new home owner

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by mbka, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. mbka

    mbka New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    We recently purchased our first home...yay!! This was a bank owned property, so we were not able to speak to the previous owners to find the ins and outs of the home. Including how to operate the automatic sprinkler system. The previous owner obviously loved gardening, with lots of rose bushes and fruit trees, but I have absolutely no idea how to turn the sprinkler system on. Can anyone give me a starting point to figuring this out? I don't want to have to call someone to help me turn on my sprinklers :p Please help!!
  2. cn90

    cn90 New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    Nebraska
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I don't why you would call in a lawn irrigation company to examine your system and show you how it works. There certainly is nothing to be embarrassed about and the cost would be minimal. A book might be very helpful, but an expert on site would still be preferred IMHO. With irrigation as prevalent as it is in California, I'm sure there are plenty of companies you can call.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,631
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    irrigation

    The first thing you have to do is locate the timer, if it was not removed. Once you have that get the instruction manual from the manufacturer's online site.
  5. mbka

    mbka New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    I will be sure to do this first. If I can't find it, I'll have to call the pros :) Thanks
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The basic principals of an automatic irrigation system are fairly simple. There are some variations on the actual layout and it can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out exactly where things are located since they are often buried. While this is an oversimplification, in general the water comes from a source. If it is a domestic water supply, a device to prevent cross contamination is required. The water then goes to a manifold where it is divided into zones. Each zone is controlled by an electronic valve that is operated from the controller. Usually the manifold and controller are fairly close together with the control module located in a protected location, often inside the house or garage. There will be individual "hot" wires running from the controller to each of the valves and a single common or ground wire daisy chained to each valve. The controller is a timer that opens and closes each valve according to the time you program into it. From the valves, pipes are run to create the zones. The number of zones will depend on the gpm available and the amount of water required be the sprinklers in each zone. So, there is some math involved because the size of pipe and water requirements of the sprinklers in each zone determined how many zones are needed. When laying out a new system, I always recommend making a scale drawing of the property including trees and shrubs, finding out the amount of water available, size of the water meter (if appropriate), and pressure of the water source. Then take that information to an irrigation supply company and have them lay out what you should have. This service is sometimes free if you agree to buy all materials from them, other times a fee is charged, but it is well worth it. In your case, the system apparently is already in place. If the controller is missing, it is likely the wires are still there. Controllers an not expensive and are quite easy to install especially if just replacing an old or missing one.
  7. mbka

    mbka New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    So I'm pretty sure I found the problem. I looked high and low for the control box, and couldn't find it anywhere. I think I found where it used to be, so I just need to buy a new box and rewire it. Thanks for all your help.
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