2011, 01:40 PM
I'm not an electrician by no means but I'm sure that this new 100 amp sub panel is all up to code. I just had this done last month by a licensed electrician that pulled a permit. The building inspector is due to look at this anyday now. If it's not up to code, he'll be back. It's 100 amp service that controls my outlets and lights in the garage. I also have room to add a hot tub at some point in the future. The Intermatic time clock is hooked up to it's own circuit breaker with a built in GFCI. From the time clock, the wire is then run out of my garage through conduit that's been buried 2 feet deep. It connects to a switch to run the pump for my pool. He also grounded the pool and skimmer as well. Like I said, if it's not up to code, he'll be back to fix it.

By the way, this detatched garage was built in '73 and ALL of the wiring is exposed but NONE of the connections are exposed as they're all in the boxes. The walls are not insulated nor covered with sheetrock.

Hissing Cobra
09-30-2011, 01:49 PM
At least he used a surge suppressing receptacle.

That is code for this area. Any new box must have one installed. I also had him put one in my basement when he changed the 60 amp fuses out to 200 amp circuit breakers. It was a pretty big electrical job and a permit was pulled. I'm just waiting for the building inspector to show up and sign off on the permit.

jvanvliet
09-30-2011, 05:20 PM
Geez, what a nightmare. I thought S-E FL was F-ed up. I feel a lot better about living here, at least our irrigation runs from outside where we can cut into the service line before it gets into the house or anybody has an opportunity to install hose bibs, spigots and the like in-between the irrigation :hammerhead:.

I used to have a beach house in NJ built around the turn of the century. It had two strands of wire, clad with rubber and cloth, running on the outside of the walls through ceramic insulators. Glad things change.

I'm not criticizing, just shocked how differently the nation works & lives. :waving: