Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Useful Tools We Used for our Irrigation System

Basic Tools
The tools required to install an irrigation system are pretty basic; a shovel, trenching shovel, hacksaw, wire cutter, a couple of wrenches, and a knife will get the job done in most cases. But like most projects, a few special tools make the work much easier and faster to perform.
Mattock: By far the handiest tool for putting in irrigation systems!
PVC Pipe Cutter: This is a handy cutting tool used for cutting PVC pipe and poly hose.
Wire Cutters: Needed for cutting the wires.
Screw Drivers: One flat blade and one Phillips for connecting wires to the controller.

Installation of Underground Piping
A day or two before you begin digging the trenches, water the soil thoroughly to soften it, but try not to create mud. As you trench, periodically water down the area to keep down the dust. If you are digging the trenches by hand, I recommend doing it in sections. This has a couple of advantages, first you don't completely wear yourself out digging, second it reduces the danger of having lots of open trenches at the same time. The bottoms of the trenches need to be as level and smooth as possible.

Assembling PVC Pipe
The easiest way to install the pipe is to start at the water source and work out to the valves, then continue to the end of each lateral. Assemble the pipe outside of the trench and then lower the assembled sections into the trench as you move along. Try to avoid getting dirt into the pipe as you assemble it.

PVC cement, PVC primer, and acetone are flammable. Do not use them around any ignition source. Do not breath the vapors. Close the containers when not in use. Avoid contact between these chemicals and your skin. Don't get any of these in your eyes and avoid getting them on your clothes. You are working with an aggressive chemical solvent, so use common sense!
Cut the pipe ends square using a hacksaw or preferably, a PVC pipe cutter. It is extremely important that all the burrs be removed from the cut pipe end. These burrs will scratch the pipe as the sections are pressed together creating small channels that will become leaks someday. Smooth the burrs and rough edges using a pocket knife, file, or a piece of sandpaper.

Once the pipe is assembled you can place it in the bottom of the trench. For sprinkler systems install the sprinkler risers, but not the sprinkler heads. Temporarily place threaded caps on the risers.

Don't forget to install the control wire for the valves while the trenches are open (unless, of course, you don't plan to bury the wire). The wire should be at least two inches away from the pipe, and either next to, or under the pipe.