Thursday, July 31, 2008

DIY Lawn Irrigation Ain't Always Easy!

Hi Craig,
Hope all is well with you. After a little bit of a slow start, things are picking up in a hurry and business is good! The manuals and information from your sprinkler system repair site have been very helpful - thank you. But nobody said anything about getting wet! :)~
I've got a couple of easy questions and just wanted to ask for your advice.

1. Using funny pipe and attaching a barb connection. Is there an easier/smarter way to get the barb end inserted? My hands are raw from twisting and pushing - put gloves on after getting blistered, got the barb in, but it still was an awfully tight twist. Tried vise grips, pliers, etc....It looks so much easier when you do it in your videos! What am I missing?

  • Fixing leak in sprinkler valve (photo above)
2. It seems silly, but I'm not sure how to go about fixing this without opening up a can of worms. I was going to cut out and replace the section of pipe where the leak is - there's only about 1/2" of pipe to work with there. If I do that, then I think I've got to replace the elbow which is glued to the T and so on and so on. I'm using this as my rookie question - can you please tell me the proper way to go about fixing this leak? It's at a rate of about 1 drip per second. Is there any kind of good wrap or sealant that would work?
3. This customer has a broken line under the asphalt. It's about a 40' span. I thought of seeing if I could pull out the old pvc pipe, but think it would be brittle and break apart. Not real anxious to cut into the asphalt and having to worry about getting it repaired, etc. Thinking it would be easier to run a new line, but it seems to far to use the pipe and garden hose. How would you go about running a line under a 40' span? I looked at a tool called a Borzit and wondered if that might work.
Thanks, Tom

Hi Tom, I'm glad you are getting the info you need from . Let's get to the questions!

1. Spiral barb fittings can wear a hole in your hand, especially if the "funny pipe' has been in the ground for awhile. A shot of WD-40 might help. If it is cold outside you can use a propane torch to warm it up, just like poly pipe. This may be a "duh", but take care not to melt it or set it on fire!

2. Sprinkler repair ain't always pretty. When you see installs like this (and I see 'em every day) you understand the consequences of "low ballers". In the pricing guide in the members section of the sprinkler repair site, I have the "standard flat fee rate" for a 1" valve replacement. This is not standard. You'll need to dig a BIG hole! I'm guessing 2.5 to 3 hours plus parts for this repair. My hourly rate is $85.00.
As to "wraps", I've never used them but I've heard some sprinkler techs swear by them. Your local irrigation supplier can get them for you.

3. The PVC pipe should be in a sleeve (conduit). Have you dug down to the pipe yet? It would be highly unusual to find a pipe under asphalt that was not in a sleeve. But, for the sake of argument, lets say it's not.
In that case, a borzit would work. The question is , how often would you use it? Can you rent one? Ask your local supplier if they know another contractor that has a boring unit. That would be my approach.

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