Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to Repair Irrigation Sprinkler Main Leakage

Main irrigation PVC 
pipe leakage
By Gary Boutin

Supplies and Tools: 
Gas/water shutoff (water turn off)
Hacksaw (cutting pipes)
Plane 
PVC water pipe 3/4-inch
PVC elbow 3/4-inch
PVC threaded female union 3/4-inch
PVC t-union3/4-inch
PVC union3/4-inch
PVC glue3/4-inch
Sandpaper
Water bucket
Waterproof tarp

George Nu responded to my ad in the local newspaper about doing some sprinkler repair work. He said the pipe between the sprinkler valve and the hose bib was leaking. Not an easy job, but worth doing it to save leaking water.

This post shows the fourteen steps to repair the problem.


 Step 1: Fig.1 shows the area was soaked with water and mud so this job would be challenging. The pipe that has the water hose and bib leads down to a 3/4 inch PVC pipe. Placing a waterproof tarp around the irrigation valves and using a combination pick/shovel,  a hole was dug into the soil so the PVC pipe between the irrigation valve and the main water valve could be accessed.
Fig.1 Irrigation and water 
bib area soaked from leak
Step 2: Fig.2 shows the water valve was turned off using a water shutoff tool.
Fig.2 Street water turn off
Step 3: Fig.3 shows the pipe, the middle section was leaking from the right side and from the 90 degree union leading to the irrigation main. The plan was to remove the damaged PVC parts and replace them with new parts. Why new parts, can't you just seal the leak?
Fig.3 Pipe leaks at union
Not in PVC pipes, the water pressure is so great that a leak will continue and the only solution is to completely remove the PVC pipes and replace them with new fittings. Lucky for Mr. Nu the parts are inexpensive. Under a dollar for each part, the glue may cost $5 and only a little is needed. Purchase the smallest can that the hardware store has available. The 10-foot pipe may cost about a dollar a foot, sometimes some hardware stores sell shorter pieces for about $3. So the entire job will cost less than $20 in parts. 
Step 4: Once the problem is isolated, the first step is to clean up all the pipes in the leak area. Use water from a water bucket and clean off the dirt from the pipes. 
Step 5: Fig.4 shows the first pipe to be unscrewed from the copper pipe. The pipe is between the hose bib and the water main T-union.
Fig.4 Removing hose bib
Step 6: In Fig.5 and fig.6 shows using a hacksaw cut the bottom of the T-union and the right side to free the pipe for removal, then the last pipe is cut at the 90 degree union.
Fig.5 Using hacksaw to 
replace the union
Fig.6 Cut other side
Step 7: Notice the right side of the fig.7 a new 90 degree union has been installed.
Fig.7 Pipe cut off
Step 8: Notice the right side of the pictures of fig.8 the pipes have been removed, were the ball valve is located (top of picture) a 3/4-inch threaded female union needs to be replaced.
Fig.8 Water main 
turned off
Step 9: Fig.9 shows the 3/4-inch PVC pipe has been cut, sanded and inserted into the 90 degree elbow.
Fig.9 Gluing T pipe fitting
Step 10: The T-union is being prepared for insertion into the middle pipe. The blue PVC glue will bind both the upper pipe and the middle pipe together. 
Step 11: Fig.10 show that the PVC pipe is being prepared for insertion into the T-union.
Fig.10 Gluing the pipe pieces
Step 12: Fig.11 shows that the 3/4-inch threaded female union PVC pipe has been inserted into the T-union. It sounds difficult, but the pipes that were cut are just being replaced, one part at a time. Each new union needs to have the inside sanded, and painted with glue before insertion to the PVC piping. 
Step 13: Fig.11 also shows the final assembly before turning on the water.
Fig.11 Re-attach water bib
Step 14: Fig.12 shows the last check is to see if the pipes leak, the water was turned on a less than a quarter turn just to see if the pipes leaked. The pipes held and the customer stated he would not put any pressure on the new work to let the glue seal the pipes. The work is finished. Now George Nu can water his front yard again and not have a huge puddle of water leaking from the irrigation main.
Fig.12 Irrigation 
water hose bib repaired
 


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