Explanation of Automatic Sprinkler Systems
An automatic sprinkler system makes lawn care a cinch. Yet many people, not wanting to pay exorbitant installation costs, hesitate when it comes to upgrading to such a system. The good news is that, if you are considering whether to purchase an automatic sprinkler system, you may be able to install it yourself–but only if you understand exactly what’s involved. This article will provide a basic explanation of how an automatic sprinkler system works.
Sprinkler systems start at the house
There are several ways to connect your sprinkler system to your home water supply. By far the simplest and most common method is to make the connection using a preexisting outdoor faucet. This method does not require cutting any pipe. Instead, a galvanized tee joint is installed to the house service line. This allows water to be diverted to the sprinkler system, while still allowing you to use your faucet.
Valve manifolds control the flow of water
Unless you have a very small lawn, your home water pressure simply won’t be great enough to water your entire lawn at once. That’s where your sprinkler system’s valve manifold comes into the picture. A given manifold may have anywhere between one and five valves, each of which is responsible for diverting water to the sprinkler heads in a different zone of your lawn.
Water flows to the manifold through a pipe connected to your new tee joint. The manifold is connected to the sprinkler heads located throughout your lawn by means of PVC sprinkler pipe. This pipe must be installed between 6 and 8 inches deep. A common strategy when laying sprinkler pipe is to mark the path of various pipes using marking spray paint. This will help considerably when digging your pipe trenches.
Valve manifolds are powered by electricity
In order for a manifold to open and close different valves at different times, it must be wired in to your home’s electrical system. Each valve in the manifold has its own set of wires which connect to the controller, which is used to program when and where your sprinkler system will be activated.
When planning your sprinkler system, you must choose where you want to install your controller. These are most commonly located either in the garage, basement, or an outdoor shed. Wherever you choose to install it, you must have enough electrical wire to run from the underground valve manifold to the controller. You must use 18-gauge wire. This is the gauge approved for underground use.
For beginners, installing an automatic sprinkler system can be an intimidating task. Yet by first preparing yourself with the right information, you can make the job much easier. The overview provided above should prove a valuable introduction to the installation process.
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