Sprinkler System - Pond or Domestic Supply?

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by BillD60, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    True Upstate NY
    Building on the adage, "When she's happy, we're happy," I am building my bride the garden of her dreams. Before wrapping up bluestone walks and planting areas, I would like to put in a sprinkler system for her... us. I used Rainbird's free design service for a design and parts list. My question here is, which water source should I use, since I am installing new and from scratch: (1) a very large, very clean pond that is 200' from the garden with near zero lift required; or (2) my domestic (well) water supply that is 100' from the same spot in the garden? Beware: depending on the answer here, more questions may follow! Thanks!
     
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Retired
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    Orlando, Florida
    Either one and it all depends on the size to be irrigated, the amount if use, type of plants (a lot of grass or all plants with mulch ground cover?), or a vegetable garden?. With the lake source you can use an irrigation pump that does not require a pressure tank. Some just drop a two wire submersible into the water, and getting electric to the pump can be a challenge, but your number one issue is the winter freeze.
    • With either source of water winterizing the system needs to be considered.
    • At the lake a submersible the pump may need to be removed each winter if the take up cannot be placed deep enough under the ice. With an above ground irrigation is needs to be removed or completely drained. The pipe leading to the lake may be able to remain for the winter.
    • If spigots are wanted around the garden for hose use, then a pressure tank is needed with the right type pump.
    • With a pump for lake w
    • The well is for domestic use and adding an irrigation system to it may over tax the domestic side with low pressure while in use.
    • If it is an existing well, can it handle constant pumping (recovery)?
    • If it's going to be a new well, depending on the depth of the well and the water table may be a expensive issue.
    • If a well has a lot of clear water iron it can make a mess of things as it oxidizes.
    Upstate NY the weather is usually not hot and dry for very long where you do not need a lot of water. Grass in the full sun takes more water than established plants. Flowers once established take far less water. For the most part most homeowners over water.

    There is no simple answer. Cost wise using your domestic well may do the job if the well can handle it. If you go with your well you should consider installing a CSV.

    https://cyclestopvalves.com/
    https://vimeo.com/cyclestopvalves
     
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  4. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    True Upstate NY

    Thank you for your thoughts and response. The easiest way for me is. by far, using my domestic system; but my concerns are exactly as you point out, stress on the mechanicals of that system. I have never heard of a cycle stop valve, but it makes sense, and I can handle the installation. If I went the pond route, I was thinking of using a jet pump to pull water for distribution, thereby eliminating the need to install and pull the pump every season. I could blow out the line to the pond pretty easily to protect that during inevitable winter freezes. Similarly, I will need to drain and blow out all the sprinkler lines, regardless of which water source and system I use. Thanks again!
     
  5. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    From the lake and you're not going to use a pressure tank, use an irrigation pump not a jet pump. There are thousands of homes in Florida that draw irrigation water from lakes with about a 5 ft lift all with an irrigation pump. You'll need a controller to turn the pump on. Irrigation pump is similar to a pool pump where is can run 24/7. Jet, irrigation or pool pump s all use the same motors, just the frame of the motor to the pump may be different. Pool and irrigation pumps do not have a pressure switch since it is not needed, a jet pump will. Drawing water from a lake will take some maintenance since you will accumulate debris being sucked in and can plug up sprinkler heads and filter screens in pop ups. But it may take years before you see a problem.

    Irrigation pumps for the average home is 1, 1.5, or 2HP. I would go with a 1.5 or 2 hp if you plan to use sprinklers. 1 HP would be ok if it is all drip irrigation.
     
  6. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    Wow! I really do appreciate the time you have taken to talk through this. I may, now, have swung to using the irrigation pump set-up. Does this pump pull water, as I would like to set up the pump with the sprinkler controls/etc. in a garden shed next to the garden. The shed is located about 200' from the pond. Thanks!
     
  7. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    There is a lot to this than you might think. At the shed you'll need 220 volt power for the pump. 1 & 1.5 HP can run on 120v but the motor will run hotter. If you want zone watering, you'll need a controller (120v needed) and a pump start relay. Just this week I replaced my Rain Bird ESP-M with a ESP-ME for Wifi access, a real convince. If you can do the entire yard with one zone, a 2HP pump and a simple clock timer will also work.

    Regardless of the pump size, use a 2" pipe from the lake. If the pump has a larger inlet go with the larger but all pumps up to 2HP is 2". At the lake end you'll need to use a check valve. This will keep water in the pipe all the way to the pump so it doesn't lose prime and though most pumps are self priming it cannot self prime with 200' of empty pipe. At the waters edge, you may want to use a union fitting before the check valve. In the fall you uncouple the union and pull the rest out of the lake. This will allow the pipe to completely drain. At irrigation or plumbing suppliers, you can buy 20' sections of 2" PVC with a bell at one end. Glueing would be easier since using couplings can get pin hole leaks if one was not glued 100% and you lose prime.

    There are various type but use a screen filter at the lake, not a foot valve. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Superior-Pump-2-in-FNPT-Lake-Screen-Filter-91601/206512070

    Pump wise cast iron or plastic. Either one is good. The plastic used to be called Hydroglass, they are very strong and may take a freeze a little better than a cracked cast iron housing.

    If you are to do this by the DIY method, it will be easily $1000 in parts as a figure for a budget to get the wife's approval. Just the pump, controller and motor start relay it could be easily $500 and any cost to add electric to the shed if needed.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    Getting power to the garden shed, regardless of which system I choose, is a given and pretty easily done. As I tend to do with most things, I might overthink this to death; but you willingness to engage in thoughtful conversation is extremely helpful. Our growing season is pretty short, and rainfall is usually sufficient and consistent enough to sustain things. This season, however, has been very dry, and the timing of our relative drought with my construction of this garden took me directly down the sprinkler system path. I will do the system either way. Now that you have truly helped better equip me to make a decision, I guess it's time to get out of me head and into the dirt! Thanks, again, for the time and expertise you have afforded me!
     
  9. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    One last comment, depending in your age, gardening can be overwhelming. You didn't mention if this is to be a vegetable garden, a flower garden or both, and most important is the size. For this year, if possible run a long garden hose from the house to the garden and see how it works out. If this is the wife's project give it a season or two to see if it can be managed before putting a lot of work and money into it.

    By now you need to plant your vegetables plants or it will be too late. I grew up on LI and my father always put the tomato plants in by Mothers Day. I lived in Saratoga and Syracuse and had to wait until Fathers day (because of frost). By Aug 1st the tomatoes were ready. In Illinois I used Mothers Day to plant and green beans grew like weeds. By July 4th they were ready. In Florida, you plant during September the earliest because it is too hot at night during the summer months. By now we rarely go below 75 degrees at night.
     
  10. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    All good points! Plants are all in here. Memorial Day is always our target date though a frost can always appear 7-10 days after that, for sure. This garden mixes flowers and vegetables, with two dozen blueberry bushes and 40' of raspberry canes thrown in for good measure! As I continue to think and rethink, tonight, I am back to using my, domestic supply since it seems my costs to replace pump come in about where my costs will be to buy a second pump and all the fixins' needed to get it up and running. A pressure tank replacement I can handle myself, if that became necessary; but, more and more, I am thinking that this sprinkler system will not really tax my domestic system, given the relative infrequency with which I envision it being used.
    As I have said before, your insights, thoughts, and time have been invaluable and very much appreciated.
     
  11. HudsonDIY

    HudsonDIY Member

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    Just thought I throw out a couple things that weren't mentioned. I've also used a nearby pond as a source for my irrigation system. You may want to connect to both the pond and municipal supply for a backup.. Should, for whatever reason, the pond water become unavailable (we often have a very dry spring here in Florida and my pond dried up once) you've boxed yourself in a corner. Also keep in mind whatever ends up in the pond also ends up in your garden. This can be a double edged sword. In my case it was great, I used the pond water to irrigate my lawn and had the benefit of my neighbor's runoff so I rarely had to fertilize my lawn (weeds were another story). On the other hand if there is the possibility of any pollutants running off into the pond you are liberally sprinkling it on your food supply.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  12. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    Good thoughts - I am in a very rural in the real upstate NY region, where neighbors are neither seen or heard. My ponds are supplied by springs and a mountain stream, so they are very clean and clear. What happens upstream, you are right, can certainly affect me downstream. I never thought this simple idea could be so complicated! I appreciate your sharing.
     
  13. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

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    If you are using your domestic system for irrigation, you should consider a Cycle Stop Valve. It will allow you to install your irrigation to match the yard and not the pump. Without a CSV you need every sprinkler zone sized to match the output of the pump to prevent pump cycling on and off. However, this leaves no water for the house, and house pressure when irrigating will be terribly low. With the CSV you can put in a little smaller irrigation zones without cycling the pump. This will leave a few gallons so the house has good pressure while the sprinklers are running. Also the CSV will keep you from having to replace the pressure tank, pump, pressure switch, check valve, and may other things that are normally destroyed by cycling the pump too much.

     
  14. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to give some thought to my project. A cycle stop valve has been recommended twice now, so it seems like a good thing to do.
    Thanjs again!
     
  15. BillD60

    BillD60 New Member

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    It's official - I am using my domestic supply for this project. Given our growing season, relative immunity to long droughts, and reasonably small area to be watered, this makes the most sense and requires the least annual maintenance. I will be installing a CSV before I actually direct water out to the sprinklers; for now, I am concentrating on the garden end of the project. Rainbird designed a system with several valves which is fine, but they have placed them at a couple places in the garden. I have a garden shed on the edge of the garden. Is there any reason I cannot/should not put all of these valves and connections in the shed where they are better protected and easier to work on, if and when necessary? I have asked the folks at Rainbird the same question...
     
    valveman likes this.
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