Got Repairs?

Avoid common pitfalls...

Over the years, I've encountered a lot of unusual "custom installations" while doing repairs.

Some are done by well intentioned homeowners, some by their gardeners or landscapers. I am often called out after someone else gets it wrong.


Some are simple correctable mistakes; others are serious code violations. Most are attempts to get a job done quickly or cheaply by cutting corners.



According to Rain Bird's website...


"You Get What You Pay For"


"When choosing a contractor, you should be wary of those who offer to charge you significantly less than other contractors. Low bidders may not be licensed or insured and often use cost-cutting techniques that can jeopardize your lawn and shorten the life of your system.



Watch out for these commonly used tricks of the trade:

  1. Not including a backflow preventer, which is required by local codes to protect your drinking water supply.
  2. Installing sprinklers too far apart, which makes it impossible for certain areas to receive enough water and causes brown spots during the hot summer months.
  3. Mixing sprinklers with different application rates on the same line, which causes one area to be overwatered in order to sufficiently water another.
  4. Not using special watertight connectors and a protective valve box to safeguard the electrical elements, guard against short circuits and prevent corrosion."

Here are a few common "corner-cutting" mistakes  we've encountered when called out to fix a job that someone else installed:

  1. Forgetting to install filters in spray heads.
  2. Bad glue connections and fittings that aren't fully inserted.
  3. Using thin wall pipe, either Class 200 or Class 125. We find that neither really holds up as well as Schedule 40 PVC in the sizes (3/4" through 2") that we normally use in residential irrigation.
  4. Forgetting to install shut-off valves to isolate the sprinklers from the house water supply so that a repair requires turning off water to the house
  5. Not regulating water pressure. Water pressure in some local foothill areas can be as high as 160 PSI. Spray heads operate best at less than 50 PSI. An adjustable regulator on your mainline solves the problem.
  6. Using too many heads on a line often exceeds manufacturer's specifications for water velocity, resulting in "water hammer" which can damage your pipe and crack or loosen fittings in severe cases.
  7. Connecting copper to galvanized (iron) pipe. Not only is this a code violation, but it shortens the life of your plumbing. The reaction between the two metals causes each to corrode faster. We've seen galvanized fittings threaded to copper that fill up more than half way with rust, severely restricting water flow. The common scenario: someone doesn't have a brass fitting on the truck, and instead of running to the supply store he uses a galvanized tee instead, costing the homeowner later.


Irrigation Hall of Shame nominees:

Internal corrosion of galvanized pipe that was connected to copper.
Anti-siphon valves installed below grade (a code violation).
It might even work. But ask yourself... would you want this on your home?


Whatever your irrigation project, I'll give it the attention to detail you deserve. I am a trained, experienced professional, and I always stand by my work.

Whether it's a new installation, upgrade or repair, you can trust that I won't cut corners and "do it right the first time."
I've earned the trust of dozens of customers throughout the Santa Clara Valley, and beyond.... from Portola Valley to Scotts Valley.



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