Sprinkler Questions

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by Bob's HandyGuy, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    A customer asked me if I could repair his 10 year old sprinkler system that had sprung a leak. He thought I could just cut out the split female connector, buy some PVC couplings and done. The couplings don't look like standard PVC. I would need a couple tees but the 90 degree connection is not centered on the tee like usual. It is almost at the right of the tee. He has what looks like 1 1/4" PVC coming out of the main connection it is then buried about ten feet and coupled to the zone valves with the tees. I dont see any threads coupling the zone valves to supply or even glue on the joints. The PVC ? connectors have some sort of blue glue on them. The white plastic is glossier than normal PVC.
    My questions are: do sprinkler systems have fittings that are sometimes specific to the brand ? Would you expect PVC to be used on a buried pressure line in a sprinkler system and why do the fittings and glue not look like normal PVC? Thanks for any help with mucking this out.
  2. PEW

    PEW DIY Senior Member

  3. Fireguy97

    Fireguy97 Irrigation Contractor

    Pictures would be helpful. Your descriptions aren't

    Specific to the brand of what? The PVC fittings are specific to the brand of the PVC fitting manufacturer.

    Why wouldn't you use PVC for pressure line? Some areas use poly, some use PVC. I use both depending on the job. You don't say where you are from.

    Different manufacturers make there PVC fittings in different molds. They will look different.

  4. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Zone Valve Manifold

    Now that I've done the job, I can answer my own questions. Consider this a tutorial for dummies like myself. (I attached some less than clear pictures this time as Mick suggested)
    Sprinkler systems are whole different animules from indoor plumbing. I could not match the original fittings in any of the big box stores.
    I was trying to repair the zone valve manifold on a 10 year old system. It failed for several reasons. The person who installed the manifold stressed the female connector at the inlet end of the manifold. The poly pipe supply line came in at an angle to the manifold causing him to bend the pipe excessively. Also, the zone valve nearest the break was forced on due to the angle the poly pipe was laid. Then when he put the access box on, he laid it directly on the already stressed connection. Every time the grass was cut, the connection was bearing the weight of a riding mower.
    Once the connection broke, there was no way to replace it without hacksawing out all seven connections and rebuilding the entire manifold. I couldn't match the original parts so I fabricated a new manifold from the PVC parts readily available. On the inlet side of the zone valves I put a 1" threaded-to-weld connector. I attached a tee to that. Then solvent welded each connection in turn until I reached the supply. (Yes, PEW that was a blue, PVC cement for wet conditions.)
    Even though I used purple primer, the work I did had two drips. If I could have found the original parts it would have halved the number of solvent welds. FYI this is a post from Michigan.
  5. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member


    Here are the pictures. Where can you buy fittings like the originals?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  6. Fireguy97

    Fireguy97 Irrigation Contractor

    At any plumbing supply house, or Irrigation supply house. Not the box stores - Real supply houses.

  7. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    One more post

    Yeah, Google or look in the yellow pages for irriigation supply. They have a variety of solutions. You can glue a manifold together or they have ones that go together like compression fittings. Those have the advantage that they can be taken apart if need be. It's still a difficult job to replace a large manifold in the ground after the system has been buried. I opted for regular irrigation fittings, 1 inch barbed to thread or barbed to barbed, joining them with poly pipe and hose clamps. It cost 37 dollars for the parts, the biggest expense being the clamps which range from 70 cents to a dollar apiece. i suppose I could have lessened the price with crimpable clamps. It would have made the manifold more difficult to repair in the future, though. Thanks for all the advice.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    What you needed were "manifold tees" they have a longer spigot end so they stack together to make the manifolds, and the branch either glues to the valve, or uses a male adapter. These would have cut your joints to about a fourth of what you did. Incidently, I "hate" installations where the fittings are glued as close together as possible. It makes any repair impossible without redoing the entire installation, as you had to for your repair. And maybe the worst connection was screwing a female PVC adapter onto ANY kind of pipe.
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