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Starting Member


Tuesday, July 17th 2018, 4:34pm

Advice on retrofitting a 70's era system

I inherited a 1970's era irrigation system when I bought my house that hasn't been used for years but I want to refurbish and I'm looking for a few tips..

The existing system has a Toro mechanical controller with pneumatic controlled valves (8 of them) plumbed with a 1" copper line going to a white PVC manifold. The system is actually accessible from the basement where it is installed into a climate controlled crawl space and has a drain line at the low point that flows into the utility tub below it..

When I turn on the water supply to the irrigation system my water meter runs at full speed, I definitely have a leak in one or more of the lines, and water appears to be going to one or more of lines at once, so I believe some of the valves are failed open. I also know several of the heads in my yard are broken/missing so I lose air pressure there.

So rather than put money into fixing the pneumatic system I thought I would upgrade to a modern controller and valves, and I also realized I have no backflow prevention valve, just a ballvalve between my drinking water and the irrigation system. Based on reading the forum since my valves are below grade I'm thinking I need to use a Double Check Backflow Preventer?

For a controller, knowing that I have a number of leaks to troubleshoot in the yard I was thinking the Raccio 3 controller with the leak detector option would be a good choice? I like smart home stuff and the idea of intelligently planning around weather patterns seems like a good idea.

But I'm stuck on valves/manifold ideas.. Any suggestions there? The incoming line is 1" copper, and the supply lines are black PVC that are currently connected to the pneumatic valves via barb fittings and clamps. What brand and type of valve would you recommend for below grade installations in a basement? I'm ok with spending a bit more for a more reliable or serviceable product.

Thanks for any suggestions! If pictures of the existing setup would be useful let me know..

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