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View Full Version : Just got a quote on new system


Bob E
08-20-2004, 09:31 PM
I have gotten two quotes on a new irrigation system for home. Right now we are looking at jut doing the front yard.

this is a lawn renovation project that has "snowballed". I thought I would just overseed this fall, but decided t have some drainage issues fixed by a total regrade of the front and back yard. Right now my grass and weeds are dying a slow death from round up (applied a week ago and again yesterday Thursday). The grading contractor starts Wednesday, so I thought this would be the perfect time to put in an irrigation system (after the grading is done and right before I seed.

The two quotes I got are similar, one recommends 27 heads the other 28. Both are using 5 zones. (Front yard approx 15,000 ft2). One quote was for $2,220 the other for $2,800.

The one I am leaning toward is the $2,220. Not because of price, but because he seemed very knowledgeable and was willing to answer all of my questions. What he is proposing is this:

-15 Hunter I-20 rotors

-12 weathermatic LX sprays

-irritrol RD-900 9 zone controller

-irritrol 2400 valves

-rain brain 420gls rain sensor

I did some searching on this site but did not find much on the LX sprays or the controller.

In your opinions are these quality components?

DGI
08-20-2004, 11:01 PM
Originally posted by Bob E
In your opinions are these quality components?

Yep. Quality combo.

How was the other bid specified? What sort of heads etc.?

ProLandscapes
08-20-2004, 11:13 PM
I would jump on either one of those bids also as I wouldn't touch an install like that for the prices they are quoting.

Josh

i_plant_art
08-21-2004, 12:22 AM
id say those are quality set ups and darn cheap prices...... just make sure they are not going to run poly pipe on you..... make sure its pvc for a price that cheap it would seem like it poly......

Bob E
08-21-2004, 08:04 AM
This person called me at the office when he was at the site to discuss what I wanted to do. The other quote was just mailed to me. I had some questions and I thought this was a nice touch.

The other quote did not specify models of anything, it just said a "complete hunter system".

I asked the person I spoke to (The $2,220 bid) if he would use poly or pvc and he said pvc. I had read some posts on this site that educated me enough to know I want pvc.

Another thing that impressed me was the literature he left with his quotation, a professional looking folder with flyers on each of the products on his quote. The other quote was just a form letter and the hand written quote.

Since I plan to be home when they install, how can I tell if they are using pvc or poly pipe? I assume by color pvc is white and poly is black right?

The rain sensor he has quoted is hard wired, I've heard of wireless ones, how much more are the wireless? Are they any better/worse?

gvandora
08-21-2004, 08:19 AM
Well pvc pipe comes in 20 ft. lengths for 1" pipe. Poly comes in big rolls. Don't confuse it with the small rolls of smaller diameter black pipe called "funny pipe." That is used for connecting individual heads to the laterals.

Mdirrigation
08-21-2004, 10:40 AM
Bob, you make no mention of the experience of either contractor, or what type of backflow if any is used, whether or not a plumber is installing it or if the connection is copper or not. If you are doing the back yard later is the wiring and the controller capable of handling the rest of the lawn. There is also a matter of a warranty, how long is the contractor covering their work . Is there a master valve?

The biggest problem I see with the quote is the fact that the contractor is using multible manufacturers sprinkler products, Hunter, Irritrol, and weathermatic. We wont do that , we give customers a choice , all hunter, rainbird or toro . A common sales pitch is that "we use the best from each manufacturer" Where actually, it is what the distributor is running a sale on. Others may disagree with me on this , but this has been my experience over 22 years.

As far as the prices they are low but the area you are in has a bit to do with it, since it seems there will be no grass that makes restoration easier.

I would suggest 1 or 2 more estimates if possible , the quote that says a complete hunter system is too broad of a statement. Good literature does not make for a good system.

farmer_lab
08-21-2004, 12:29 PM
I agree the price seems to cheap to be a good job. I would also find out how long they have been in business and also the warranty. I do disagree on the statement that taking the best of all of the brands according to what is on sale is wrong. I myself take some of Hunter,and Rainbird with dura for the manifold and also use poly. I have not seen any benifet to taking the cost hit of pvc on any job that I have done or anyone else.

Bob E
08-21-2004, 03:26 PM
One has been around for 13 years ($2800)the other for 10 ($2,220). The person I talked to mentioned thet he would install a back flow, but there was not litertaure left on it to know if it is copper or not, nor is it listed in either quote.

The controller is capable of running the back yard also if we would ever expand. The controller is a 9 zone where there are only 5 zones in the front.

I'm going to call the guy Monday to get a couple more questions answered.

-confirm PVC pipe
-make sure backflow is included and material
-is there a main shut off valve
-Warranty

If he answrs all of these to my satisfaction I guess I'm going to have an irrigated yard soon.

He said installation should take one day only, and he runs three different crews so it could be done within a week.

They do one start-up and one winter shut down free with install, after that it is $100 per year for both( $50 each), includes adjustment of heads in spring, I think this is something I should keep going, in't it?

Mdirrigation
08-21-2004, 04:29 PM
Yes keep the service going

SprinklerGuy
08-21-2004, 05:01 PM
If you used all Toro products...what timer would you use? :)

I try not to use all products from the same manufacturer...I like certain things about each manufacturer...but my 12 years is 10 behind yours.....

Mdirrigation
08-21-2004, 05:35 PM
When I install Toro I use the Custom Command outdoor model , because it has the transformer internal , I hate the external transformers. The other feature of the custom command is the lug inside the box for earth ground . I install a 6 ft ground rod on every system . I was taught that by a real old timer .

jerryrwm
08-21-2004, 07:26 PM
The biggest problem I see with the quote is the fact that the contractor is using multible manufacturers sprinkler products, Hunter, Irritrol, and weathermatic. We wont do that , we give customers a choice , all hunter, rainbird or toro . A common sales pitch is that "we use the best from each manufacturer" Where actually, it is what the distributor is running a sale on. Others may disagree with me on this , but this has been my experience over 22 years.

Md - I've got to take a little exception to this, based on my 22 yrs experience which includes time as contractor, wholesale supply manager and manufacturer's regional rep.

While some contractors may use the "weekly special" that is not always the case. Many contractors, myself included use the products that we feel do the best job, with the least problems, and the easiest for the end user to understand and do minor service to.

I would be hard pressed to put a system in using products from one manufacturer because not each component performs up to my standards.

Having stood behind the counter I have seen many irrigation components come and go, and everyone of them had a sales pitch that they were the end all and be all.

How many of you remember these "winners" ?

1. S606 rotors
2. TJ-2 rotors
3. V1550 rotors
4. R-50 rotor
5. S700 rotors
6. PK-51 rotors
7. 35P sprays
8. LM controllers
9. EL-6 & 12 controllers
10. DewBee controllers
11. Flo-Pro valves
12. HPV valves with the swelling solenoid
13. Anything made by HIT products in the early 90's
14. 100 series spray heads by Richdel

My point to all of this is that while manufacturer's all make something good, they don't make everything good, and I feel that I owe it to my customer to use what I feel is the most reliable product and that ain't necessarily what's on sale. Otherwise I wouldn't use swing joint under every head instead of green cut-offs, and I wouldn't install my PVB's on schedule 80 nipples and fittings, and not run multistrand wire through the entire yard but use single strand 14 UF wire and make the expansion coils in the valve boxes, or use conduit and J-boxes to the controller instread of white PVC and hard ells.

There are cheaper controllers than the Total Control - (which by the way is the same controller as the Custom Command at a lower price) but not many that are as reliable and user friendly. And I feel that the 100-DV or the PGV are as good as there out there. Rotors, I use anything out there...as long as it says Hunter on the top. Winner hands down. Spray heads are usually 1800 series or the Hunter Pro.

So, does a 'one brand' system out perform mine..I don't think so. Does the warranty make it a better system? Not really unless you are giving more than a 1 year workmanship warranty.

But to each his own. Just my thoughts.

Jerry

(from south Texas where the heat index today was 107!)

So

dbielawski
08-21-2004, 09:15 PM
Originally posted by i_plant_art
id say those are quality set ups and darn cheap prices...... just make sure they are not going to run poly pipe on you..... make sure its pvc for a price that cheap it would seem like it poly......

I use nothing buy poly...what's so wrong with it?

DanaMac
08-21-2004, 10:39 PM
Don't understand the hesitation on poly pipe. Here in colder climates poly seems to be necessary for most residentials. Commercial is usually PVC, but they also usually have a full maintenance company that will make sure it is blown out each fall. We do a lot of shattered PVC repairs in the spring for residential. I've done both but prefer poly.

I don't like everything that any manufacturer makes.

Rainbird:
1804 - great and kind of the standard
5004 rotor - great but still leary due to T-Bird fiasco years ago (don't get me started on that one)
ESP - great and most installed timer in our area
DV - ok valve but they tend to shut off fairly fast. I have seen manifolds blow apart due to DVs shutting down too fast. Water hammer. Also find that the diaphragms seep more often than others.

Hunter:
PGP - most reliable rotor head on the market (my favorite)
Pro Spray - ok
Pro-C and SRC timer - good but I find the customers understand the ESP better (just saw some new or upgraded features on the new timers)
PGV & HPV valves - ok but have seen a lot of shorted out solenoids in a very short period of time

Irritrol:
2400 and 2600 valves - jar top are great to access for repairs, but RB and Hunter have them now as well. Irritrol solenoids fail more than any other. But they are the cheapest to replace as well. You can get them at Home Depot and I find they are cheaper there than my suppliers.

Toro:
file all there products in the round basket please. Don't like anything Toro.
Spray heads - wiper seals leak a lot sooner than others. I've seen a lot of them leak very bad within a year or two of installation
Rotor heads - worst of them all. Doesn't matter what model. Un-reliable (in terms of failing by not rotating), makes me pull my hair out
Timers are somewhat confusing - at least the models that people install here - never heard of the Total Control or Custom Command
Valves have many problems
Sorry, I have issues with Toro.

Most backflow preventers here are Febco PVBs and RPs. Replacement parts for Watts and Wilkins are difficult to find at times.

But since I don't install anymore and only do service, I keep parts for most all brands of valves, switch out any bad Toro head with a PGP or 5004, install ESP modular timers when possible. If the system is all Toro and heads or valves go bad, I'm not going to replace with Toro. I put in what is the best and most reliable.

jerryrwm
08-21-2004, 11:58 PM
Dana...

Total Control is made by Irritrol, and was bought by Toro a few years ago. Irritrol was the forerunner in solid state controllers a number of years ago with their MC series controllers. Total Control comes in 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 stations.

I agree on the Toro products...tough selling me on their products. The best thing they made was the 252-06-04 1" valve. Lasts a long time, but a pain in the arse to service because you have to remove two screws to remove the solenoid.

Another good reliable valve is the Weathermatic 11000 series, but they are expensive!

Jerry

Bob E
09-10-2004, 12:39 PM
Just wanted to update this.

I have had the system installed. The installers showed up around 9:00 Am and was totally done by 2:00 PM. I could not believe how quick the install was done.

I have had a couple of minor problems since the install, but they have have been very responsive in getting them fixed.

1-The back flow had a slight leak and was fixed immediately.

2-I have had two of the zone valves "stick" open on two different occasions. They have been back twice to flush the valves. Hopefully it won't happen again.

Is this normal? Is it an indication of bad valves?.

Right now I have the controller set to water 3 times a day (newly seeded yard) for between 5-7 minutes each zone (7 minutes for the rotor zones and 5 for the spray zones). I'm already seeing green sprouts, I seeded it 5 days ago with Lesco tri-gold transition blend seed. My watering times are 6:00 AM / noon / 4:00 PM

Does this sound right to you? The ground appears to be moist but not sloppy.

jerryrwm
09-11-2004, 12:47 AM
I have had a couple of minor problems since the install, but they have have been very responsive in getting them fixed.

1-The back flow had a slight leak and was fixed immediately.

2-I have had two of the zone valves "stick" open on two different occasions. They have been back twice to flush the valves. Hopefully it won't happen again.

Is this normal? Is it an indication of bad valves?.

Bob,

While irrigation contractors don't like to admit it, there are problems that occasionally pop up. The main thing that you should be concerned with is how well the contractor takes care of your problem. And from your post it seems as they are doing that.

Yes, sometimes PVC cement flash, dirt, PVC shavings, and other debris can get caught in under the valve diaphragm causing it to stay on. And this can happen at the backflow device also. But a little cleaning can aleviate this problem, and it should right itself shortly. Just keep an eye on your system for a while so that you can shut it down if it happens again.

As for the watering, you might see that the rotors are watering at least twice as long as the spray heads to make sure you are getting even precipitation. Depending on the weather factors (wind, humidity, bright sun, etc.) you may be able to cut the watering back to twice a day and then back to once a day for a while longer. This will give the soil a chance to dry some and let the new lawn get some air. After about three weeks you should have a good idea as to the germination rate of the seeding and determine where you might need to reseed.

So how many zones did you end up with after all?

Jerry

Mdirrigation
09-12-2004, 08:41 AM
I find it intresting that they got the system done in 5 hours, how many people were on the job ?

Bob E
09-12-2004, 09:22 AM
There are 5 zonestotal. 3 zones of rotors (they are the hunter I20) and two zones of the sprays (weathermatics). They also installed a very small spray head, they called it a "cheater" head on one of the rotor zones to fill in on one side of our brick mailbox at the street so the mailbox wouldn't get blasted from a rotor.

So far I have been very impressed with the company and the responsiveness.

They had 5 people here to do the installation, I was amazed at how fast it went. It was like watching a well oiled machine. One thing they said that made it faster was that it was bare ground, and they did not have any turf to worry about.

According to the lead man on the job this crew has been together for 5 years now (that was something else that impressed me).

As for any homeowners out there contemplating an irrigation system, so far I think it has been worth every penny. I would also recommend the Irritrol timer. Although I have absolutely no experience with any other timer, this one is very easy to program and to change the program.

DGI
09-12-2004, 12:29 PM
I like the part combination overall. I like WM mist heads because of their seals, and I've found their rotors to be durable but a pain to adjust especially on a large scale so I prefer the key adjustments of Rainbird and Hunter.

22 man-hours, assuming they stopped for lunch, is pretty good for 27 heads. I assume the tap was already done and they installed the controller? Is your soil sandy? Is your yard flat and open? If so, I could run with that if I had my 4 best guys.

DGI
09-14-2004, 07:10 AM
I forgot to add that stuck valves shouldn't surprise anyone the way that system was burned in. They probably didn't do anything more than give the mainline a decent flush.

Leaky VB? From where? Was it one of the threaded joints on the ball valves? Top and left are factory, right and bottom are installed by the user. Was it the handle on the ball valve?

All harmless and like jerryrm said, it's most important how they take care of you.

jerryrwm
09-14-2004, 09:28 AM
22 man-hours, assuming they stopped for lunch, is pretty good for 27 heads. I assume the tap was already done and they installed the controller? Is your soil sandy? Is your yard flat and open? If so, I could run with that if I had my 4 best guys.

My guys in Austin still amaze me. They were geared for commercial installation and were damned good at what they did.

I went out and laid out a 9 zone system at the new home of the Accounting Manager for the company I worked for on a Thursday afternoon. I was told this one is for the "team" meaning my irrigation division wasn't going to get paid for this one. Not a problem - the owner's knew of the situation and they sprung for the materials, and my guys stayed on the clock. The home was a large lot on the north side of Austin, TX which is noted for lots of rock, and this yard was no exception.

Okay, so I had one 6-man crew that had just finished a job segment at their job, and the other 5-man crew was at a good stopping point. We normally worked short days on Friday anyway, so this day was a clean-up, touch-up day.

Both crews rolled up to the site about 7:45 AM, and began unloading and digging. The equipment unloading was quick as it was 8 sharpshooters and 8 picks. We didn't use a trencher on our residentials because we didn't have one! After showing my foreman where the controller was to be located, and where the backflow preventor was to go, and walking the site discussing sidewalk bores - there were two, and just getting the job going good, I went on to a couple of appointments and then back to the office. As I got to the office I noticed my foreman driving into the parking lot. Asked him how it was going, and if he needed more parts, etc. He said no, they were done! This was done as in done piping, done setting valves, done hanging the controller, done testing and flushing, done nozzling and adjusting, and done covering up. He said that they were cleaning walks and the street and just generally straightening up and would be along shortly. This was at 11:45 AM.

They had put the entire system together in under 4 hrs! Actually around 3.5 hrs since it was 20 minutes to the office from the job. There was crew pride involved on this job. They had got into a race to see who could get their part done first.

I told the foreman to fill out the timesheets for the full day, and send the guys home for the rest of the day. I went down and bought 3 cases of beer and the company paid for that too. That was the type of work these guys would continually put out.

Just reminiscing and thought I'd pass it on.

Jerry

BigLouie
09-15-2004, 10:24 PM
I just recieved a quote from a represenative for an irrigation system,as well. I live near Charlotte, NC. The company was highly proffesional. They will be using all Hunter PGP rotors with 5 zones. All Hunter valves. Hunter Pro-C controller w/ expandability of upto 15 zones total. A rain sensor.A pressure reduction backflow valve (required by code) Its all copper. Also, the company uses a sonic plow w/ poly. It was a little higher than I expected, but these guys have been in buissness for 15+ years and had good refrences. They also give a lifetime warranty, as long as you winterize with them each season (guaranteed 95.00) and that includes coming back in the spring to restart and adjust heads. So, after all the research on here I knew that this would be a quality system. The total price is $3776. Is that about average? I figured about 3k to 3.5K, but these guys seemed top notch. Thanks for the opinions.

JeffY
09-15-2004, 11:13 PM
They're using quality materials and products. The price seems a little high for 5 zones, but if they're including lifetime warranty then it balances out. Their winterization prize is pretty steep again for a 5 zone system. But if they're high quality, you pay for high quality. Quality work speaks for itself, and it seems they do if it pleases you.

Mdirrigation
09-16-2004, 08:19 AM
That price is right in par in what we would charge. The winterization is adverage in price . The lifetime warranty is real intresting . If you feel comfortable with them go for it

DanaMac
09-16-2004, 08:27 AM
For our area the price is a little high. But that doesn't mean they are gouging you. Not sure of soil conditions, difficulty of plumbing tap, is there a long mainline, etc. Your post said winterizing was $95 and that included a check up in the spring. If so that is a good price. If it is only for winterizing, that is high. It sounds like they are a good reputable company to use though.

BigLouie
09-16-2004, 09:58 AM
My soil is hard as a rock. The subdivision contains alot of that fieldstone stuff that they sell for edging,lol. I thought about doing it myself,but thought it might be more than I wanted to tackle. The lifetime warranty is even transferable to a new homeowner as well. These guys do alot of the multi-million dollar homes in Charlotte around the country clubs and stuff. The guy brought a Hunter video for me to watch (more for my wife,lol). He gave me a copy of their Hunter aproved contractor certificate. He said that all of the techs have to goto the Hunter school and become certified. I thought that was pretty good. I still think it was about $400.00 high, but if I get a fly by night company to do it for 3k and the system breaks alot, there is the money right there. Also, I liked that the salesman handed me a booklet of about 200 customers w/ addresses and phone numbers. He said they have all said it was ok for someone to call them for a refrence. I liked that. I could have saved some $$$ and did it myself, or I might have screwed it all up. I would recommend a proffessional. I feel o.k. about it. Thanks for the info!

BigLouie
09-16-2004, 01:52 PM
An update on the system. I talked to the owner of the company and he told me that the heads they use are Hunter I-20 rotors. I remembered that the risers were stainless steel and knew that they couldn't be PGP, I called and asked him and he said," no, they are the I-20's." That might make a little price difference?

JeffY
09-16-2004, 06:40 PM
I-20s are more expensive than PGP due to more features and a more evenly distributed watering nozzles. I-20s can also be shut off individually at the head if the situation would ever arise.