In-Ground Sprinkler Installation: 3 Mistakes to Avoid
Even though you might never have done it before, installing an in-ground sprinkler system is simple once you have grasped the key steps in the process and have gotten a hold of the tools needed. In-ground sprinkler systems are popular for their removal from visibility, unlike sprinklers using hose pipes for distribution. Even with the convenience that this ease of installation presents, there are a number of mistakes you must avoid to achieve the maximum service return form your sprinkler system.
Not Checking for Underground Electricity Cables and Gas Pipes
Never start digging in-ground sprinkler pipe trenches before you establish if and where underground electricity wires and gas pipes pass are located. It could be a recipe for disaster because you could get electrocuted as you dig the trench. In the longer term, the entire sprinkler system can get electrically charged if water from a broken pipe or faulty sprinkler head seeps below ground and comes into contact with the cables. If you accidentally puncture the gas supply, you will be staring at a fire risk.
Get an expert to map out the paths of any electricity and gas conduits beneath the ground within your lawn. The good news is that you do not have to pay for this mapping since the utility firms in most areas will gladly foot this cost. After all, it is in their best interests to keep the gas conduits and power cables intact.
Pipe Trenches Too Shallow or Too Deep
Trenches dug for in-ground sprinkler pipe installation need to be at least seven inches below ground level. Any less and the pipe is vulnerable to anything of medium weight that passes above ground. Keep in mind that pipes for domestic sprinklers are made from PVC and can only withstand a limited amount of pressure. Heavy objects such as cars or even human beings above ground will result in cracks in the pipes.
Avoid the other extreme as well: digging the trench too deep. Deep seated pipes make it difficult to detect breaks or cracks since the water has to cover a longer distance to make it the surface. Underground pipes are bound to require minor repair and maintenance work at some point. If the pipes are dug too deep, you may need to hire someone to do the digging. The maximum depth should be ten inches.
Placing the Sprinkler Head at the Wrong Height
Use the specifics of the intended coverage area to determine the best height of the sprinkler head. When installing a sprinkler head in an area predominantly covered by grass, position the sprinkler head closer to the ground to avoid water scattering beyond the sprinkler’s zone. If the area is characterized by bushes and medium height flowers, keeping the head close the ground will hinder water from getting to all target areas within the sprinkler zone. In this case, raise the sprinkler head higher and test to make sure it reaches most flora within its zone.