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De-Winterizing a Hunter Sprinkler System

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by boxoffire, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,667

    Hi Guys, If you are unfamiliar with the system as a whole you are probably better off getting someone to do it for you. You have a reputation at stake and don't want to risk it considering this is a new project for you. I will say, however, it is very easy to work on these systems. I'm a homeowner and have one in my yard and the steps to activate it are quite simple. I have two valve banks where all of the valves are housed for the entire yard with a total of 9 zones. My system is run off of city water so I don't have any pumps to contend with. Here is the procedure that I use to turn mine on.

    1) Have the check valve tested by a certified plummer (this is done by a buddy of mine that is a plummer and can do this as per city code and charges me 20 as opposed to about 50-70 from a local plumbing outfit)

    2) Turn on the water at the street (I had to have a second tap installed as per code so I simply turn it on at that valve)

    3) Open both valve banks and turn on one valve. wait for the air to purge from the system and water to flow out of the heads in the first zone and then turn it off. Repeat this for each zone until they are all purged of air and the system is pressurized with water. Recover the valve banks

    4) Go to the control center, replace the backup battery with a fresh one and the manually test each zone to ensure that it turns on and off correctly.

    That's about it. It is very simple but you may want to work on one first before you start doing it for you clients.

    Good luck!!

  2. WhohasHelios?

    WhohasHelios? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    Could not agree more!!
  3. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,925

    What every one else said. Call someone to do it right.
    In the mean time between this year and next Pick up the Book. "Simplified Irrigation Design" Author is Pete Melby. It will give you the ins and outs of irrigation design and how they work. Including winterizing and getting them ready for spring again.
  4. boxoffire

    boxoffire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    Thanks again folks. Very good suggestions. I will see how familiar the owner is with the system and have him show me the locations of all the heads (which I'll want to mark initially probably anyway), the valves and control center. I will also print out your procedure, dwost. Should we decide together that we should call for other help I will tell him I'll find a qualified person to do it and observe when he or she is there to do it. He does live in the city limits of Raleigh, NC I believe so he should be getting water from them.

    Now to re-do my bid on his property. He has so many bushes and wants leaves taken care of come fall, edging galore, etc... I put a initial bid of $50 per cut with trimming and blowing and he sounded a little shocked. He wants to meet me again tomorrow to make sure I am aware of EVERYTHING he wants done each visit. I think he's wants attention to detail and for a solo guy like me to spend 2-3 hours there each time. That will require a higher cost than $50. My brother in law said $75. This is my first really nice lawn with nice landscaped beds etc, a circle driveway with a Jag and a Caddy in the driveway. He wants attention and is probably willing to pay for it. He fired his regular landscapers who created his nice landscape a while back.

    He has fescue lawn and wants to seed/fertilize real soon. I know seeding may be ok right now but wasn't sure about fertilizing with anything more than a mild starter fertilizer. I'm new at this too. Don't want to burn his lawn up. Yikes!!! That would be not good. Does fescue seed germinate by just over seeding the lawn??? I hope so cause that's really about all I know to do also. He mentioned aerating but I thought that was good for fall only too for fescue??? I have a pull behind Brinly that I used to my lawn the other day. It did ok and pulled the cores pretty well.

    Ok enough questions I know. Just hoping for some more help as I'm going to speak with him about all of this tomorrow.

    Have a great week people.

  5. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Messages: 554

    Wow, I cant beleive you guys. Its a sprinkler system, figure it out. You can figure out how to turn on valves and work a timer, its easy. When I started out I did sprinkler repairs with out knowing any thing. I saw the leak, cut the valve out and went and bought a new one.
  6. Currier

    Currier LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 564

    I don't know, I think you are selling yourself short. It's just start up of a sprinkler system. Granted it could be confusing but in reality it isn't going to be that hard. The only real disasterous thing that could happen would be if you broke a connection at the main, unlikely. Anything else and you just shut off the main feed until you can figure it out. Do you have any irrigation supply companies in town? Take your ?? to them they will know the answers. Sometimes you can call them from the field and describe what is going on and they can/will help

    I just think you owe it to yourself to be upfront with the customer but not so quick to want to hand everything off to someone else. Ask him to show you where the system turns on and see if That part is simple/relatively risk free. If it is proceede and learn from there.

    You do need to have a licensed professional check the backflow device.

    Why would you need to mark every head? Simply run through the zones manually. The timer probably has intructions on the cover. If you see problems figure out how to fix. Apply your mind to the challenge and come away from this project miles smarter than you went in. Live and learn but if you just live safe you will be limited in what you learn.
  7. boxoffire

    boxoffire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    Well yes it is a sprinkler system, but if you have NEVER even seen one you need to take time to learn about it and maybe you are right I hope, I'm gonna get all the info about it from him that he knows and maybe from dwost's instructions we can purge the air from the system in eash zone and test. We'll see, and I hope you are right about maintenance and operation being fairly simple for me. Some things come more natural than for others. I used to work with computer networks for 20 years so you would think I could figure it out fairly easily but you never know I guess.

    I will try to take some pics of his lawn with my digital camera and post them out here in this thread for any opinions/suggestions for seeding and or fertilizing.

  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    If this is your 1st nice lawn and you know practicly nothing about maintaining a lawn,
    fertilizing times,reseeding with the correct fescue cultivar,
    I would really quick start searching for info on the many lawn maint sites that give you lists to do's and times to do it,and how to do it.
    If the guy wants you to maintain the lawn,mow,edge,blow,fertilize,aireate,dethatch and maintain the beds and maintain the water system(once you have learned how)then you need to get him on contract for so many visits at so much a mow and any other extra maintenance xtra $.
    You quoted $50.00 per cut and you mean cut and edge and blow and he means maintain the beds, cut,edge,blow, trim the bushes and do fall and winter clean-ups or do year round clean-up and maint..
    then your screwing yourself silly.

    Find out what EXACTLY he wants and then tell him you'll get right back to him with a price and go home and figure it out.If he wants all that stuff you charge him by the month not the cut.
    Just the cuts,edges ,blows should be at least $225.00 a month then plus the fertilizing,aireating,dethatching,and maintaining all those beds??probably trimming the many bushes and keeping the beds spotless.

    You figure it out,i can't give a price here cuz every time I do I get slammed for being to high or too low.

    so THINK before you give a bid and never spout of a bid off the top of your head while in front of a potential client.
  9. boxoffire

    boxoffire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    sheshovel, thanks and you are exactly right. I was going to go by his house today to go over exactly what all he wants each visit and I think you were right in that he wants much attention and it would be much more than my $50 per cut quote. He wants EVERYTHING, which would have been cool but I am too green (pardon the pun) at this point. I was going to investigate his grass, seeding, fertilizing, etc etc etc, and also renegotiate a monthly charge and you are right my buddy advised on getting a contract done up for these type accounts. Anyway, I finished cutting a lawn today and called him as he asked to go back over to his house and meet him. However when I called he brought up the fact that he wants chemicals sprayed all over and I don't have a license to do it. That kinda told him that I wasn't a fit for him. I tried to tell him I would find somebody that could do that type work for him and he thought we wouldn't be a good fit because he only wants one lawncare person to do everything. I told him I understood and it was cool.

    Just wanted to say you hit the nail right on the head sheshovel, and I'm going to chalk this one up as a learning experience. I'll get those properties one day. One step at a time right now. Think I'll identify my own lawn first and get it seeded and fertilized and looking better for starters. Then go from there.

    Peace Out


    Thanks to everyone else who chipped in on this thread too.
  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Way to go Adam.

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