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New Irrigation Trouble

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Student6939, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Student6939

    Student6939 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Greetings - First of all, I am anything but a professional irrigation system installer. I am a homeowner who has hired a professional contractor to install my irrigation system, but it has not been w/out its challenges & I am hoping for some guidance...

    My property is about 27,000 sq ft in area. Our water supply comes from a well on the property that produces approximately 5 gpm. The well itself is 380' deep and the well pump is close to, but not at the bottom of the well.

    On the inside of the house, I have a pressure tank that appears to be working fine. There is a 20 psi swing between when the pressure pump comes on and when it shuts off, and the household water pressure has been excellent.

    The new irrigation system encompasses approximately 65 sprinkler heads in 15 zones and is controlled through a Hunter C controller in the garage. The problem appears to be that, when each zone is run for 15 minutes or so, by the time the zones in the rear of the house come on, there is virtually no water coming out of the sprinkler heads at all.

    The irrigation contractor seems virtuous and honest, but also does not seem to know why it is not working the way it should. He is, at my suggestion, having the plumber provide him w/a quote on putting a water supply tank in the basement and running the irrigation system off of that. However, in doing a little research, it has been difficult to find schematics or discussions about the pros and cons of doing this.

    Simply put, I want to run the irrigation system from a source other than the well, and I want to use something other than the household pressure tank to push the water out to the sprinkler heads.

    I wonder, has anyone here has set up an irrigation system this way...?
    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to look out for or be concerned about...?

    Technically, I can't figure out why this would not work, but I would love to hear any ideas, experiences, or thoughts about it from professionals like yourselves.

    Thanks very much & Best Wishes,
    Steve in Rochester, Massachusetts
  2. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,184

    First and easiest thing to try, program the controller for a DELAY between zones. Maybe 20-30 minutes. And Maybe run half the zones on Program A in the morning, then the other half on Program B in the early evening. So as not to deplete the well. Might not be the overall best solution, but it might work. I know some other well systems that we have to set up this way.
  3. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,608

    That is your best bet right there. We do quite a few low water systems and delays and multiple programs will do it 9 times out of 10.

    BTW where is Rochester MA ? Ive never heard of it.
  4. Student6939

    Student6939 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Rochester, Massachusetts is located about 15 minutes inland of Cape Cod. Lots of people have never heard of it...

    I think I will definitely try to stagger the programming of the sprinkler heads, but that brings up another question - Is there a way to push more water through the lines to the sprinkler heads, in addition to the pressure tank...?

    Several of our sprinkler heads are quite some distance from the pressure tank, and I wonder if there is a relatively easy way to boost the pressure to the irrigation system, other than increasing the pressure in the pressure tank, which I do not want to do...

    Is there such a thing as a booster pump or something that will turn on only when the sprinkler system calls for it...?
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,246

    Maybe change nozzles in the distant heads, and reduce the flow, which in turn, will increase the pressure, and maybe improve performance. Run the zone a bit longer, then, to make up for the reduced flow.
  6. Waterit

    Waterit LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,930

    Maybe even take it a step further and put half your zones on A program, the other half on B, and set the programs on an every-other-day schedule. Include the delays between zones to allow the well time to recover.
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,246

    You might also consider a Pumptec unit to protect the pump from dry-run conditions.
  8. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,130


    i broke my ankle there playing soccer....
  9. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,544

    I wouldn't even think about installing a system with that well.
  10. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,090

    I'd go storage (1200 gal.) & have a clock with either delay for re charge or
    ISC as to provide the well to re charge. I've done it with 3 gpm; don't want
    too have much turf, tho, unless the clock has multiple start times and/or programs.

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