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Tuesday, June 12th 2018, 9:11pm

DIY'er about to go for it! under $600

My family just mved into a newly built house a few months ago. We just had our final grade completed and waiting for top soil (building code here in Sunbury OH) and finally sod. I have always wanted an irrigation system but dont have the money to have a pro do it. Ive done a lot of research and man there are a lot of things to know! My lot is 160 from back of property line to the front of my property at the curb and 75 feet wide. To sum it up, I am leaning towards getting some rainbird 32SA and a few of their 1800 series for the sides of the house with 5 zones... BUT I plan on connection them to two 4 valve timer that connects to the outdoor spigot/faucet.... Total cost for parts with taxes is only $560! I know, I know, everyone will suggest that I connect to the water main. But the cost and hassle of connecting to the water main, getting the backflow prevention, valves/manifold, pvc pipe, controller, and cost of screwing something up... just doesn't appeal to me as a first timer.

I am showing around 9 to 10 gpm at the spigot. It looks like some of my zones will go over a bit. Backyard might need to be split into two zones. I figured I would hook everything up above ground and see how it performs and adjust accordingly.

So, what do you guys think? 8) Am I crazy? 8o Any suggestions? :huh: (other than telling me to connect to my water main) It just seems like such a big hassle... :S

Thanks in advance! :D

link to the overview of my lot that I did in sketchup.

$557.08total w/tax
item qty price $518.21 total
4 valve controller 2 $54.00 $108.00
elbows to sprinkler 10 $0.50 $5.00
tee to sprinkler 17 $0.75 $12.75
elbows 8 $0.50 $4.00
tee 4 $0.75 $3.00
100 ft1/2 poly tube 6 $26.00 $156.00
32sa 4 $29.00 $116.00
1804AP8 12 $3.47 $41.64
FaucetConnectionKit 6 $11.97 $71.82

Here is a breakdown of each zone. southside and west/south (front) are green to identify them as being connected to the water spigot on the left (south) side of the house. The other three are blue to identify them as being connected to the spigot in the backyard.

(spreadsheet didnt load in here correctly. Ill edit the post again and manually type it all like the one above)

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "jstreifel" (Jun 12th 2018, 9:18pm)


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Posts: 5,245

Location: Metro NYC


Wednesday, June 13th 2018, 9:09am

Given that your shopping list does not include backflow prevention, you are looking to make your home unsafe to drink water from.

Not Smart.

Spend the money to get a proper supply with code-approved backflow prevention in its construction. Remember that the cost of failing to do this can be the loss of your certificate of occupancy, and that can lead to your home being condemned and padlocked. In a nation where the water supply falls within the interests of the Department of Homeland Security, it will bring great peace of mind to not fool around when plumbing a sprinkler system.

As a side note, proper plumbing will make available a much larger flow of water, and that will lead to savings in the other sprinkler system costs.


Wednesday, June 13th 2018, 11:00am

The faucet connection kit includes backflow prevention.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,245

Location: Metro NYC


Wednesday, June 13th 2018, 4:14pm

You have to be freaking kidding. You are just leading with your chin.

Do the plumbing right. Obey your plumbing codes. It happens to be law. Remember what they say about "ignorance of the law" ?? (the old saying still applies)

Invest some money in a PVB, assuming you are on a flat property, with the supply connection higher in elevation than anything that will be downstream of it. It provides genuine backflow protection. Protect the water supply correctly, and then you can go nuts with the cheapest sprinkler system crapola ever conceived.

Money Well Spent


Wednesday, June 13th 2018, 9:08pm

whoa whoa whoa... leading with my chin? Not sure what that means other than something condescending. Thank you? Im new (obviously) to all of this and looking for some "helpful" advice and input.

No, I'm not "freaking kidding" I'm just trying to save a buck here and thought my plan would suffice while also preventing me from having to do more research.

FYI Rainbird sells that faucet connection kit in their diy irrigation system they sell for $129 at homedepot. Read the q/a section and watched some of their videos and they never indicate additional backflow prevention needed. I'm certainly not trying to break the law, relax...

Besides, I've had second thoughts and trying to piece together a new system that involves connection to the main water line and "do the plumbing right".

It sure would be nice if you were a little more understanding of where I'm coming from.

That being said, I have a few questions...

Pipe/tubing - I'm curious if I should get 3/4 poly tubing instead of 1/2 poly tubing for GPM. Looks like Sprinkler Warehouse doesnt sell 3/4 poly tubing unless I go with Blu Lock - Should I go with Blu Lock tubing? the one and only review says it leaks. 3/4" 300ft Blu lock tubing looks like a good deal. I found it odd that HD doesn't have any tee fittings that have a threaded male end to connect to the sprinkler heads. Do they assume the installer will use a riser on every sprinkler head? Leaning towards HD because the in laws are going to help me with paying for this as a fathers day gift, probably with gift cards... If HD doesn't sell them, can I buy these from Sprinkler Warehouse? Can I screw a sprinkler head onto these?

Or should I go for PVC pipe?...

PVB - what should I get? They range from $60 to $300. Can I hook up a 1" pvc pipe to it? Conbraco PVB says freeze resistant, do I need that since I live in Ohio where it does get pretty cold?

Valves/Manifolds - Should I get the premade hunter manifolds with flow control or piece one together? There are tons and tons of valves to choose from and I have no idea what is good/bad/overkill. Do I need flow control? I noticed some of the valves are anti syphon valves, does that mean I don't need a PVB if I get an ASV valve? Also, what about adding a fitting for an air compressor to winterize the system?

Thanks again in advance, I really appreciate the help and guidance. This stuff is way more in depth than I anticipated...

This post has been edited 6 times, last edit by "jstreifel" (Jun 13th 2018, 9:50pm)


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Posts: 5,245

Location: Metro NYC


Friday, June 15th 2018, 7:49am

By far your best plan of attack is to plumb the supply like a pro, including a real backflow preventer. Get that in place, and only then do you design the system, because you can measure combined pressure and flow from your new supply connection, and work with those numbers.

The Febco 765 pictured above (in 3/4-inch size) has a design advantage of having test ports on the PVB body itself, which mean the ball valves on the inlet and outlet are standard versions. Other PVBs use ball valves with testcocks installed in them, and those ball valves are more expensive to replace. Replacing ball valves is not a regular thing, unless a system is improperly maintained.

Strictly on the reliability of the vacuum breaker portion of the PVB, the Wilkins 720 is the hands-down winner. Unique design, and I've never encountered one that had a stuck/sticky poppet assembly (the key protection component in a PVB)

Note, that a PVB is correct only if it sits a foot or more higher than any pipe or sprinkler downstream of it. If you can't meet that elevation requirement, then you have to step up to the RPZ ($$$)

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Wet_Boots" (Jun 15th 2018, 7:59am)


Monday, June 18th 2018, 8:35pm

Ok, got it. I'll install a pvb. Do i need a special freeze resistant type? I live in columbus ohio where it does get cold in the winter.

What about pipe? Am I fine with 3/4 inch blue lock pipe or should I go for 1 inch?

Rotors and sprayers - Rainbird or hunter?


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Posts: 5,245

Location: Metro NYC


Wednesday, June 20th 2018, 2:42pm

Freeze "resistance" in a PVB is largely untested in a properly maintained pro system. Water is not left in the plumbing, so their work isn't being subjected to freezing water bursting the plumbing.

If water is going to be left in the outdoor plumbing over the winter, expect damage. If I had to spec a PVB on the basis of uncertain maintenance and easiest repair of a freeze damaged unit, it would not be the Wilkins 720, because it has a bonnet made of brass. Other brands like Febco or Watts have plastic bonnets that will break from freezing water, which spares the brass body. Wilkins is too strong for its own good, come a freeze, and the body is subject to damage, requiring a complete replacement.




Yesterday, 5:54pm

I have seen people simply put a loop in some garden hose and use that as a backflow preventer. The simple fact that you even realize that this is something to consider puts you ahead.. In my amateur, uneducated opinion, as long as you don't have any steep grades and pipe the system above the highest head at the spigot, maybe with a loop, you're fine.

Someone who is ranting about the backflow preventers explain to me how water at almost atmospheric pressure would flow backwards into a system > 30 psi? However, I might consider installing one and buy automatic valves later, you never know when a city appraiser comes by and notices more than he needs to.

Forget about the PVC pipe, just use poly the whole way, its better in a climate that can freeze anyway. However, the thin wall irrigation poly is pretty thin, so if you decide to use it, I would use PVC between the house connection and the valves. I'd try to find some place local so you don't have to pay for shipping poly. Do you live near Menards?

Here's some things to consider:

You never mentioned pressure, at least I didn't see it. You'll want to look into this. If you are less than 35 psi, you are going to have problems, even more likely if you use 1/2"... 1/2" at that flow rate is pretty small. See if you have a pressure regulator so that you can correct this if needed. I'd go 3/4 or 1 in.. There is good info on what to use on the internet. If you want to save money, you should use the larger diameter closest to the house, then as you move towards the last head you can downsize. Pipe length affects what pressure the head actually sees.

Expect to use more fittings than you plan on. Hose clamps with worm gears are expensive, crimp clamps require a special tool and don't work with thicker poly.. jerry rigging a tool doesnt work very well.

Use funny pipe as your riser if you can.

Poly can be hard to work with, the easiest way it is installed is with a vibratory plow, if you try to trench it, it will want to coil up on you... It has memory. If you don't have heavy rocks, a second person, and/or black asphalt driveway to warm the pipe up, good luck. If you are digging by hand, get a trenching shovel.

Install drains if you can't afford getting it blown out, a pancake compressor isn't going to work... I have heard of success using ~30 gal +, that will depend on your flow rate.. A way to help ensure success is looking for a head that has a local shutoff, in my opinion (something I haven't yet tried), then you can dramatically reduce the flow rate when blowing the system out and do it one head at a time. I wouldnt worry about getting a freeze resistant backflow preventer, I also wouldn't push it on the date when you get the system drained. The problem if you go the drain route is you will have high and low spots in the piping, and the pipe runs don't always go according to plan. Tree roots are a bitch, don't expect to trench through them.

Your dynamic water pressure is going to suffer if you use a hose bib, thats alot of flow through a hose bib. What I mean is you could connect a pressure gauge to it and read your house water pressure, but as the water trys to flow out of it the pressure will drop. It doesn't have the same flow capability as a ball or gate valve. Also, if you are on the fence about an extra zone, I would add an extra zone. Hose bibs have non-standard threads anyway FYI.

I've had good luck with the pre-assembled hunter manifolds.

I'd go hunter. Google my post about my head comparison. By far the easiest to install are spray heads with MP Rotators. If you use regular rotors, plan on sizing your zones using matched precipitation, then if a zone fails to work well you can downsize the nozzles (even though it isn't perfect, contractors systems often are nowhere near perfect either).

I also wouldnt buy your timer until later on when you see what your actual cost is, valves can be opened manually by turning the solenoid. You should also know that DIY plumbing has gotten much easier recently with push on fittings (expensive, but simple) and PEX. There's also pre-soldered copper fittings, and YouTube now.

Bury the pipe deeper than an inch or two in a freezing climate.

Valves work off differential pressure, you don't want to oversize them, check their allowable GPM and pressure rating in their datasheet. I think 3/4 or 1 inch valves should work for you. Flow control isn't necessary, but it can help with valve chatter and improper valve sizing for the zone.

Let us know how it goes. Like I said, I am an amateur, my advice is based on installing only two systems start to finish basically on my own.

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