Drip irrigation nightmare!!

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by GrazerZ, May 24, 2003.

  1. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    Well not a nightmare for me, but for the customer it is.
    Heres the situation. We have a customer that we do some basic maintenance and installation work for. We have been taking classes, reading, etc. on irrigation. The customer has two commercial properties that have drip irrigation all through the beds. The system is about 3 years old and has major problems.

    First there are no zone kits from netafilm installed. Instead the other contractor just plumbed in cheap toro valves right off the supply line. The local water pressure varies from 75 to 85 psi. So fittings blow off over time and leak water every where.

    Second, there is an entire area @ 150' of drip that was layed but never hooked up to water. The only way they got away with this is because of the type of plants in the area. Too much trouble to bore under 10' of sidewalk I guess.

    Third, the poly fittings used to connect the pipe is not the ones from netafilm, so they seem to not grab as well and they come apart, could just be the pressure.

    So here is were I need your help. I plan to put in two new zone kits from netafilm to replace the toro valves. They come with pressure regulators. I also will have to bore under the sidewalk mentioned above and connect the nonfunctioning area. We have redone one bed with all new plants and will relay @ 250' of drip pipe.
    So does this sound like a good approach to the problem? I kinda feel bad for the customer they already will be paying out alot on this job without all this extra expense. So do I just hard nose it and charge them the usual rate? We have already spent @ 5 hours messing with this thing.
    And finally what do you mark up your materials on a job like this?
    Sorry for the rambeling post.:dizzy:
  2. greenworldh20

    greenworldh20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 659

    what type of drip are you installing? how many gallons per hour do you need? what is the hole spacing? what type of soil and plant material are we irrigating?

    not trying to be snotty, but need more info.

    get a netafim catalog and it will walk you through the process.

  3. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    Type is netafilm techline for shrubs and trees.
    GPH needed is @0.6.
    Soil texture is loamy.
    Hole spacing is 12".
    Plant material varies from birch trees to wegelias to rhodedendrons.

    I have pre-assembled low volume control units already to deal with the pressure issue.
    I guess to clarify my above post I should ask, do you think that the existing fitting in the tubing will be ok for the long term after the pressure is dealt with? Also is it an exceptable practice to plumb drip directly off the water suppy only through a valve? Do the pre-assembled control units work well? Would you give a good customer a price break in a situation like this? And whats your mark up?
    Also, part of my post was just venting.
  4. greenworldh20

    greenworldh20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 659

    to tell you the truth, i would tell client that in order for system to be in perfect working condition, i would have to remove old system and install new system.

    that is the only way i can guarantee 100%. if i replace and patch up old system, then it is time and materials. no warranty. all future problems with this system will be billable service calls. end of story.

    i get real tired of repairing other people's abortions. but they do help pay for the new utility that is coming wednesday.

  5. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    I always install with pressure reg and filtration as recommended. No breaks on price. Thats probably what the last guy gave him.

    I'd add 50-100% to my cost on the materials plus my reg labor rate if doing T&M. This should not be that expensive and why should any person with knowledge and a solution ever feel bad for a client. After all, they must have liked what they bought at the time, right?

    Pressure may be the only fitting problem. However if you can physically yank it apart and you can't if assembled with Netafim fttings I'd replace the fittings or write a disclaimer on the work. It most loikely would not be real expensive to pull up the old, cut the fittings out and replace. I'd cut the ends rather than just pull out and replace fittings because you'd get clean original tube ID.

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