sprinkler system... help

aljjMay 10, 2009

Hi all, I purchased a new home about 7 months ago and I've been struggling with the sprinkler sysyem. I'm being a bit cheap here, but I think I just may be able to handle some of the issues myself, though I've never worked on one. The biggest problem is that the previous owners (who were here for 20 some years) planted banana trees over top of one of the sprinkler lines. At first it worked fine in that spraying section, but then I noticed the water flooding out from underneath the banana trees about a month ago. I dug about 2 feet down near the trees and reached under them and found that the leak was right up inside the base of one of the largest trees... these are 25 foot tall banana trees that are 14 inches in diameter. We want to keep the trees, they provide tons of bananas for us. This leak area happens to be in the corner of where one fence meets another fence and the trees are right in that corner. What I hope to do is to leave the broken sprinkler head right where it is and cut the pipes, bypassing that corner head... there happens to be a head on each end of a 90 degree angle, the broken one in the elbow of the angle... I want to bypass that corner and then connect the 2 heads that are on the ends of the angle. They're only about 7 feet apart from eachother. If I haven't lost you yet, is there hope? I'm not helpless, just a little scared to get my feet into it so far. I've read some info online about the pvc glue and primer, both of these I have never seen or used. I might need to give you more info, I'm not sure. I dug down and saw that the pipes running to the working heads connect to a 14" pipe which turns and runs up to the soil top where they screw into the heads. I figure thats where I need to attach a new pipe to bypass the corner. I feel foolish even posting this, but thanks for any info!! Al

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It's pretty easy to do. Cut the pipe anywhere after the two heads you mention. I find that a hacksaw blade works really well for cutting - try to make the cuts as close to a 90 degree angle as you can so that the cut ends are square to the pipe (remove any burrs with your finger). Don't use a PVC cutter. Those work well on new pipe but older pipe tends to get brittle and the PVC cutter may crack it. Lay out the path of your new rerouted pipe section and dig a trench along the route. The tricky part is that if you try to just piece in a new pipe section you won't be able to join both ends since the fittings that join them are longer than the pipe section and have to push in on each end. The way to get around this is to glue a 90 degree elbow on each cut end, each one pointing straight up (important to get them as close to facing straight up as possible). You will then assemble your rerouted piece with a 90 degree fitting on each end pointing straight down. To test fit it, you should be able to lay the new piece down so that the 90 degree elbows match up exactly to the ones you put on the existing pipe ends. When assembling this new piece, make sure you take into account that the pipe slides into the fittings, affecting the finished length. Then glue short pieces of PVC (equal lengths) into the elbows on the new piece pointing down. Then, getting someone to help you, put glue on the ends of these pieces (working quickly as the glue dries quickly) and simultaneously push them into the upward facing elbows in the ground. For actual gluing techniques, read the directions on the glue can carefully. First, you put primer on all pieces to be glued. Then you put the glue on (be generous) both pieces and slide the fittings together (using enough pressure to push the fittings all the way in) and hold for a few seconds. The stuff is messy and you should wear latex gloves or you will almost definitely get the stuff all over your hands. Typically after an hour or so you can put water pressure on it to test for leaks before covering. Don't use the sprinklers othe rthan for the test for at least 12 hours to give the glue time to strengthen. Also, when you are gluing the new section together, you can add a fitting for a replacement head for the one you are cutting out, if needed. Usually sprinkler pipe is 3/4", make sure you get the right size pipe and fittings to match what you have. Hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 2:48PM
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