What is the purpose of a vacuum breaker?
The purpose of a vacuum breaker is to prevent water from a outside source backing up into the city water supply.
Is there more than one type of vacuum breaker?
Yes, there are three basic types, pressure type vacuums are used on multiple zone systems and are suitable to be pressurized at all times. The only stipulation is that they be installed 12″ higher than the highest head on the system. Atmospheric vacuum breakers are not suitable for pressure at all times. This means the zone valve must be before the vacuum breaker and still installed 12″ higher than the highest head. Reduced Pressure vacuum breakers (RP) are suitable for pressure at all times and can be installed anywhere even in a basement or a pit.
Can I winterize my own system myself?
Whether or not you can reliably winterize your system yourself depends on how many heads you have on any one zone. The more heads you have on a zone the larger the air compressor must be.
My system was working fine, now nothing! What went wrong?
There are many things that can cause the system not to function. A broken wire, a bad fuse, a faulty rain sensor or maybe the lawn service guy turned the vacuum breaker off to stop sprinkling while he cut the grass and neglected to turn it back on.
I had my system winterized and there was still freeze damage in the spring. What gives?
The winterizing process removes the water from the pipes to prevent them from bursting when the water freezes and then expands. It is your best protection. Unfortunately, water can get back in after the system has been shut down and winterized. If the main shut off valve is not turned of tight or is leaking internally, even just a little, over the course of the winter it can refill the pipes causing damage. It may be a good idea to have the valve replaced or the problem could reoccur each year. Freezing temperatures can also cause the ground to shift resulting in some underground damage. This is hard to protect against as it even causes concrete to crack.
One zone wont shut off, I have even unplugged the timer. What is wrong?
It sounds like one of the solenoid valves has malfunctioned or has some debris is in it. This should be repaired by a qualified technician. Shut the water off at the source or better yet at the vacuum breaker until repairs can be made.
The water pressure seemed better last year. Is there something I can do about it?
Low water pressure could indicate a serious problem. But there are some things you can check. First make sure all the valves on the water supply are open all the way, This includes all the valves on the vacuum breaker. Ball valves (valves with flat lever type handles) are put in a 1/2 closed position or on a 45 degrees for the winter. This can cause low pressure. Also do a thorough search for leaks.
Will a automatic lawn sprinkler system water as well as I can by hand?
It will do a much better job because the system waters automatically, placing exactly the right amount of water on individual lawn and garden areas. It never gets too busy to water properly and it never forget to turn off the water after the proper time.
Will having a sprinkler system really save me time?
Yes. Having an automatic lawn sprinkler means never having to spend another minute of your valuable free time watering the lawn. Your new system will do all of the watering for you, even when you are away from home.
How do I know which type of system is best for me?
It’s always best to work with a professional. American Lawn Sprinkler is knowledgeable about such factors as water source and pressure, soil type, planting material and weather conditions, all of which must be considered in determining the products needed for your system. Remember an irrigation system should be customized to meet specific site requirements because each landscape situation is different.
Will the system use more water than I currently use?
No. In fact, it actually will conserve water while doing a better job. You will never have to worry about runoff from over watering or wasting water when you forget to turn off or move the hose.
How much damage to my existing lawn can I expect from a new installation?
The equipment we use to install the pipe underground is designed not to disturb the existing lawn. There will be a small cut left by the blade that pulls the pipe underground. Many customers can’t believe how little damage we do.
My home is on a private well, can I still have a sprinkler system?
In most cases Yes, but it is very important to design the sprinkler system around your well’s capacity. The well depth, static water level, horse power of the pump, depth of the pump are all factors that must be considered.
Can I save money by installing the system myself?
No! In fact, it could cost you more in the long run. American Lawn Sprinkler will design and install the most cost effective and energy efficient system possible. You can be certain that we will select the appropriate equipment for the job. We will pay special attention to such important factors as sprinkler pattern overlap and backflow prevention which is necessary to protect your drinking water. And because we are familiar with local codes you wont have to worry about costly mistakes in wiring or pipe installation. We can do the job faster with less disruption to existing landscaping. and we will guarantee our work.
Will the system be too complicated for me to use?
No! Sprinkler systems are very easy to operate. We will set up the system controller with your individual water schedule. Then all you have to do is sit back and let the system do all the work. And the watering schedule can de easily changed if necessary. We will work with you to explain the system’s operation.
How much will a good system cost?
The price of a sprinkler system will vary depending on factors such as property size, type of landscaping and special designs. But you can count on American Lawn Sprinkler to design and recommend the rite system for you at the lowest possible cost. We are familiar with Rain Bird and other and other products and know how to put the rite ones together in a system that will achieve maximum results for you.
How do I adjust the hunter head?
ARC ADJUSTMENTS – Adjustable heads are preset to approximately 180°. Sprinklers may be adjusted with water on or off. It is recommended that initial adjustment be made before installation.
a. Using the palm of your hand, rotate the nozzle turret counterclockwise to the left stop to complete any interrupted rotation cycle (Fig. 1).
b. Rotate the nozzle turret clockwise to the right stop. This is the fixed side of the arc. The nozzle turret must be held in this position for all arc adjustments.
To Increase Arc:
a. Insert the key end of the Hunter wrench into the adjustment socket (Figs. 2 & 3).
b. While holding the nozzle turret at the right stop, turn the wrench clockwise. Each full turn of the wrench increases the arc 90°.
c. Adjust to any arc between 40° and 360°.
d. Wrench will stop turning or there will be a ratcheting noise, when the maximum arc (360°) is reached.
To Decrease Arc:
a. Insert the key end of the Hunter wrench into the adjustment socket (Figs. 2 & 3).
b. While holding the nozzle turret at the right stop, turn the wrench counterclockwise. Each full turn of the wrench decreases the arc 90°.
c. Adjust to any arc between 40° and 360°.
d. Wrench will stop turning, or there will be a ratcheting noise, when the minimum arc (40°) is reached.
Insert the hex end of the Hunter wrench into the nozzle-retainer/range-adjustment screw (Figs. 2 & 3). Turn the screw clockwise (into the stream of water) to decrease the radius, or counterclockwise to increase the radius.
PRECIPITATION RATE ADJUSTMENT
For excessively wet or dry areas, the precipitation rate can be adjusted. Simply replace the existing nozzle with a larger one to increase, or a smaller one to decrease, the rate of precipitation.
Note: It is not necessary to disassemble the sprinkler to make adjustments.
a. Insert the key end of the Hunter wrench into the lifting socket of the sprinkler. Pull the riser up to gain access to the nozzle socket.
b. Using the Hunter wrench, loosen the nozzle-retainer/range-adjustment screw. If a nozzle is already installed in the sprinkler, it can be removed by briefly turning on the water, or by pulling on one of the nozzle “ears” with needle-nose pliers.
c. Slip the desired nozzle into the nozzle socket. Note that the socket is angled up 25°. Also note that the “ears” should be located at the top (Fig. 4).
d. Tighten the nozzle-retainer/range-adjustment screw.
When in the spring is it safe to start my system?
This gets a little tricky. We all get excited when the temperature in March or April hits 70 degrees or more. our attention and our activities turns to the outdoors and eventually the sprinkler system. Sometimes an early application of fertilizer is applied and the logical thing to do is water. My advice to you is to be careful, Michigan weather can turn on you at any time. Even though the pipes underground are safe from a sudden freeze the exposed copper and the back flow device are vulnerable, Systems equipped with a pump are especially vulnerable. If you do start your system and the forecast calls for frost be ready to shut the system off and drain it.
Follow these steps:
a. With the water still turned on, start a zone, any zone will do, with the system running turn the main water supply off, usually this is found in the basement or crawl space.
b. Open and leave open any drains on the system, both inside and outside. some systems only have drains inside others only outside some both. The drain may be a plug or cap that needs to be unscrewed or a valve or a faucet that you open and close by turning.
c. If the system is equipped with a pressure vacuum breaker you will need to open two small bleeder valves that are on the vacuum breaker body.
d. Turn the timer to off
This procedure should allow a percentage of water to drain out leaving the remaining water room to freeze and expand without causing damage. Good Luck!
How do I start my system in the spring?
Step 1. Locate The Vacuum Breaker.
The vacuum breaker is located outside, above grade on the side of the building. The vacuum breaker is equipped with two manual valves, either Ball Valves or Gate Valves (Ball Valves are identified by their flat handle and require only 1/4 turn to fully open or close them Gate Valves have a round handle and require several turns to open and close ) also on the vacuum breaker are two small test cocks installed horizontally on the vacuum breaker body. There may (or may not) be a drain installed on the bottom of The vacuum breaker. If your vacuum breaker is equipped with ball valves you will need to open them fully by turning the lower most valve vertical and the upper valve horizontal (these valves handles must be left on a 45 degree angle during the winter), in the case of Gate Valves check to see that are fully open, (they most likely are already open) Make sure that the drain and the test cocks are closed.
Step 2. Locate Main Water Supply Valve
The main sprinkler water supply valve is generally located in the basement or crawl space near the water meter or the point where the water enters the house. If you cant find it you can start at the vacuum breaker and follow the pipe back. Many valves have a paper tag attached to identify it. Inspect the pipe between the valve and the vacuum breaker for any drains that may have been left open for the winter. Close these drains if necessary. Turn the water on by turning the valve counterclockwise 1/4 turn for a ball valve several turns of the wrist for a gate valve. You should hear a rush of water to start, this rush should slow than stop. It is not uncommon for there to be some rattling of the pipes until they fill completely.
Step 3. Programming Controller
Replace the battery if necessary. Set the controller to the proper time and day, be sure all the zones have at least a few minutes of run time. Start a manual watering cycle, this should start zone one, inspect all the heads for proper operation low pressure may indicate a leak. Never assume everything is OK Just because it was last year, snow plows and shovels may have caused some hidden damage. Repeat for all remaining zones.
I hope this information was of some help to you, If you have some suggestions how we can improve it please let us know, your comments are appreciated.
How do I winterize my system?
Step 1. Locate Main Sprinkler Water Supply Valve.
There are two types of main sprinkler water supply valve, Ball valves identified by a round handle which requires several turns to open and close, and Gate valves identified by a flat handle and require only a quarter turn to open and close. Both valves are usually located in basement or crawl space near the main water supply. Close valve tightly.
Step 2. Locate Vacuum Breaker And Attach Air Line.
The vacuum breaker is located outside, above grade on the side of the building. The vacuum breaker is equipped with two manual valves, either Ball valves or Gate valves. Also on the vacuum breaker are two small test cocks installed horizontally on the vacuum breaker body. Connect the air hose to the lower test cock and open it up.
Step 3. Blowing Out The Zones.
Go to the controller and manually start the system, zone one should now be running. Allow zone one to blow until all the heads blow nothing but air ( if the heads drop the air compressor is to small ). Manually advance and repeat for remaining zones. When the last zone is finished disconnect the air from the vacuum breaker but leave test cock open.
Step 4. Draining The Copper Plumbing.
Open the drain located in the basement or crawl space (sometime the drain is located on the bottom of the vacuum breaker) and allow the water to drain from it. The drain may be a plug, cap, small valve or faucet, If possible this drain should be leg on the water, or by pulling on one of the nozzle “ears” with needle-nose pliers.
c. Slip the desired nozzle into the nozzle socket. Note that the socket is angled up 25°. Also note that the “ears” should be located at the top (Fig. 4). Tighten the nozzle-retainer/range-adjustment screw.