Help needed with drip retrofit project

absoluteblockMarch 30, 2013

We have a nightmarish irrigation setup that needs to be corrected. Our landscape architect really blew it.

There's 12 automatic valves, in three locations -- front, side, and backyard. Each grouping has a combination of lawn and planter valves, and the pressure at each grouping ranges from 80 to 100 PSI. The valves watering the lawn need the higher pressure so I can't install a pressure reducer in advance of the valves. Converting the planters to traditional drip would require individual PRV's on about 7 of the 12 valves.

I think I can get away with outlets like these and not have to worry about using emitters, just open ended hose for the shrubs.

A lot of the planter beds have ordinary sprinklers on risers -- and the sprinklers themselves are on rotating elbows underground. How do I go about converting these to use outlet ports?

There's two problems here. 1) Location. If the outlet ports are above ground, they will get broken within weeks by people like me accidentally stepping on them. 2) Accessibility. I need to be able to change the hose configuration on the outlet ports as needed.

So I guess my only option is to install a couple dozen of these valve boxes to house the outlets?

Anybody have a better solution?

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Is there zones for just lawns and zone for beds? The oulets you show has to have a low pressure feed or line will pop off. See link below for discussion on pressure regulators. Check static regulator at bottom of link. You may regulators in tandem to drop the pressure a bit at a time. Your pressure is very high and your house regulator would drop the pressure from 90 to 55 psi so your appliances and faucet aren't caused problems. Your irrigation system is tapped into your water mainline(very common for lawns) before that house regulator(good for lawns but not drip). The link and other related websites explains what to do. On the bright side, It is better to have too much pressure than not enough

Just curious, did you let your landscaper know you wanted to run drip. Is the system new and still under warranty?


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:12AM
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Yes, the zones for lawns and planters are separate.

Indeed, our irrigation line taps in before the pressure regulator to the house. At that point the irrigation line is 90-100 PSI and the house regulator set to 60 PSI or so.

The irrigation main runs about 50 feet to the first set of automatic valves, then another 50 feet to the next set, and then 30 feet to the last set. So there's some pressure dropoff by the time you reach the backyard.

One of the planter zones in the backyard has a total of 18 fixed risers or pop-up sprinklers. I've already tried an outlet like the one pictured above and it works fine. No drip hoses popping off. I'd guess the pressure coming from each drip hose is in the 15-20 PSI range.

I found out over the weekend that Rainbird makes pop-up sprinkler conversion kits. Inside the housing is a filter and 30 PSI regulator. Great idea in theory, but having this above ground is just begging to be broken off. I shudder to think of that possibility, especially if nobody notices the damage right away. The flooding would be out of this world.

I guess this forces me to use valve boxes all over the yard?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Your ideas have a common sense to them, so I think just keep doing things by trial and error. There should not be any drop in pressure along your mainline for 130 ft but it depends on the size of your mainline. Half-inch diameter pipe has more pressure loss than a 1" diameter one or even less in a 1 1/2" pipe. Your probably okay with your pressure because you have a large number of heads irrigating at one time. Each head uses up pressure. I would at some point test your pressure at the end of your flower bed while it is running. Set up a fitting at the end that takes a hose bib pressure gauge. Place in-line pressure regulators if needed in the flower bed areas. The gauge is cheap and useful to test your house pressure from the hose bib to see if your house regulator is operating properly. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:05PM
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