Steps to a Successful Irrigation Repair
Irrigation is vital to keeping a healthy landscape during spring, summer, and often fall in Lane County. Due to a variety of factors these systems are often in need of repair. We wanted to highlight the process we go through when making repairs to these delicate systems by making a walk through of a system we just fixed.
Demonstrated in the picture above is a break in a 2.5 inch irrigation mainline that we repaired recently at one of our large commercial accounts. Mainlines can be tricky to repair due to the amount of pressure that exists in the piping. However, for residences or smaller properties, the size of the line will be smaller than 2.5 inches. Though these repairs can be difficult, the true test is done when the water is turned back on.
Here are the steps we take when making irrigation repairs.
Assess the situation
Once we are made aware of a problem in one of our irrigation systems, we first have to assess what that problem is. Was there any recent construction done? Concrete poured? Are roots squeezing or breaking the pipes? Maybe its something electrical…We have answers for just about anything that could go wrong. Our technicians asses the situation by looking for leaks, studying the vegetation around the problem, and determining a plan of action.
In this case, the mainline had a leak where a previous repair had been made years earlier. A problem had been identified by one of our maintenance crews while they were working at the property and noticed a valve box that was full of water and parts of the lawn that were flooded.
Fix the problem
After assessing the situation and determining a plan of action, we then go to work. Whether this involves replacing sprinkler heads, repairing sections of pipe, installing a new controller or new valves, we are prepared to do whatever it takes.
In this case, after assessing the area, we knew our only option was to dig and find the area of pipe that was broken. So we kept digging, knowing that the break was somewhere nearby in the mainline. Once we uncovered more ground, the problem became obvious and we knew what to do. A joint is any type of connection between pipes in the same line. Joints exist so that the line can turn either 45 or 90 degrees. In this case, a joint was leaking where someone else had made a repair many years ago. This is a common occurrence, but due to the circumstances a tricky repair.
Obviously, fixing the problem is the longest step. In this case, our repair was made slightly more tricky because the piping joint that was broken was right next to another joint that had been put in concrete alongside another irrigation pipe. It is somewhat common to find that large irrigation joints have previously been put in concrete because concrete can support large joints. What this meant is that we had to remove the pieces of concrete without damaging any other pipes. It is important when working on irrigation systems not to create further damage. This is not only because with more damage there is more to fix, but because debris can get into the irrigation line and cause problems in the irrigation all over the property for years to come. Thankfully, we successfully removed all that we needed to and were able to make the repair without any further damage.
Test the repair
Once an irrigation system is repaired, it is vital to test it. This can be as simple as turning on a single zone on the sprinkler controller or just turning on a valve.
In this case, after making our repair we had to let it sit overnight so our PVC glue could dry completely. Then, we could turn on the mainline and put our repair to the test. It is important to let your repairs that involve PVC glue sit for awhile. On a smaller line we may have waited five to ten minutes before turning the water on. However, since this was a bigger line with a large amount of water pressure, we let it sit overnight. The next day, we returned and turned the water back on slowly. Due to the pressure involved, it is always important to start with a slow flow of water, especially when repairs are involved. Once we were able to test our repair and see that everything was working correctly, we back filled the hole and left the system on. Whenever irrigation systems are tested, repaired, or worked on in any way, it is important to make sure that you always restore the system to working order.
These are the basic steps we take when repairing any irrigation line or system. If you need help with your irrigation, don’t hesitate to contact us.