How to Install an In-Ground Sprinkler System
An in-ground sprinkler system is easy to install by following these instructions.
Start the measurements at the junction of the mist tubing. From the pressure pump and the mist line, proceed to the desired end point. Ed takes measurements on the patio floor; the distance parallels where he'll mount the mist lines on the joists above the floor. Based on each individual situation, you may have to break the measurements up into several segments. After measuring, calculate the number of lengths needed and write the measurements on a pad. Lay the mist lines on the patio floor according to the recorded measurements.
When hanging the lines, keep in mind that they have to hang approximately 8' above the ground to work properly. The lines come with special clips lined with rubber that slide into place; when a screw is put into both holes, the clips lock for a tight fit.
At the end, join the pipes with a standard compression fitting. The fitting has a nut on the outside and inside of the ferule; it crimps around, creating a tight seal, after you tighten down the nut. Place the fitting on the ground on its side. This way, topside, you'll have only one joint to make when you go to additional lengths: just slide them into the existing fitting, tighten them and work down the pipe.
Slide a compression coupling on both ends of the first section of mist line and tighten securely, using a pair of wrenches.
Standing on a ladder, measure a reasonable distance away from the concrete wall and mark the spot. Place a cushion clamp over the mist line and attach it to the joist with a wood screw. Attach another clamp on the upper and lower part of the line and fasten them to the joists. Slide the second section of mist line into the compression coupling that was attached to the first. Add a clamp and again attach it to the overhead joist. Hang the third line, and the first part of the job is complete.
There is one more 8' section of pipe that cannot be installed straight; it must be installed with a 90-degree compression fitting (image 1). It works on the same principle as the couplings: when it's in place, the 8' section can be installed and finished off with a blind cap. Slip the 90-degree elbow on the end of the third mist line and use a pair of wrenches to tighten the connection firmly. When the elbow is in place, tighten the fourth section of line, with the attached coupling and blind cap, with the wrenches (image 2). Slide the mist line into the elbow and run it in the direction of the house; again, secure the line with a clamp to the joist. The last step is to tighten all the compression fittings that join the mistlines. Now it's time to hook up the water and electricity.
Ed installs the pressure tubing (it comes with the kit) from the back of the pressure pump to the misting lines. The tubing is UV protected, which means it can be run in direct sunlight or underground, as long as it's sleeved into a larger pipe. Use the clips that come with the kit to install the tubing, making sure it's secured firmly to the mounting location to prevent movement caused by pump vibration.
Slip the nut and ferrule on the tubing before inserting the tubing into the compression coupling at the starting point of the mist line; tighten the fitting as before. Route the tubing toward the pressure pump, mounting it with cushion clamps, first to the joists, then to the wall. When it's securely attached, cut any excess and push it into the fitting located on the back of the pump. Place the pump with its back against the wall.
With the mist lines completed, it's time to plug into a GFCI unit, which is safe to use around water-based equipment.
Air and debris must now be bled from the misting lines. Turn on the water and start the pump; water will begin leaking out of the welded nozzles. Walk along the lines and check the welded nozzles for bleeding. Allow the water to run for 15 seconds, then shut it off and install the mist nozzles into each nozzle that bled. Repeat the process until you have two or three empty nozzles. At this point, let the water run for a full minute, then turn it off and install the remaining mist nozzles.
When the system is in place, regularly monitor the tubing, particularly if it's fastened to brick or another rough surface. Constant vibration against a rough surface will eventually wear the tubing thin. Replacement tubing can be purchased from the manufacturer or at a plumbing-supply store.
The next item on the checklist is the filter at the back of the pump. Most manufacturers will include several filters with the initial purchase and usually sell individual filters. A filter works overtime filtering sediment, which will clog nozzles, from the water supply. Some filters are equipped with phosphate crystals, which attach to sediment that seeps through and out the nozzle.
Check the filter every month: simply unscrew the bottom half, remove and inspect the filter. Wash the filter if it needs cleaning, or simply practice good maintenance and change the filter every month.
Also, keep a watchful eye on the pump. Before cold weather sets in, unhook the water and electricity and move the pump into a garage or other dry area. It's also a good idea to winterize the pump by draining the system completely. To do so, turn the water on, then off. Let the pump run for a minute and then turn it off.
Lastly, the nozzles should be checked on a regular basis. Keep an eye out for any nozzle that seems to have irregular spray; this may indicate that sediment is blocking the water flow of the nozzle. If this happens, buy nozzle cleaner and mix it with a gallon of water. Pour the solution into the hole on the pump and let it flush the lines. Repeat several times while monitoring the affected nozzle.
After the hot season ends, remove the nozzles and soak them in a calcium-lime remover solution. Let them soak in the solution until hot weather returns and then reinstall them.