Tag Archives: sprinklers

A sprinkler saga, episode 4

Mikel and Darynn returned to Emerald Hill to continue resurrecting the sprinkler system.

This 1 December episode focuses on bringing all of the front yard zones to life.

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At the buried valve that he unburied, Mikel trenched for a new lateral line needed to supply a run of dripline at the curb in front of the house. He’s directing Darynn, who is outside the shot.

Mikel begins to cover the repaired and new sprinkler lines.
At the front walk, Mikel digs out a lateral line that was severed by the form used to construct the concrete pads.
Mikel cut the severed line cleanly to add a new elbow and flexible water line that he ran out to the sprinkler head that was cut off from water when the water line was severed.
Working under one of the concrete walkway pads, Mikel cut the severed line cleanly to add a new elbow and flexible water line that he ran out to the sprinkler head that was cut off from water when the water line was severed.
This is the main dig in the front yard where the plumbers originally severed the sprinkler lines when they trenched to install the new water supply line between the house and city water supply at the curb. Valve 1 is the valve that the plumbers buried under several inches of dirt -- discovered by Mikel when he explored for leaks in episodes 1, 2 and 3. Valve 2 is a new valve that supplies water to the new drip zone along the curb. Inside housing 3 is a dripline pressure regulator.
This is the main dig in the front yard where the plumbers originally severed the sprinkler lines when they trenched to install the new water supply line between the house and city water supply at the curb.
Valve 1 is the valve that the plumbers buried under several inches of dirt — discovered by Mikel when he explored for leaks in episodes 1, 2 and 3.
Valve 2 is a new valve that supplies water to the new drip zone along the curb.
Inside housing 3 is a dripline pressure regulator.
After about an hour of testing all possible wiring configurations, Darynn, who is studying to be an engineer, concluded that there is a cut in the wire that cannot be located -- and the only way to electrically open and close valves is to install an Add-A-Wire device that enables the controller in the garage to "multiplex" different signals to different valves while using the same control wires. This little widget adds $200+ to the cost of the day's gig. The alternative is several hours of manual trenching to run a new wire from the garage, to every valve, from the back of the house to the front.
After about an hour of testing all possible wiring configurations, Darynn, who is studying to be an engineer, concluded that there is a cut in the wire that cannot be located — and the only way to electrically open and close valves is to install an Add-A-Wire device that enables the controller in the garage to “multiplex” different signals to different valves while using the same control wires. This little widget adds $200+ to the cost of the day’s gig. The alternative is several hours of manual trenching to run a new wire from the garage, to every valve, from the back of the house to the front.
Darynn wires in the Add-A-Wire device.
Darynn wires in the Add-A-Wire device.
Mikel shifts a spray head from the curb at the street about eight feet back and into the lawn, where it can reach the grass, instead of spraying water into what will be a new planting bed that will be served by dripline.
Mikel shifts a spray head from the curb at the street about eight feet back and into the lawn, where it can reach the grass, instead of spraying water into what will be a new planting bed that will be served by dripline.

To be continued.

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A sprinkler saga, episode 3

In the 30 November installment of the sprinkler saga, Mikel from Green Tree Professional returned to continue resurrecting the sprinkler system from construction damage. He blocked six hours, believing most if not all of the damage was already identified and repaired. His goal was to begin redesigning the system to cut off lateral lines and sprinkler heads along the front of the house where planting beds no longer exist, and to lay out new drip lines to water the oaks in the front yard and planting beds that will be added to Emerald Hill.

Mikel unspooled several hundred feet of drip line.
Mikel unspooled several hundred feet of drip line.
He looped some of the drip line around one of the oaks and into what will be a planting bed.
He looped some of the drip line around one of the oaks and into what will be a planting bed.
He looped the drip line around more of the oaks.
He looped the drip line around more of the oaks.
He continued around a cluster of oaks near the driveway.
He continued around a cluster of oaks near the driveway and in front of the new privacy fence.
He laid out a drip line that Steven will use for a future planting bed at the side of the deck at the kitchen side of the house.
He laid out a drip line that Steven will use for a future planting bed at the side of the deck at the kitchen side of the house.
He looped the dripline around a cluster of oaks behind the new privacy fence.
He looped the dripline around a cluster of oaks behind the new privacy fence.
And he deployed several parallel runs of dripline across what will be new planting beds along the front curb.
And he deployed several parallel runs of dripline across what will be new planting beds along the front curb.

With the driplines laid out and staked down, Mikel switched on the water and activated the zones at the controller, to test the system.

He discovered a broken line that no one knew existed at the end of the new fence line up the driveway. Water streamed from a severed lateral line that was buried under several inches of mulch. He extracted from under the mulch a brass spigot attached to what was the end of the severed pipe. Mikel cut the pipe clean and capped it.

With that line fixed, Mikel switched the system back on — and there was now enough water pressure in the line to reveal four sprinkler heads buried under the mulch around the oaks behind the new fence. He removed the heads and capped the line. And … if we had known this run of sprinklers existed, he could have used it to supply the dripline around the trees — coulda woulda shoulda but too late now.

Next, Michael slit-trenched the new control wires into the ground between a valve  at the walkway and the valve that the plumbers buried.
Next, Michael slit-trenched the new control wires into the ground between a valve at the walkway and the valve that the plumbers buried.

To be continued …

 

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A sprinkler saga, episode 2

Mikel from Green Tree Professional returned 18 November to Emerald Hill to continue identifying problems with and repairing the sprinkler system.

With the system operable after the first repairs were made 11 November, Mikel focused in the front yard on repairing the main supply line to the sprinklers that was cut by the plumbers when they installed a new water line between the house and the city water supply at the curb.

As he dug, Mikel discovered that the main supply line for the sprinklers was cut -- pipe in left circle. The plumbers also cut two  lateral lines. Mikel has already repaired one of the laterals in this photo. The second cut is the PVC pipe in the right circle.
As he dug, Mikel discovered that the main supply line for the sprinklers was cut — pipe in left circle. The plumbers also cut two lateral lines. Mikel has already repaired one of the laterals in this photo. The second cut is the PVC pipe in the right circle.
While working on the pipes, Mikel discovered that the plumbers buried a control valve. He excavated to reveal the valve.
While working on the pipes, Mikel discovered that the plumbers buried a control valve. He excavated to reveal the valve. The plumbers also severed the control wire that runs between this valve and the next valve in line. Mikel could not locate the cut in the wires, so he opted to run new wires across the lawn to the connect the two valves.

After repairing the cuts, Mikel began testing the front sprinkler zones. He quickly discovered a lateral line that was cut when the front walk was formed — water burbled up from under one of the concrete steps.

The good news was … At least two front zones operated, even if they needed additional repairs.

It was time for Mikel to depart to his next scheduled appointment.

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A sprinkler saga, episode 1

When Ranserve excavated the foundation for the new garage bay, the concrete crew cut and buried the end of the 12-strand cable that runs between the control unit location in the garage, out to the valves that control the sprinklers in the back yard, along the PVC pipes that were buried in the ground when a previous owner installed the sprinkler system, and out to the valves and sprinkler heads in the front yard.

Ron Dahlke did try to protect the cable, but bobcats, picks, shovels and form boards are brutal.

Ron, Odell, Kevin and Matt dug exploratory holes in the back yard after the garage was built — and they did find the cable.

But it had been severed — and a section about 20 feet long was missing.

Odell asked Steven to have a sprinkler company do the repair.

Steven collected four estimates. Two companies advised it would be easier and faster to install an entirely new system at a cost of somewhere beyond $4,000 to $5,000. Two companies recommended repairs at $95 an hour, plus parts, with about three hours required to diagnose whether the system could be repaired.

Steven selected Mikel and Darynn Eggert, the two brothers who run Green Tree Professional. Yes, Steven gravitates toward working with family businesses and brothers — see the fence postings as further evidence.

In episode 1 of the sprinkler saga, dated 11 Nov. 2016, Darynn and Mikel excavated the cut end of the control cable buried in the ground about feet away from the back of the new garage, patched it to new wire, and attempted to pull that wire into the garage through conduit that was fixed into place when the concrete slab of the new garage floor was poured.

First discovery — it is impossible to force heavy-duty 12-strand irrigation wire through a tight 90-degree elbow when you don’t have a heavy-duty pull cord.

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The concrete team installed electrical conduit when they formed and poured the new slab for the garage. The sprinkler control wire was supposed to travel through the conduit. But, the wire can’t be pulled through the tight elbow identified in the lower circle in photo, at the concrete foundation. Steven approved drilling through the siding — the second, higher circle in the red-painted siding. Note the missing chunk of concrete walk that was cut out when the garage slab was excavated — this has to be replaced. Darynn and Mikel ran a temporary control wire above ground, with which they were able to begin testing the sprinkler system.

After much discussion, Steven permitted Darynn and Mikel to drill a hole through the exterior siding of the garage above ground level, with a plan to shield the cable in new conduit that would be mounted to the exterior of the siding outside the garage, turned down to the ground in a WIDE 90-degree elbow, then buried and run out across the back yard to connect with the old existing cable.

Except … Ranserve still has to replace a chunk of concrete walk that was cut out when the garage foundation was formed and poured. The new wire out the back of the garage traverses this missing concrete, so permanent installation is not possible until the concrete work is done.

The temporary control wire travels about 20 feet across the back yard to where the original exiting wire was severed.
The temporary control wire travels about 20 feet across the back yard to where the original exiting wire was severed.
Darynn and Mikel made waterproof connections between the new and old control wires. The trench at right is where Mikel discovered the open end of a sprinkler line that was severed during construction of the garage. He cut off the knife edge of the PVC and capped it off.
Darynn and Mikel made waterproof connections between the new and old control wires. The trench at right is where Mikel discovered the open end of a sprinkler line that was severed during construction of the garage. He cut off the knife edge of the PVC and capped it off.

So, Mikel and Darynn ran the wire into the garage, temporarily loose and above ground, connected it to the sprinkler controller in the back yard, turned on water to the sprinkler system, powered up the controller — and began experimenting to discover leaks.

Second discovery — the system still worked. In some places.

Third discovery — in the front yard, the plumbers severed  the main supply line to the sprinkler system when they trenched the front yard to install the new water supply line to the house as required by the city. Did the plumbers repair the sprinkler line as requested by Steven? Apparently, obviously, not.

 

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