Sizing PRV for irrigation well

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jdhughen

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I'm a newbie here and learning as I go. I've read a lot of post here and other forums and I'm pretty sure I need a PRV in my system but don't know what size, either pressure rating or inlet size. I'll be brief but assume a little background is in order....

This past late summer we bought a small homestead (37 acres) in SC. We purchased from a lady whose husband past a few years back and she was downsizing. I have come to realize after her husband pasted she was reliant on local trades persons for up keep of the property and I think several took advantage of her and did, let's say, questionable work to be nice. Anyway, there are 2 wells on the property, 1 for the house and 1 for the sprinkler system, 7 zones which cover approx 2 acres of grass, shrubs, flower beds etc. The system uses a Rainbird controller to turn on the pump via a relay, no pressure tank/switch. Just before winter hit the sprinkler system quit working, ie no water. With a million other more pressing issues to deal with and the end of watering season I let it lay till now. The pump checked out fine electrically. There was a bad puffed run cap in the control box but I replaced that and the pump seemed to be running according to amp readings and I could hear it in the casing but I was getting no water which to me meant the issue was in the well with the drop pipe. I called the guy she said installed the well (10 years ago) and replaced the pump (just 2 years ago) and never got any reply after many attempts. I called another well guy in the area and he wanted $800 just to come out and pull it. The South Carolina registered "Well Tag" said it is 80' deep, 60' of 4" PVC casing, 10' static water level, and 100 gpm yield capacity. There was a motor tag on the casing for a 5 hp MS4000 Grundfos motor and a Grundfos control box on a post but no info on the pump itself. I have a tractor with a FEL and pallet forks so made an attachment for the end of the forks and was able to get 12' of vertical lift so I pulled the pump myself. When I finally got it out I was surprised to find the pump hanging by the wire and safety rope! The guy who replaced the pump for her hung a 5 HP pump (pump and motor together weight 115 lbs) on 50' of 2" schedule 40 casing with glued joints. The npt/slip joint at the pump had failed I assume from the weight/torque and also there was only 2 turns of threads on coupling still screwed in so it would have eventually unscrewed itself anyway even if the glue joint had not failed. It turned out to be a 14 stage Myers 80 GPM pump on the Grundfos motor. That's easily a $3K+ combo hanging by a poly safety rope! I counted my blessings and reinstalled it using threaded schedule 80 with Stainless fittings. There was no check valve. I plan on tapping into this system to supply a small greenhouse and garden at a later date and might use a CSV/pressure tank system (those questions later) but decided to install a 2" stainless check valve on the pump while I had it out figuring it couldn't hurt anything. So the pump is running and water is coming out of the well head. Now I have to hook it back up to the sprinkler supply line which is where my current questions come in. Since I think that this pump installers work is at least questionable, I'm somewhat skeptical of the rest of the installation. Currently the 2" drop pipe jumps down to 1 1/4" goes thru a pressure reg valve (Watts 75/25 with a factory tag saying it's set at 50 psi) then back up to 1 1/2" supply line to the valve boxes. While I understand the 1 1/2" supply line, I don't know why he stepped down then back up, I guess he had the 1 1/4" Watts Regulator in the truck or it was cheaper? There are 3 valve boxes, the 1 1/2" supply line tees about 100' from well head, then runs another approx 400' to one box and in the other direction about 200' then 300' to the other two. I'm currently mapping out the system to figure out exactly what I have as some of the zones need rebuilding and heads replaced.
So I've read several post in this and other forums about this type of timer controlled no pressure tank installation and that I should have a PRV to protect the pump in case there is a sprinkler valve failure and the pump is on. Myers rates this pump at 335 total feet of head so minus my static water level of 10' I could easily be looking a 150 PSI hitting the Watts regulator at the well head. While Grundfos says given the water temp that the MS4000 is designed to be fine with 0 fps flow but I don't want to do that so..... What pressure size (ie psi) PRV should I install and can it be on a tee with a 3/4" tap ? I am going to install a tee at the well head with a 1 1/2" outlet and manual pump switch for above ground irrigation/fire hose (I have 400' in 100' sections 1 1/2" flex hose) so I'm going to want to keep the well head pressure for that use, so as far as the sprinkler system goes should I install a shutoff valve to isolate the yard sprinkler system and put PRV on the sprinkler system side before the Watts Regulator ? Is the PRV just needed for flow for motor cooling or is a no flow condition on a running pump bad for the impellers of the pump? I hope that made sense. I am going to install pressure gauges on both sides of the Watts reg just to monitor. Sorry for the long post, wasn't sure how much detail to provide. Thanks for any advice

Joel
 

WorthFlorida

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PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve) or (Pressure Regulator Valve)
PRV (Pressure Relief Valve). https://www.watts.com/products/plum...elief-valves/pressure-only-relief-valves/530c

Just so we're talking on the same page, for irrigation (well and pump) you want a pressure relief valve. With a pressure reducing valve the pump is still pushing out water at high pressure and no where for it to go. A reducing valve is for city water. Pipe size is not too critical but with runs a few hundred feet long, 5HP is more than enough. I had a 3HP above ground well and that did pretty good with a few runs a couple of hundred feet. A regulator may have been added perhaps for a small zone. Installing a pressure tank for irrigation is total a waste of money and may cause the pump to cycle on and off too many times. With a pressure tank you would want to look into a Cyclic Stop Valve. https://cyclestopvalves.com/.

I would just hook things up and let it rip to see how the system works. Irrigation parts, like household plumbing is good up to 150 PSI. The more sprinklers, more water flows at a lower pressure. Rainbird controllers are about the best all around and it is no problem to connect two zone valves to one zone at the controller to add more sprinklers to a zone.

Most rotor heads (Hunter brand below) have a replaceable nozzles of different sizes. Larger size reduces pressure, more water per minutes results in less irrigation time. If any zone has a problem with too much pressure would be one with pop up sprinklers and they are usually near the home scrubby. The problem with them is too much pressure and they turn into a fogger.

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Thanks for the reply.
The well is next to the "barn" where I keep tractors and the like. I'm building a small pump house around the well, I guess its more like a large dog house. The PRV valves you referenced above all have 1/2" outlet, If I set it, for example, to 125 psi, that kind of pressure release through a 1/2" would shoot a stream 50+ feet! so obviously I need to get it out of the pump house. I don't think want to shoot it horz so could I dig a 2-3' deep hole, fill it with gravel and create a drain field of sorts? Or would that be a waste of time cause if a sprinkler valve malfunction went undetected and the pump ran for the total cycle time for that zone , say 30 min, it could easily vent 400 gal+ out the relief valve. Does that sound right or am I missing something?

The well head is a good 300' from the house where the rainbird controller is. I would not know there was a valve malfunction issue unless I noticed a zone didn't get watered or I walked out there and saw water on the ground. The cable from the controller to the pump solenoid is multi conductor so I have some extra conductors running out there. Could I use a "flow sensor" of some type to on the discharge pipe to send signal back to the controller and connect it to some type of warning circuitry? I'm sure I could come up with some kind of trip/reset arrangement with LED or beeper or would that all be overkill ? Or maybe set it at the pump house to trip/disconnect current to the pump relay turning off the pump? I guess that makes more sense and shouldn't be hard to setup?

After seeing that $3K+ pump hanging by a safety rope I don't want to take any unnecessary chances with the pump, or am I being over protective? thanks

Joel
 

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100 gpm? What gpm does the irrigation draw? You can estimate from the rated gpm of each output and adding.

MS4000 is the motor. Did you note what kind of pump end was on there -- 85S maybe?

I am not a pro.

Note that
 

jdhughen

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100 gpm? What gpm does the irrigation draw? You can estimate from the rated gpm of each output and adding.

MS4000 is the motor. Did you note what kind of pump end was on there -- 85S maybe?

I am not a pro.

Note that
Sorry didn't give all the details on the pump end. It's a Myers Ranger series ss50-80-01 , 80 GPM, Total head 335'.
The "100 GPM" is what the well tag says is the yield capacity of the well. I put temp plumbing back together at the well head today for testing. From the head it's: gauge, ball valve, Watts 75/25 Psi regulator, Gauge, Union. I re connected all the wiring and let it rip.

I got 2 of the 7 zones working: (zone 1) is 11 rotors @ 3.0 gpm ea, (zone 2) is 9 rotors @ 3.0 gpm ea. I should have 3 more zones working tomorrow. zones 6 and 7 have some rotors and risers that need replacing. Anyway. I did some test with zones 1 and 2. with zone 1 on, I get 115 psi before the regulator and 45 psi after so I assume that's what it's set at. If I created a zero flow situation simulating a valve failure by closing the ball valve I get 147 psi static at the head. I had my amp meter on the pump watching the load during this normal load for zones 1 and 2 is 21-22 amps, when I shut shut off all flow while the pressure went up to 147 psi the load went down to 19 amps which, is the same reading was getting when the pump was originally hanging by the safety rope in the well. I don't really understand that. I need to research some more on how this type of pump works. I guess with no or little flow it sort of cavitates or something? If anyone can point me to a good resource explaining the physics involved in this type of pump that would be great. anyway...

After I get all the zones working and mapped I'll calc estimated psi for desired flow. at first look I'm thinking I might have more pump than I really need for this system. that said I might be able to double up on zones or rotor gpm and cut the watering time. The current programming has 7 zones at 25 min ea, that's almost 3 hr. If I could cut that to 2 or less that would be great.

Once I figure what the highest highest working pressure for the zones in the system is I can install a pressures relief valve set just above that. I did a little more research on using a flow sensor to detect activation of the pressure relief valve and using that to trip circuit to the pump relay coil which would shut off the pump until reset and think that sounds like the best option to me. If anyone has any experience with this type of thing please chime in.

thanks all
 

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You cannot put a pressure relief valve after a pressure reducing valve. If the pressure reducing valve is set for 50 PSI, with zero flow it will close completely at 50 PSI, and the 60 PSI pressure relief after the pressure reducer will not pop off any water to keep the pump cool. You also cannot put a pressure relief valve prior to the pressure relief, as when the pressure reducer causes high back pressure because of a small zone, the pressure relief will pop off and dump water.

You can use a Cycle Stop Valve as a pressure reducing valve. When set at 50 PSI the CSV3A2T will maintain 50 PSI on all the zones from as little as 5 GPM to 80 GPM which is as much as the pump can produce. The difference is the CSV3A2T has a 5 GPM minimum. It just can't close to less than 5 GPM, because that size pump needs 5 GPM to stay cool. Placing a small 1/2 or 3/4 pressure relief valve set at 60 PSI after the CSV can save the pump from deadheading. If the gophers eat the wire to the sprinklers, the sprinklers will not come up when the pump start relay starts the pump. The 5 GPM leaking through the CSV3A2T will build the pressure up to 60 where the pressure relief valve will dump the 5 GPM, keeping the pump cool until someone figures out there is a problem. Do not plumb the pressure relief to a drain. Water coming out of the pressure relief is your high pressure alarm, and you want to plumb where you can see if any water comes out.

It is hard not to have problems like water hammer when using a pump start relay on such a large pump. The safety of the pump, eliminating water hammer, and making the pump adapt to any size job you want it to do is much better accomplished by using a Cycle Stop Valve and small pressure tank instead of the pump start relay.
 

jdhughen

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It is hard not to have problems like water hammer when using a pump start relay on such a large pump. The safety of the pump, eliminating water hammer, and making the pump adapt to any size job you want it to do is much better accomplished by using a Cycle Stop Valve and small pressure tank instead of the pump start relay.
Cary,
Thanks for the reply, sorry it's taken so long to get back...

I've decided to go with some arrangement with a CSV but I have a few questions and concerns about the approach I need to take.

1) Given all the other things that need to be replaced and or updated to get the system fully functional again, the CSV3A2T is a little more $$ than I can swing right now. While I can definitely see that it is the way to eventually go could I achieve the same flow rate and functionality by using 2 CSV125's in parallel? I do have other places where I can use the CSV125's once I eventually do get a CSV3A2T so they would get used and not be wasted bucks. I read that Watts recommends when using their regulators in parallel that they be set 10 psi apart, like say 50 and 60 psi. While I didn't really understand why they suggest that is anything like that a concern or applicable to using CSVs in parallel? I assume if using either CSV arrangement that the Watts regulator currently in the system would now be redundant and should be removed ?

2) Pump Start Relay (PSR) vs small Pressure Tank/Switch (PT/S)...
If it was just the sprinkler system I would most likely leave the Pump Relay, and a Pressure relief valve as you suggested and call it done for now. But I think I did mention that I am putting up a greenhouse which will require a water supply. Without going into a lot of detail the greenhouse uses automated water flow control systems for watering, humdity, cooling (high pressure misting + evap cooler), and ventilation. The system was originally designed to run off city water supply where none of these well/pump issues were a problem. So I can either get the water source from the house pump/tank (44gal) system, which will require a combination of approx 165' of PEX and buried PVC to get to the greenhouse, OR, I can tap into the supply line of the irrigation well system which runs by 20 feet from the greenhouse location. While I much prefer to use the irrigation system as a source it presents some issues of concern. While the actual watering demands of the greenhouse are just a few a day (mostly drippers, spray and manual watering), the Humidity and cooling systems, while having a small flow demands, can switch on/off as often as 15 sec on / 2 min off for 8-10 hrs on hot days which would be the cycle from hell for a well pump so I'm going to need some kind of storage tank. I don't know what the flow rate of the misting system is but it's 12 heads that are .008". I would guess 1/2-1 gal/hr max, it's really fine mist that hardly ever hits the ground before it evaps. My original thought with using the pump relay was to put a checkvalve with 10 gal pressure tank in the greenhouse, monitor pressure and send call to relay to refill the tank when needed. Anytime the sprinkler system is running the tank in the greenhouse would "top off" up to the system pressure of 50 psi (-friction loss to the greenhouse) if the pressure in the greehouse tank gets low it would call the pump relay and refill the tank back to the a preset cutoff level. It would add more elements in the electronic end but Would that work?

If I went the Pressure Tank/Switch approach at the well head, what size tank would I need so the frequent but small demands of the greehouse not be an issue and meet the min run times for the pump? Could I use a small tank/switch at the head (say 4-5 gal) and a check valve/10gal tank in the greenhouse which would let the pump respond quicker to a sprinkler demand and give me a cushion for the small but frequent greenhouse demands ? This would eliminate some of the extra electronics and make it more mechanical. Possible down side of this approach is the whole sprinkler system would be pressurized 24/7 up to the valve boxes. While small leaks are obviously not good, a system that only leaks when being used 2-3 hours a day is a lot different than one that leaks 24/7 and me not knowing the condition or installation practices or shortcut used in the original installation of this system (I mean this is the same guy that hung a 5 hp 115 lb pump on schedule 40 pvc with glue couplings) makes me a little hesitant to go with a 24/7 pressurized system at this point. Thoughts?

3) Pressure Relief Valve (PRV)...
In any of the scenarios above I still think I need some kind of Pressure Relief valve just as backup. One point of concern is because of the location of the well head if there was an issue and the relief valve went off, it could be days before I happened by and noticed water. I need to either setup a way to shut down the system or at a min alert me in some way at the house of an issue. I'm leaning toward a system shutdown that requires a manual reset, like a breaker type thing. If I put a flow sensor on the outlet tube of the Pressure relief valve and have it in affect "trip" the pump circuit would that kind of thing work? OR use a pressure sensor between the well head and the CSV and have it trip the pump circuit if the pressure exceeds a preset max and skip the PRV ? I would notice that the sprinklers weren't running a lot quicker than I might notice water from the PRV on the other side of the barn 275' from the house.

Thanks for thoughts and suggestions. Hope that all made sense.

Joel
 

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Yes you can use two of the CSV125 valves for up to 100 GPM pump. You will want them both at the same pressure, and both to be our -3 model with 3 GPM minimum. That will give you a minimum of 6 GPM to work with. Just don't run any irrigation at less than 7 GPM or so.

PRV's that are installed in parallel and have staggered pressures are used as a low flow bypass. That is not what you want here.

Yes you will need a pressure tank and switch with the CSV to deliver water automatically to a greenhouse when a faucet is opened. You would want a little larger tank like 86 gallon size to handle the misters and demands that are less than 6 GPM.

The pressure relief valve can be 275' or more away from the pump system. Flow switches and other devices are not reliable. Just put the pressure relief in a location where you can see if water is being dumped as that is your high pressure alarm.
 

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Yes you will need a pressure tank and switch with the CSV to deliver water automatically to a greenhouse when a faucet is opened. You would want a little larger tank like 86 gallon size to handle the misters and demands that are less than 6 GPM.
Thanks for the reply....
Wow, 86 gals ? For both cost and space that's a lot bigger than I was hoping for. 86 gals at the well head means building a new pump house and 86 gals tank in the greenhouse is way to big. It's a small "ornate artisan" (8x10) greenhouse for setup for orchids that is as much a garden "feature" as it is a greenhouse. No way I could put a 86 gal tank in there.

So is the tank size requirement a function of the 6 gpm min flow ? would this requirement be less with a single CSV3A2T ?
So if the draw down of the system based on the need to allow for 1 min of pump refill time at 6pgm? So was my idea of 2 smaller tanks one at the head and one in the greenhouse not feasible? I only need a min of about 30psi in the greenhouse system (the mist system has it's own small 125psi pump). I have a Pressure Regulator on the inlet to the greenhouse system set at 35psi. If I put a tank at the well head to cover the 6gpm could I not put say a check valve and a 20 gal tank in the greenhouse to "isolate" it from the rest of the system? Does a tank on the downstream side of a Pressure regulator ever exceed that pressure? for example say I have the CSV at the head set a 50 psi and a small capacity tank that covers the 6gpm 1 min time with a 60/40 switch. That should pressurize the system up to the sprinkler valve boxes to 50 psi (- friction loss) ? yes? If I then connected the greenhouse to that line and going thru the 35psi regulator, then a check-value, and say a 20 gal tank wouldn't that isolate the greenhouse from the system? would the 35psi regulator limit the pressure in the tank to 35psi or should I put the regulator downstream of the tank and let it fill at the system standing pressure ? In this setup when I draw from the greenhouse would I not have the effective draw/fill rate of the combination of both tanks? Would not the sprinkler side just draw on the tank at the head ? I know from reading here that most recommend against using 2 check valves in a system but since the second one is down stream of the tank at the head wouldn't it work as above?

Thanks
Joel
 
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Reach4

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With the 6 gpm, 44 would probably be enough.

I think the calculation from 6 was 6gpm*2 minutes*4factor =48. Then round up to a popular size.

So anyway with 3 gpm, the needs would be half, and 32 would be big enough IMO.
 

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Wow! Lots of questions. The tank is only used when the pump is off, or when less than 6 GPM is being used. At 40/60 an 86 gallon tank holds about 20 gallons of water. The tank needs to be large enough to supply misters or demands of less than 6 GPM for about 15 minutes. Don't want a pump that size coming on more than about 4 times an hour. So, your small demands dictate the tank size.

With a small demand of say 2 GPM the other 4 GPM going through the CSV fill the tank from 50 to 60 PSI in about 2-3 minutes. Ten minutes later the 20 gallons in the tank is gone and the pump will run another 2-3 minutes. This will give you about 4 cycles per hour.

With a small demand of say 4 GPM, the CSV is filling the last 10 gallons of the tank in 5 minutes with the 2 GPM remaining. Then the 20 gallons in the tank is gone in about 5 minutes and the pump is started again. This will give you about 6 cycles per hour.

If all your demands are more than 6 GPM, the CSV will keep the pump running steady and the size of the tank is a moot point. I have seem as small as 4.5 gallon size tanks on systems like this. If you can run misters and small things in conjunction with other demands of more than 6 GPM, the size of the tank is a moot point.

The CSV3A2T will have the same 6 GPM minimum flow as two of the CSV125-3 valves. I usually recommend an 86 gallon tank with this size valve, as 20 gallons of draw down is still a very small tank for a 50-100 GPM pump.

You need A tank close to the pressure switch, somewhere after the CSV. But the tank close to the switch can be very small. The larger tank or tanks can be installed further along in the system anywhere. You could even have 8 of the 10 gallon size tanks placed randomly throughout the system. It is about 80 gallons combined total that gives 20 gallons of draw down.

Of course the 86 gallon tank is just what I recommend, you can use any size tank you want. If you are careful not to use demands that are less than 6 GPM, a 20 gallon size tank would be fine.
 

jdhughen

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With the 6 gpm, 44 would probably be enough.

I think the calculation from 6 was 6gpm*2 minutes*4factor =48. Then round up to a popular size.

So anyway with 3 gpm, the needs would be half, and 32 would be big enough IMO.
In your calculation is the "4 factor" to condsider what the actual draw down is of any given tank size ?
 

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It depends on the pressure. Here is a tank size calculator. Put less than 5 GPM for demand. 50 PSI valve setting for the CSV3.

 

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It depends on the pressure. Here is a tank size calculator. Put less than 5 GPM for demand. 50 PSI valve setting for the CSV3.
Cary,
Sorry for all the questions.
I did calculations on based on worst case water use estimate for any one hour at the hottest time of day in august for all systems in the greenhouse.
1)Misting (for humidity and cooling) 10 heads at .006 gpm each at 125 psi each, x 10 = .06 gpm = 7.68 oz per/min , so let's say on a 90 deg day they might run 1 min on 1 min off ( which has never happened but we'll call it), that's a total for that system of 3.8 oz per min, rounded up that's 4 oz per min= .03 gpm.
2) Cooling evap system there are 4 heads at .009 gpm @ 125 psi ea that spray mist directly in front of automated cooling intake fans when the temp in the greenhouse gets over 80 deg they run continuously if the fans are on for added evap cooling. That's .009 gpm x 4 = .036 gpm round that up to .04 gpm.
3) While most of the year drip irrigation is very minimal if used at all with orchids, but in the late winter / early spring we move the orchids inside and use the greenhouse for seed trays for other plants, each tray has a .5 gpH 1/4" soaker ring that might run 10-15 min an hour 2-4 times a day. max of 20 trays. so that's 20 @ .5 gal/Hour x 20 / 60 min = .17 gpm rounded up when in use.

So we are looking at a worst case that's way overkill of everything running at once = .17+.04+.03 gpm = .24 gpm max posiable combined systems useage if everything is running all the time which will rarely is ever happen. If I plug that into your calculator using csv3a @ 50 psi looking for a min 1 min runtime I get a 44 gal tank would give me 1-2 cycles per hour with 1.25 min fill time and 11.78 gal draw @ 50 psi (40/60 switch), Grundfos recommends 1 min min cycle run time. Also there is no water use at night. Granted when I do manual water or use the spigot to wash things down etc that would be at or over 5 gpm and a cycle event. So while there might be an hour in the morning or in the evening where there are 3-4 cycles most days would average 1.5 per cycles hour max during the day and zero at night. The sprinkler system comes on once a day or less. so even on the hottest days in august we are looking at < 14-15 cycles a day for the whole irrigation system and most days would be a less than that.

Does that add up to you ? Am I missing something?

thanks
Joel
 

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Wow you have done your homework. Looks great. With such low demands I agree the 44 gallon size tank would work fine. Or you could use two 20 gallon tanks, or one 10 and one 30 gallon in different locations if you want. The one minute run time is not important, as the CSV will have the pump running cooler at low amps and a minute to cool down is not necessary. But you can change the run time in the calculator by changing the setting of the CSV according to the pressure switch. If you set the CSV at 40 with a 40/60 switch, the 44 gallon tank will give you two minutes of run time. Set at 50 only gives a minute, and so on.

With a thought out plan like that and a CSV you may never have to think about your water system again as long as you live.
 

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Thanks for all your help and thanks to everyone for all the replies. Just 2 more quick questions

I'm planing on a 20 gal tank at the head and a 20 in the greenhouse which is approx 300' away.
1) I have to reduce pressure coming into the greenhouse system to 35 psi and I already have a Pressure Reg for that purpose. The question is do I put the Pressure reg before or after the tank ?

and

2) I have been thinking putting a check valve coming into the greenhouse so those systems would be isolated and always be fully pressurized regardless of what the sprinkler system was doing. Also wouldn't the sprinkler system pressure stabilize quicker since it would only be drawing down the tank at the head to start the pump but the greenhouse would have the draw down of both tanks available? I know many here are against double check valves but was wondering if in this situation it might be acceptable being how far downstream it is ?

I'll be ordering all my CSV stuff (I decided to put a CSV1A in the house system also) and other parts this weekend. Thanks again to all. Great forum, there is a wealth of knowledge here if one takes the time to read it. I'll post an update when it's all done. Thanks

Joel
 
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