When it comes to installing a sprinkler system, it can be difficult if you are not sure what you are doing, and it requires a certain bit of skill. I installed my own sprinkler system a few years ago, and there were quite a few things I learned along the way that I previously was unaware of. Here are four of the most important lessons I learned from installing my own sprinkler system, and how you can learn from them if you are planning on installing one yourself.
Always Get the Utility Company To Come Out
One of the things that I failed to even think about when it came to installing the sprinkler system was all of the underground lines I needed to watch out for. I began marking out my property and started running the system underground when I hit the electrical line, luckily I stopped before I split the cable in half. You want to make sure that you call each company for your utilities, line gas, electric, cable, and telephone so that they can come out and mark where each of those lines are on your property. You need to make sure you avoid hitting or digging around these lines because it can cause serious damage to the line, and that is a lot of money for them to come out and fix it. You want to not only have them place a marker near where the lines begin and end, but you also want to make a note of these areas on your own sketch that you are using to plan out your system. Although I almost created a horrible situation by hitting the electrical line, I consider it a positive experience, since now I am always aware of these lines anytime I do any type of home improvement or lawn work.
Remember To Dig Trenches Deep
When I first started installing my sprinkler system, I thought I could get away with only digging the trenches a few inches, but I quickly found out this was just not going to work. When it came to trying to install the pipes and cable wire, I just did not have enough room to install the compression tee and other fittings properly. Essentially, I had to take out all of the pipe and wire I put down and start digging the trenches deeper, and I lost about a day of work in that process. When you start digging the trenches to install the pipes, you want to make sure you are going about six to ten inches into the ground. You might not want to do this because you will likely need a trencher, which does cost a little bit of money, but it will save you in the long run. You need to make sure you have enough room to install the fittings securely and properly onto the pipes, which can only be done through just digging deeper than you think you need. This was a pretty negative experience for me because I was renting out a trencher, so I had to pay for another day on that, and I also had to continue trenching well into the night to make up for lost time. One good thing about that experience was now I give myself plenty of room whenever I am doing lawn work outside, because I would rather have too much room I have to fill back in than have to re-dig or rip up what I have already started. My advice would be to always find out how deep your sprinklers need to go underground, and then maybe add an inch or two onto the recommended length.
Include More Connections In Valve Manifold
When you are installing the valve manifolds, you want to always make sure you add a couple extra connections on each one. While you might think you have everything planned out in advance, you might find yourself wanting to add another connection during the installation process. When you plan out the sprinkler system, you will have to do some math to determine the water pressure and how many valves you will need for each circuit, and this can lead to human error. You might miscount how many connections you need and have to go back and add one later on, which is exactly what I did. I miscounted the number of connections I needed for a particular manifold, and it took me forever to dig out the manifold, unhook everything, and then add another connection. It’s kind of like that old saying measure twice and cut once, but I just didn’t do that in this situation, and I had completely confused myself as to how many connections I needed. Luckily, it turned out alright so I don’t consider it to be a bad experience, but that is mostly because I caught it before the whole process was complete. You should always add a couple more connections anyways because you might want to use them later on, especially if you plan on adding onto the system in the future.
Know Which Sprinkler Head You Need
Well, if I learned one important lesson from installing my own sprinkler system, it is that you really need to pay attention to the type of sprinkler head you are installing. Different situations will require you to use different heads, such as for large areas, small areas, and flowerbeds. When I was installing a sprinkler system near my flowerbed, I thought I could use just a few of the small area heads, but I ended up saturating the flowers, and a few of them died due to my negligence. That was a pretty bad experience because some of the flowers that died were given to me by my now deceased grandmother. When you are installing the system for a flowerbed, you will need the bubbler head, which simply provides deep watering inside, but does not damage your flowers. Bubbler heads also run on a slower schedule, which means that you won’t have to water as much, and there is less of a chance of over-watering your flowers. So my best advice is to always know which head you are installing in each zone, and research beforehand to make sure that specific head is what you need for that area.