new to sprinklers systems

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by joeholms, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. joeholms

    joeholms New Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    I am interested in installing a sprinkler system. I am tired of pulling hoses every day, but I have a few questions. What are zones and how are they measured? How much should a guy expect to pay to install one himself, also the diificulty level of doing so.? I know it all depends on the area. Any suggestions or ideas would be great. thanks
  2. QBear

    QBear New Member

    May 12, 2006
    Los Angeles

    Zones are just ways to break up your watering into different areas so you can adjust the water according to need. That way you can make one zone for a part of your yard that needs more water and other zones for parts that need less. It's also a way to make sure there's enough water pressue to run all the sprinkler heads correctly. (If you turned everything on at once, the water would just dribble out at low pressure.) The trick is not to add too many sprinkler heads to one zone so the pressure drops too low. There are usually charts listed on the box or manual that show you how to calculate that. (sprinkler head flow rate x number of heads, etc.)

    You can also compensate for lower flow rate heads by running them longer. When all is said and done, you still need to do a bit of adjusting to see if it's delivering what you need. Luckily, sprinklers are pretty easy to add or remove. It's all PVC pipe which you can cut and glue together quickly.

    The hardest part about installing them is digging the trenches. But once you have them dug, putting the pieces together goes pretty fast. I'd also recommend running the system to make sure everythings working and you don't have any leaks before you fill in all the dirt.

    Also, it's a good idea to use larger pipe for longer runs (or up hills), so you don't lose to much pressure. You might use a 3/4" pipe to the edge of your yard, and use 1/2" to branch off of it, for example.

    It's been my experience that getting a crew to install sprinklers is not very expensive, but I'm sure it depends on the area. I'd probably hire some cheap labor to do the digging and do the sprinklers myself. (But that's just me :)
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    A zone simply means one control valve and a group of sprinklers that it controls. Sprinkler systems are set up in multiple zones, because there would never be enough available water supply to turn all the sprinklers on at the same time.

    Cost of materials are minimal compared to the labor. Just for an idea....lets say each valve costs $25. A timer...$50 sprinkler heads $ 2 to $15 each depending on what you use. The more expensive ones typically cover much larger areas, so you would use fewer of them. Plastic pipe and fittings are very inexpensive. I have known guys who quoted a flat price of $300 per zone parts and labor. I would take that as a guide, but your circumstances may be much different.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    To determine the zones you need, you have to figure gpm from each sprinkler and make sure the total gpm for the zone does not exceed the supply. It is not just a matter of pressure. You also have to consider pipe size and length. I would advise you to see if there is an irrigation supply company in your area that could take you scale drawing and water source information and design your system for you. You could spend hours installing a DIY design only to find it was less than satisfactory. If you are lucky, the supply house might design it for free providing you bought all of your materials from them. That worked for me years ago when I installed my system. They can also give you lots of pointers that can save time and effort. I installed my system, but it's alot of work to do it without help.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Orbit, Toro, and Rainbird all offer design services, still free I believe. You draw you property, show where the water is , how much pressure, etc. They lay out the whole thing. You can probably find this on the websites, or in a retail store which sells the products.
  7. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    To take it one step further, I had a local Toro installer design my system and he and I pulled the flexible pipe. Saved hours and hours of manual trenching! I could then install heads, valves, and connectors at my leisure over the next several weeks.
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