We've all had these before

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Dirty Water, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Did a service call today, customer had a system installed by a rival company one year ago.

    Wanted some hydrants installed, and for us to fix many problems with poor coverage...or so it seemed.

    When I got there, the fun began.

    I wasn't able to fire half the zones from the timer ($59 Home Depot Orbit Timer), so I had to find the valves (all in 6" round boxes, no manifolds) around the yard and fix numerious wiring problems before I got that working.

    Once the zones were coming on, I discovered a cracked male adapter on one valve (valve box was resting on it), so I repaired that. I had to find the shutoff to do this, when I found it, it was simply a PVC ball valve, no backflow at all :dizzy:

    Fired it up, it was a drip zone, fixed 6 breaks in the drip tubing.

    I had to move a bunch of heads in the backyard, all of them were set too low, and in odd places. Got decent coverage after a hour or so.

    Found a real winner on one, Hunter PGP, set too low and it wasn't retracting...When I looked closer I discovered that the nozzle was installed upside down and the two ears where keeping it from closing...And this company considers themself professionals

    The real fun began when I got the front yard. One zone had about 10 rotors on it and 5 sprayheads...Matched Precipitation anyone? The odd thing is that the sprayheads should have been rotors given their location.

    There were numerous breaks that I had to repair before I could get an idea of how bad the pressure situation was.

    I started replacing the sprayheads and discovered that they didn't bother to use swing joints on the front yard....:dizzy:

    The sprayheads were all the HD orbit sprays except for one, which was a ancient brass rainbird popup...No clue why that was in there.

    The next zone over was supposed to water a roughly 60'x80' area. They accomplished this by using about 25 sprayheads....Of course, none of them did anything but pop up 1" and pee out. I'm coming back on monday to rework that zone into a rotor zone.

    The only other thing to note is that I found 4 different types of glues on the fittings (yellow, black, Dark blue and light blue)...but the homeowner said that they haven't had anyone else there.

    Weird...and frusterating. I hate having to be the bearer of bad news to home owners on how much they got ripped and what its going to cost to fix it.
     
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Something else to note:

    I found Rainbird 5000's, Hunter PGP's, K-rain 8000's and Orbits installed in this yard.
     
  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    WOW, sounds like a nightmare! About like what a guy I know was installing... He has NO CLUE about how to install a system other than he had one in his own lawn and would work on it. I tried to get him to buy professional grade parts but he insisted on saving a few bucks and going to home cheapo for everything. I felt sorry for the people he was working for as in a couple three years they were going to have to spend big bucks having heads and valves replaced.

    Just curious, why does any home irrigation system NEED swing joints? I have NEVER seen them used around here ever. Only thing that some guys do is sometimes they will use funny pipe to go from the mainline to the head. First time I was ever introduced to one was on a golf course and those were 1 1/4" and 1 1/2" heads with huge equipment running over them. You will find nothing other than cut off risers used around here, older systems will have galvininized risers (which suck to remove).
     
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Any commercial mower will rip a head right off a cut off riser.

    Swing joints are the future, seems like your area is stuck in the past.
     
  5. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    Huh? I mow over thousands of heads installed on risers every week, never rip one off or out of the ground... Unless they are 2 or 3 inches too high and I forget about them and catch it with the deck. All risers are NOT equal though.

    The irrigation supplier I frequnet keeps some of the 1/2" and 3/4" swing joints in stock now, but they are al configured to screw onto the mainline with the threaded fitting facing to the side, not up. Makes to sence to me, as there's no way to install them without a huge and deep hole. I bought a few a year or so ago and thought they were pretty clever until I discovered the problems with the installation of them.
     
  6. I agree...the entire state of Arizona is installed on close poly risers....and I think most of the heads are still in the ground after the mow crew gets done ;)..the only systems w/ swing joints were the ones we installed....well, not the only ones, but not many guys were spending the extra 2 bucks per head to do it like we were.

    I prefer funny pipe myself....
     
  7. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,267

    The company does not really sound like competition to me. That is why I wish there were some standards besides city code on backflows.
     
  8. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    I should clarify that by swing joint I mean one that I made myself out of funny pipe, not that premanufactured ones.

    I use a MPT x Barb fitting on the tee, (90 degree fitting if the heads are going right on the line, or a straight fitting if they are going out from it slightly) and then a marlex Streel El with a 90 Degree MPT X barb on the head. Using two fittings at the head gives you two axis's of movement, which lets you tilt the head any direction without twisting the funny pipe.
     
  9. RLSLandscaping

    RLSLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    I'm gonna turn my bud on to this site..I worked for him in florida over the winter he just got his contractors lic. and is out on his own "GPM Irrigation" Naples FL...the way we installed everything was pvc thin wall to head location, to a service "T" or "90" slip by thread, screw in a barbed by thread "90" take a little over a foot of funny pipe attach it make a loop with the funny under the head put another barbed by thread "90" for the head back fill it....for repairs and as u guys know the funny pipe gives a little better than pvc or risers, rotars and pop-ups..my bud is a total irrigation geek smart as heck I was very impressed...hes doing a "green-roof" project at "Bonita Bay Golf Com" they want to irrigate the roof with recycled rain water gathered from a gutter system in a huge tank on a poored slab at ground level...he has to devise a way to pump it up 35ft and get good coverage, they have 7 inches of soil up there and will have it covered with plants. I guess the plant life is supposed to insulate the interior of the building to save energy and be more efficient...
    cya fellas
     
  10. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,267

    Unless there are multiple GPM irrigation companies in Florida I may have seen one of his trucks in the Fall. I was driving cross state and remember seeing a GPM Irrigation truck and thinking that was a good name that I have never seen before.
     

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