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  1. #1

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    Default Outdoor Sprinkler /Irrigation Systems

    My new home construction has started and I'm trying to think some things through. One of the things I wanted to do before they seed and sow is have a nice sprinkler system put in. Can anyone provide some information on this in regards to cost? If this is a DIY project how difficult is it? Any suggestions? If any of you guys in the NC/SC area have any contractor recommendations that will help also. Just trying to get some thoughts and ideas together.
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    I worked for a landscaping/mowing company for three years and even though the owner knew how to do a lot of things, we still contracted out sprinkler work.

    This may mean nothing to you, just throwing it out there.
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    Let a professional do it unless you have a lot of time to research and lay out the plan, zones and equipment to use. My controller is a Hunter as well as my spray heads. Easy to adjust for both. Do need a special key for rotary heads, $1.50. You can even get a remote control for the controller to eleminate walking to box and making changes.

    Dont forget about flower beds and I wish I had a drawing for all the valves for location, might want to get that.

    Also, make them show you how to winterize and prep for summer.
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    It can be a DYI but it is work especially if you have trees and rocks. I installed one in the back yard but have yet to get the front. Have most of the parts just can't bring myself to digging all those ditches. Check your local building codes someplace require you have them installed by professional while others just require a license plumber to make the connection of the back flow preventers to the water main. Also in our area it was best to have a separate water meter for the system because they would not charge you sewage rates for the water used. I used rainbird and had them design a system for me. http://www.rainbird.com/homeowner/design/index.htm I think it was worth it for my back yard but they are in the buisness to sell sprinkler heads so I made several changes to there plans when I actually installed it. I ordered my parts from here. http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/Ir...vices-s/21.htm . If I remember correctly they have a big sale right around christmas offering 40 to 75% off most of there stuff. I used 1" PVC for the main lines and it was less expensive to get the fittings from them when they had the sale then Homedepot or local hardware store.

    The big expenses are the backflow preventers and timmers. I had an estimate given to my by a local installer which was for around $4000 parts and labor on the front yard. I will have about $1300 in parts once I get the Backflow preventer. I will still have to hire a plumber for about $100 to make the connection and factor in the cost of an MRI for a bad back. Sorry I can't figure out how to get the links to work.

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    You could DIY, but believe me, your going to want some kind of warranty. Don't buy the cheap junk at Home depot either. Most landscaping companies either do it themselves or farm it out. Key, as stated, is control boxes, valves, and quality of the heads. You have to also install it right to make draining it easier in the winter, though your area may not need winterization. Most companies offer a service too to shut it down and open it up, just like a pool service.

    Since this is a new house, you probably don't have a set landscaping scheme yet in your head. It doesn't cost much to have them install a few T's inline so adding to the system would be much easier in the future should your landscaping scheme change. Now, that said, and depending on how much you want to water, the equipment to accomplish this task varies. In other words, over build it. It will make it easier for future growth of the landscaping theme. Some just assume adding additional lines is easy, but it takes water pressure away from the rest of the heads. There's ways to build the system to address that. Kinda like adding more and more speakers to a receiver, the more you add or the power hungry the speaker, the less power all will get. See what I'm sayin' ?

    This also assumes you plan on staying put awhile.....and your anal about your lawn too.

    Also, the same people can install yard drains should you need it. Depending on the slope of your yard and natural drainage, make sure your builder slopes everything AWAY from the house. Also make sure if you have a basement and a sump pump that the pipe the builder lays around the foundation is backfilled a good 6 inches over the pipe with wash stone. Wash stone has no fines in it that clog under drain piping. If he just used dirt, or gravel with fines in it, it will clog in no time. Just a tip is all.
    Last edited by tonyb; 09-19-2013 at 12:18 PM.

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    Depends on how big a yard or garden to plan on having.

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    I helped installed one myself. Saved a lot of money, but it was A LOT of work. We did a little at a time. The controller and spray heads are Hunter. My only complaint is that the clock on the control unit doesn't keep good time, it drops thirty minutes per week, so I have to adjust it twice a month.

    We made a few mistakes. The water is being pumped from a lake and we initially put only six spray heads per zone, thinking that the pump wouldn't have enough pressure to power more. But it had plenty of pressure, so I increased them to approximately ten per zone, which increased the coverage area. Without a lake, you will more than likely need a water holding tank, because I doubt you'll have enough water pressure from your water supply to power more than two spray heads per zone. (just guessing) If you do have a holding tank, you may not be able to water everything in the same day due to the size of the holding tank. You may deplete your water supply too quickly.

    Another mistake we made was selecting the wrong spray units for the lawn. They only pop up two inches, instead of four, but when the lawn gets fertilized, it grows much faster and the heads aren't tall enough to spray over the bladed of grass, so the water doesn't reach as far.

    Each zone will have an electronic valve that is controlled by the control unit. It will also have a lever that can be controlled manually. Each Fall I have to rent an air compressor to blow the system out so it doesn't freeze. The first year I did it, I only had one valve open and the compressor blew a couple of the connections apart. I now know to open up all the valves manually beforehand.

    If there is an environmental company nearby you that deals with drilling, soil sampling, and monitor wells for checking contaminated soil and water, you may be able to get all your PVC pipe for free. They drill deep holes into the ground near buried tanks, to check for contaminated soil to verify whether the buried tanks are leaking. After they drill holes that are twenty, thirty, forty feet deep, they install monitoring wells. They use PVC pipe to put down into the drilled holes, and put a vented pipe at the bottom that allows the water to seep into the pipe. They then come back a couple days later and sample the water inside the pipe. They also do this to determine how deep the water-table is. They aren't allowed to reuse the PVC pipe. They throw it away. The one inch pipe will have threaded ends, just saw off the ends and then they will be ready to be glued together. I'd give all the pipe a thorough rinsing before attaching them to your system.

    Oh yeah, when doing any cutting to the pipe, make sure to blow all the shavings out of the pipe before gluing them together. Those shaving will clog up the small filters inside each spray head.
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    There was a four zone system installed when I bought our house, but I've since redone one of the systems by burying new PVC lines and heads for a large area I converted from garden to grass. The PVC is easy, the digging is hard, and the control systems and values are getting more and more user friendly these days. Home Depot sells an entire four zone value system that you bury in a box as a single unit, and plumb and wire as appropriate.

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    Hire it done. You can do it yourself, and it will save money, but they guys that do this for a living will knock it out quick and it will be ready to go for your new sod (Consider zoysia sod, if you can, in the Carolina's does really well)

    First I would suggest this from Hunter ......

    http://www.hunterindustries.com/site...ndbook_dom.pdf

    Just a couple things you might also want to do.

    - The more zones the better for control, especially for flower boxes. I personally run a 6 zone box. If my flowers weren't on drip I would probably want a 10 zone box.

    - Have them place the heads in a diamond pattern.

    - Consider putting in a second 6 zone control box and manifold for drip irrigation. Drip will save you $'s by allowing you to accurately control water to the plants root system. All my flower boxes and plantings and even potted plants have been switched to drip. Drip also makes it really easy for going on vacation and not having to worry about your potted plants.

    - Once all the trenches are dug, take a picture of where all the pipes, boxes and heads are located. Take a bit of time to pace of distances. You'll appreciate having this as you add things and change locations of things on the outside of the house. A friend of mine, taking this suggestion, got up on the roof of his house to take the pictures. He can locate everything easily.

    - I prefer hunter heads. I can accurately control how much water I'm putting on the lawn (in's / week) just by using time. Most other heads you will have to measure the output. The Hunter heads also have better wind resistance, so more water stays on the lawn. I have also found Hunter valves to be easy to work on and pretty robust.

    - Not sure how cold you get there, we don't drain our sprinkler systems in the winter here, but a good drain system will be essential if your PVC is close to the frost line. Most will use a gravity feed drain lines, but will have to planned for in advance.

    Hope that helps,
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    I have a Hunter that was installed professionally.... nice setup... remember to do the beds and landscaping, and lawn... if you you skip them in the program or have 2 programs.... Most boxes let you setup to do multiple programs.... Water long and deep to promote deep root growth... SOD is better than seed.... Instant gratification, and probably comes out the same after you mess with seed for a few years.... 6 inches of top soil, and get the ph to 8 and keep it there. Water early in the morning starting just before sun up to prevent and limit fungus! good top soil and the right blend of grass will help tolerate carolina heat which can be brutal.Do all of your treatments (fert Lime, weed prevent, weed and feed) before memorial day and after Labor day... No weed and feed until second full season!!! Use Lesco products... scotts is garbage... Get a good mower and a spare blade and keep it sharp. A dull blade will whack the ship out of the grass and it will brown ... Mowers with Honda engines are the best... Do not use trugreen or any of those drive around services. Aeration is necessary to avoid soil compaction which will prevent water from going deep to the roots of grasses.

    SOD if you can... I farted around with seed for years and finally did it right. I should have done it right the first time. And if possible have a well system for your sprinkler system... It pays for itself in about 5 years depending on the $ of water in your area.
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    Check Craigslist under "services and you should be able to get someone to do it for a reasonable price. You can also post an ad under "gigs" about the project and people reply to you.
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    I think I'm going to have it done by a professional. I know it depends on area, but what should I expect to pay with this?
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    depends on the size of your lawn and amount of zones...

    Usually around $3-5k. A family friend of ours owns his own sprinkler system / landscaping company so I get work done on my system for cost (or free).

    I almost never have any issue. Once a stuck valve and my 4th zone would not shut off. I had to go down to my shut off valve for my sprinkler system and shut it off till they could show up and fix it. Only other problem was a connection came undone and flooded a hole in my lawn.

    In no way would I ever install one on my own...

    Let the Pros do it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Upstatemax View Post
    depends on the size of your lawn and amount of zones...

    Usually around $3-5k. A family friend of ours owns his own sprinkler system / landscaping company so I get work done on my system for cost (or free).

    I almost never have any issue. Once a stuck valve and my 4th zone would not shut off. I had to go down to my shut off valve for my sprinkler system and shut it off till they could show up and fix it. Only other problem was a connection came undone and flooded a hole in my lawn.

    In no way would I ever install one on my own...

    Let the Pros do it!
    Thanks Upstatemax. By chance would your friend hook up a fellow Polkie? I'm not looking for free, but cheaper costs would be great.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherardp View Post
    Thanks Upstatemax. By chance would your friend hook up a fellow Polkie? I'm not looking for free, but cheaper costs would be great.
    I would think the cost of him going from Upstate NY to the Carolinas would offset any discount...
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    In IN, there is specific code on how a sprinkler system has to be hooked up. It has to be connected to the city water before the house, and there has to be an above-ground backflow preventer. I decided to skirt this requirement by using soaker hoses in my flower beds instead of sprinklers, and attaching them to the house by installing four new hose bibbs near each flower bed. Like the existing hose bibb, they can of course be attached to the indoor plumbing.

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    Review whatever proposals you get, and make SURE, that any solenoids have isolation valves, and are easily accessible.
    Trust me, you get a busted valve, you might not find about it until you see a water bill for 10-20x your normal billing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by obieone View Post
    Review whatever proposals you get, and make SURE, that any solenoids have isolation valves, and are easily accessible.
    Trust me, you get a busted valve, you might not find about it until you see a water bill for 10-20x your normal billing.
    I would suggest a automatic main shut off valve. Most controllers will allow for one of these to be opened prior to watering begining and than closing after all of the zones are done. This really helps when one of those soleniods gets stuck.

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    Default sprinklerrepairguy.com

    This websites provides best services for users. Read more information please visit http://sprinklerrepairguy.com/topics/sprinkler-system-installation/"]sprinklerrepairguy.com. A properly installed and maintained underground sprinkler system conserves water by directing it exactly where and when it's needed.

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