Make Irrigation Installations Easier

You gotta love generation—cell phones, virtual video recorders, tablet gadgets… how did we ever live with out them? Seems like a few new gizmo rolls out every day. It’s tough to hold up with it all. Irrigation contractors haven’t been omitted of this revolution. Smart controllers, climate and ET, moisture and rain sensors, water management software…there had been plenty of high-tech chocolates for you as nicely. Irrigation Repair

“That’s all very excellent,” you’ll be announcing. “But what I really need are things that’ll speed up the procedure of installing and servicing irrigation systems. That has a direct effect on my backside line.”

Well, you’re in good fortune. As it turns out, there are a number of modifications and new merchandise which have come alongside within the previous few years to make your job simpler. Actually, good fortune has nothing to do with it. These improvements weren’t dreamed up out of a vacuum; they got here from the enter that manufacturers were given from contractors like you, in the subject.

“We visit loads of trade suggests,” stated Ron Pace, income manager at Dura Plastic Products, Inc., in Beaumont, California. “The men who do new installations and repairs tell us that point is money. They don’t need to spend eight hours installing a machine if they could get it performed in six, and then circulate directly to the next process.”

“We’ve continually tried to make the labor issue higher for the contractor,” said Alan Ence, director of business development for Salt Lake City, Utah primarily based Hydro-Rain. “We attempt to make set up higher and easier for every person worried.”

“We’re seeing the next generation of irrigation device now,” stated Tom Horn, proprietor and president of All-n-One Outdoor Solutions, Inc., Jefferson City, Missouri. He speaks from the attitude of 1 who has been putting in and repairing irrigation systems for more than twenty years. “The groups that make irrigation additives keep improving things and tweaking them, making structures less difficult and quicker to put in, maintain and modify.”

Self-piercing saddles

Horn cites this situation: “For one component, the saddles which you use to faucet into lateral lines—they advanced those substantially approximately five years in the past. Used to be, you’d ought to take a nut driver and tighten down the nuts. Then, you had to take every other tool and stick it down in the hollow and cut out portions of pipe, then positioned the saddle in.”

“Now they’ve self-piercing saddles that just clamp proper onto pipe. You screw the component in, it pierces the pipe, and also you’re prepared to hook up your sprinkler head.”

Push fittings
Nothing slows down the installation manner greater than having to wait for glue and primer to set up and dry. That’s why push fittings (now and again known as push-and-lock fittings or slip-fixes), connectors that don’t require glues or primers, have been invented. They’re used for each new installations and for maintenance.

Joe Walker is operations manager for Indianapolis, Indiana-primarily based Walker Irrigation Systems, Inc. When requested approximately push fittings, he says, “I without a doubt love them. They make installation lightning rapid.”

“When you’re connecting PVC pipe, you’ve were given to top the piece, glue the piece, then push it in and watch for it to installation,” he explains. “The label at the can says to wait 45 minutes to an hour for that. But with a push-becoming, there’s 0 downtime. I simply positioned it on, and I can immediately flip the machine on and re-pressurize it.”

“And for poly pipe, the conventional method is placing clamps on,” says Walker. “Every time you placed an insert becoming in, you’ve got to ensure to clamp that ring down tight with a separate device. But, because of clampless push fittings, we’ve by no means needed to do it that manner. Once we definitely begin plumbing, I’d say we’re saving approximately 40 percentage of our time, if not a little bit more.”

Walker also appreciates push fittings for cutting down the quantity of device his team members ought to carry. “Instead of carrying a can of primer, a can of glue, a saw, a deburring device for PVC pipe, and for poly, a pair of crimping tools and a bag of clamps, all they should bring is a pair of pipe cutters.”

Not each person is on board the specific connection train, but. “In my enjoy, short connect or push fittings don’t work nearly in addition to appropriate, old skool glue and primer, and that they’re substantially greater costly,” stated Tom Nowak, owner and president of James River Irrigation,in Richmond, Virginia.

Walker begs to differ. “The push-and-lock fittings are such time-savers, and that interprets immediately into cash. The exertions prices are completely offset. I can do five greater service calls in an afternoon if I’m the usage of push fittings than I can using traditional fittings and sitting around, waiting for them to dry. We’d should be ignorant of look beyond that.”

“Some older contractors may not be cozy with push fittings due to the fact they’re so used to the use of their glue and primer,” says Matthew McElveen, countrywide product manager, at Lasco Fittings, Inc., in Brownsville, Tennessee. “They’ll probable stay with what they recognise.”

“That’s the antique dogs no longer liking new hints,” says Kurt K. Thompson, irrigation director for Orlando, Florida-primarily based Massey Services, Inc. “But nothing is perfect; not anything’s with out its personal entice doors. You could make errors in gluing pipe collectively, too, such as now not seating them all the manner in. That may be certainly pricey.”

Another gain to push fittings is their capacity to be used in wet conditions. “Imagine displaying as much as a job web site,” stated Ence. “Water is gushing, and you’ve a multitude, a huge hollow with a large puddle. You flip the water off, look down in that hollow, and notice quite a few water which you’ve got to drain out. There’s also water in the pipe; you’ve were given to dispose of that, too. You ought to reduce your new pipe, attach it, and get inside and outside of there in a constrained amount of time.”

“How are you going to connect a joint underneath such conditions? You’ll ought to make sure that the pipe is dry, on the inside and the outside. Here’s where push fittings are invaluable. They may be set up underwater, or with water running.”

Could push fittings subsequently emerge as the usual? “Personally, I think there’ll be a place for each forms of fittings, push-on and glued, in the future,” stated McElveen.

When you should glue, it’s nevertheless by and large a -step technique. Horn has tried using an adhesive that combines gluing and priming in one software. “It’s very pleasant to only have to convey you could, and it appears fairly effective and reliable on smaller structures. But I wouldn’t apply it to larger installations. With some thing greater than two-inch diameter pipe, I could nonetheless instead use traditional glue and primer.”

There’s every other kind of quick-attach connector referred to as a compression becoming. This type has little “teeth” that certainly bites into pipe, even metallic pipe consisting of copper.

“The only time we’ve had a hassle with a compression fitting is when we will’t get it properly seated onto a pipe,” says Horn. “If they’re only a little bit off, they could leak and fail. But then, any product you use needs to be well aligned and established.”

Walker has located any other distinct advantage to push fittings. “Being able to remove eighty percent of my gluing and priming is better for me and my worker’s, because we don’t have to cope with fumes and skin contact. It gets rid of a whole lot of dangerous waste as properly.”

Respirators and gloves have to in reality be used with poisonous chemicals. But then…“Sometimes there aren’t a number of protection precautions after you get out within the actual international,” acknowledges Walker. “The vast majority of contractors are likely gluing pipe barehanded. My guys put on gardening gloves, however they’re not latex or rubber, so there can nonetheless be soakthrough. And plenty of instances, you might be in a meter vault, or some other enclosed area like that, respiratory that stuff in.”

“That said,” Walker observes, “why no longer convert to something that’ll provide you the equal performance, plus a bit more peace of mind?”

Flexible pipe

Flexible pipe, made by using some of producers, has been every other present to installers. “The exceptional element approximately flexible pipe is that it comes in rolls,” stated Keith Shepersky, senior challenge supervisor for Irritrol, established in Riverside, California.

“It may be cut to duration, and used with PVC pipe. If you have to install a tall pop-up sprinkler, as an instance, you gained’t should make your complete trench as deep as that sprinkler frame. You can dig a wellknown-intensity trench, make a little bit deeper hollow wherein the sprinkler is going, then use the flexible pipe to attach it. You can connect 1/2- or three-region inch fittings on both cease.”

“Flexible pipe is awesome for while you don’t recognise exactly how lengthy the phase is which you need to reduce out,” says McElveen. “It saves you from having to move get extra pipe. It can also be used for growth joints.”

“The flex pipe is exceptional for conditions in which you have to pass beneath or round obstructions, like rock, as an instance,” says Thompson. “Especially when you’re doing renovations, where you regularly ought to perform a little form of wacky bending.”

“It’s used much extra for the repair commercial enterprise than it’s miles in new installations,” stated Pace. “I’d say for each ten upkeep that a person does with flex pipe, he would possibly use it as soon as on a brand new set up. For instance, a situation where it’d take 4 or 5 non-flexible fittings to make some thing work, or while pipe isn’t coated up precisely proper. It is going in quicker, faster and cleaner.”

Another bendy connector is swing pipe, used to connect sprinklers to PVC pipe. It’s been around for the reason that Eighties. “Those connections have to be able to circulate, because they’re sticking out above floor,” explains Thompson. “Otherwise, cars or heavy device strolling over the corners of driveways will smash the tees, the sprinklers, or the pipes.”

Easy-peasy sleevers

There’s one greater trick in your brief-installation bag, and that’s a sleever. It’s exceptional for while you need to run pipe under a sidewalk or driveway. “A sleever is a steel bar that seems like a huge knitting needle, or a double-headed nail,” stated Thompson. “You can slide, say, a one-inch PVC pipe into it, and then dig a trench perpendicular to where you’re going to pass beneath the sidewalk. Then you simply pound it through, pull out the metallic bar, and go away the PVC pipe within the ground.”

He factors out that in a few regions, like in sandy-soiled Florida wherein he works, sleevers won’t be important, as it’s fairly easy to connect a hose and permit water bore out a hollow for you. But in places with clay soil, a sleever is beneficial.

“The antique days of pounding galvanized pipe via, pulling it out on the alternative facet, after which sliding PVC lower back thru, or seeking to, are gone,” says Thompson.

There are different products obtainable that may streamline jobs for installers, along with direct-glue valves that don’t require threaders, and trenchers with tracks in preference to wheels. Competition among gadget producers being what it is, it’s a secure bet to say that there’ll be plenty extra to come.

Installing and servicing irrigation systems is never going to be an clean process; but it can be made simpler.