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Hypothetical story

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by DanaMac, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,221

    Knock. Knock.
    "Hey Mrs. Jones, about that valve not working properly. I found I can replace the solenoid and get it working again. But I have recently found these really smart, cool guys on this website called Lawnsite, and they've told me different. They say I need to change the entire valve to something more professional. And they say I should change them all. I doubt your system will work properly if we don't."

    Knock. Knock.
    "Hey Mrs. J, I have this huge valve box dug up, and noticed that the PVC pipe is only 1" and it's Class 200, not Schedule 40. I read on Lawnsite this isn't correct and we need to change it all out. Plus I don't see any indication of primer on any glue joint. So we really need to change out all the PVC mainline.
    "I also noticed that the wiring is too small of a guage and could heat up and burn your home down. Boy I'm glad we found this now, I'd hate to see your house gone."

    Ding Dong
    "Sorry to bother you again, but dang it I keep finding all these issues with your system. First off, instead of that big wooden box around the valves, I found that I must replace it with a professional plastic type box. The wood will rot in another 10-20 years.
    Also the wiring is not in conduit so I'm going to run a new pipe and install it properly in case it ever needs replacing again. Plus I need to install water resistant wire caps. I can't believe these haven't rusted away yet or caused a fire. Aren't you glad I found these things out.
    Oh and that Home Depot Toro controller you have, not good. We have to replace it with a Hunter Pro-C or a Rainbird ESPm. That controller is not professional grade and not worth keeping. Plus we can add more zones later on and just add a module."

    Next morning
    Ding Dong
    "Hey Mrs Jones, I'm back. Hey most your zones are designed at 15 gallons per minute, but there is no way your 3/4" pipe should allow that, so I need to redesign most the zones. I'm glad I found Lawnsite because these things really need to be fixed from what they've told me.
    And all the heads are on cut off nipples instead of swing pipe with marlex ells. So I need to change those too."

    Knock Knock
    "Hey Mr. Jones. Has the Mrs. told you about the great job I've been doing. I know I've worked for you for 10 years now, and we've built this great trusting relationship, so you should know I'm doing what's best for you.
    Hey there is such a mix of rotor heads here, we should change all of them out to the same kind. Lawnsite guys tell me the stainless steel Hunter I-20s are the best, and that I should only install the best.
    You also need a rain sensor in case they are mandatory 10 years from now. So I'll put one of those up as well."

    Third morning
    "Hello Mr. j, glad I caught you before work. Rather than allow your system to drain on it's own like it has for 20 years, I am taking out all the auto drains and you'll have to pay me $60 to blow it out with an air compressor for the winter. Every year. I know it's never had freeze damage before but it's about time.
    See ya tonight!!"

    Ding Dong
    "Hello Mrs Jones, Hey can I just call you Patty? Patty, your backflow preventer really needs replacing. Right now it's a PVB but we should change it out to an RP. Better protection and the laws and regs may change sometime and all will need to be changed anyway. Better now than later.
    Oh and I found out that this never had a permit pulled before installation so we need to get one of those too. I'll have to find someone who can do that for me unless you want to go get it yourself.
    Go back to your card game I have work to do."

    "So Patty and Jim, what do you think of the work I've done? The system is going to water pretty much the same as before and your grass will stay just as green, But now you have this much better system which is also safer and meets professional standards. I can't believe this system actually worked before. Who the heck installed it?
    Oh I'm sorry Jim I didn't realize you and your late father had. Well this is why you should hire a professional to do it.
    So here is my bill, I'll just wait for you to get the check book. Hey how are the two kids in college doing? College sure isn't cheap is it?"
  2. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Feel better now Scrub?
    cut off your nose to spite your face?
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,221

    OK I know I sound like an angry bitter man, well I am, but that's another story.

    My point is that things aren't perfect out there, but they work. And it seems like all of us on this forum, myself included, get on our high horse and preach about what should be done. It seems like many of us have this higher power complex and it's only the best way or no way. These things work, maybe not the best but they work.

    When I was first in irrigation, my boss had me lay out a system at 15 gpm. 90% of the plumbing here is 3/4" which many of you say can't be done. Well it can and does. And it works just fine. Now I would design from 10-12 gpm, just to be safe and if things needed addeed later.

    I've worked on way too many systems that I shudder when I see them operating. No backflow preventer or only an AVB, old Rain Jet pipe and fittings, 2" spray heads instead of 4", 8 valves in a box, etc. But if you can fix it and get it operating, why not. You wouldn't take in an old truck for an alternator and want the mechanic to tell you it needs to be changed to have anti-lock brakes, air bags, new windshield, and power locks and windows.

    I'll get off my bitter angry soap box now.
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,221

    I was hoping you'd be first Tony. How about lunch? I'm buying.
  5. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    What time my friend?
    I have a 10-11 in Broadmoor to look at an old system.....and I have an 8:30 breakfast meeing.....but then miraculously I am free.......

    Try my cell after 8am...
    Thanks Dude!
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,592

    The one 'upgrade' that I figure that should be pushed as hard as it needs to be is the backflow prevention. Bring that sucker up to code.
  7. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    I usually replace valves, it saves them money in the long run.

    Regardless, I'm pretty much only on my high horse about proper installs the first time around, to prevent all of that nonsense.
  8. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 829

    well done Dana...

    I agree with making the system as perfect as you can when you install it... but like with this situation I'm dealing with right now... if you don't try to save them some money you won't have too many callbacks... it doesn't matter how good they think you are... this guy's system right now still has the orange blow out caps on a couple of the heads because he does all the repairs himself!!! If I charge him $400 to take care of that manifold he'll never call me again... and trust me... this dude WILL have problems in the future...

    anyway... very funny Dana
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    LOL, Jon, I almost never replace valves. The only reason I suggested it in the first place is I haven't seen one of those in a VERY long time. The only exception to my fix it if possible rule is an old flo-pro. Thankfully, there just aren't that many left. I know guys who feel that way about 2400's. They have a "knack" for screwing up either the flow tube or something and never can seem to get them to work. I love them and have never had a problem re-building one. I've got some wierd stuff in the truck so I'm sure I can fix most of what I run into. Kind of a one of everything I might realisticly see. Then I canabalize at will and replace inventory as prudent.

    Hey Dana, what do you replace that rare toro hydraulic valve with? I like some of the newer valves with hydraulic conversions so you CAN rebuild them next time. Also, if they do finally bite the bullet and let you upgrade to solenoid valves, that one doesn't have to be replaced (this time).

    BTW, how does replacing a valve save the customer money? If it is rebuildable and that dead valve is 10+ years old.........I can re-build it and charge them more for the parts, less for the labor, and the bill is about the same, but I didn't tear up the whole yard. AND, I can do two of these in one hour instead of one. Guess what? I (yeah ME, that broke sprinkler tech) made more money and the customer got a better deal (no dead or disturbed that will die sod, no or less mess in the yard, and the assurance that with new parts that old valve is "good as new" and see how long it has lasted so far?)
  10. Rotor-Man

    Rotor-Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 126

    Well Said DanaMac!! Many "Experts" on this site, thinking their way or no way, and they know who they are. Amazing to me how they find the time to be posting here all the time during the busy season? Agree Jon install them right the first time, but many are not done so, or installed by the homeowners with parts from Lowes and their expert design team, just keeps my business flowing every year repairing them. My opinion if it works for me whether fixing a valve which some people have spent more time "Yapping" about than it would actually take to fix one, to the materials used in a new install, use what I'm most comfortable with, and the parts that have proven to be reliable over the years for me. JMHO

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