HOW TO – Install your own underground sprinkler system

HOW TO – Install your own underground sprinkler system

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Popular Mechanics has a step by step article on installing your own sprinkler system, the summer is just about over, but might be good to consider for next year! – “If you’re tired of dragging that old lawn sprinkler around every few days, you may want to consider installing your own underground sprinkler system. By doing the job yourself, you can save 30 to 40 percent of the cost of a professional installation, and today’s sprinkler components are easier than ever to assemble. Once your system is in place, you can program it to water your lawn on a regular schedule, and also set the startup time and watering duration.” [via] – Link.

10 thoughts on “HOW TO – Install your own underground sprinkler system

  1. Happy-Hacker says:

    Some hints:

    First, *don’t* built the manifold the way they say. You have to be able to get bad valves out of the system when they die. It’s far, far less painful if you make sure they can be unscrewed with the system in the ground, than to cut them out and rebuild the manifold because you didn’t.

    Likewise, the crimp on fittings are great, if you assume that your sprinkler line never freezes, leaks, or gets hit by rogue lawn tools. Since, in my experience, the most likely occurrence is D, all of the above, use fittings you can remove. You, or whoever has to maintain your sprinkler system when it’s 10 years old, will thank you.

    I also have to wonder if you can *remove* one of the saddle connectors, or if you just cap them off when you put one in the wrong place, or need to move a head because that one is shortly going to be underneath concrete.

    Sprinkler systems, in short, need to be designed with maintenance in mind, or the level of pain you save not using a hose will be made up for servicing the system.

    -HH

  2. Riskable says:

    I concur with HH. When you build out your sprinkler system, always keep in mind that everything should be as easy to access and replace as possible. Something will eventually break and you’ll really appreciate that you… Say, left lots of extra pipe at either end when you tunneled under the driveway (my personal experience =).

    Here’s another ESSENTIAL tip that you won’t find in the article: When placing sprinkler heads at the edge of a road or driveway, always use flex risers (and hose instead of pipe if possible).

    What is a “flex riser”? It is a flexible/spring-like fitting that goes between your sprinkler head and the pipe/hose (example). Its purpose is to prevent the pipe from breaking/cracking in the event that it is run over by a vehicle or equivalent heavy object (such as a tree falling on it).

    Most sprinkler heads can survive being compressed into the ground by a car/truck, but the pipe they are connected to will likely crack under the pressure. Replacing a broken sprinkler head is quick and easy. Replacing a broken pipe is a huge PITA–especially if it is old and brittle.

    If you use flexible PVC or some other irrigation hose, you’re much less likely to have a compression crack and if you do break seal (likely at a T-fitting), flexible hose is much easier to fix (since you don’t have to wedge a pipe with two couplings at either end between two immovable/brittle pipes).

    -Riskable
    http://www.riskable.com
    “I have a license to kill -9”

  3. SprinklersRUs says:

    I agree with the above comments, but the use of Polyethylene pipe does not require the use of Flex risers or swing joints because the pipe can flex very nicely, as long as a good quality pipe is purchased. Always go with a qualified designer/contractor, who is certified with the irrigation association (http://www.irrigation.org). Our company in Calgary would love to help you if your in our area, or contact someone in your area from the above irrigaiton association website. http://www.regencyirrigation.com

  4. Naiad Irrigation Systems says:

    Yes, all of these comments are correct. One of the other considerations would be to utilize some weather sensors to reduce water wastage. If you would like some more info : http://www.hunterindustries.com/Products/Sensors/default.htm or contact our underground sprinkler company in Calgary, Alberta. http://www.naiadirrigation.ca

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do it yourself sprinkler system? Awesome! It’s great to find a site that can help with that. There are only a few sites I’ve seen that can help with the DIYers. The best I’ve seen is at Orbit Irrigation’s website, they have a sprinkler system designer that lets you put in your properties dimensions and it will generate a parts list and plan out your project. Check it out here: http://www.orbitonline.com/sprinlker-system-designer/

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