A few days ago, while attempting to dig out the cover over our six valves I broke the solenoid right off the first valve. It broke in such a way that replacing the solenoid was not possible. I had found a solar powered “stand-alone” valve that would allow me to add a seventh valve without upgrading our smart timer. I’d just dig around our valves and extend a line for the new solar valve. Simple! But no, I broke valve #1.
The manifold and valve setup is over a decade old. Just a few weeks ago I had our gardener service a malfunctioning valve. So now with a broken valve what do I do?
Replace all the valves! Yup, change them all out with brand new Irritrol valves. None of this Home Depot stuff. I went to a local irrigation supply company and got “the good stuff”. BONUS: they had all the PVC fittings in stock and well organized.
Pulling out the old system was easy. I made it a point to record which colored wire went to position #1, #1, and so on. I made it a point to cut the outlet PVC as close to the old valves as possible. The more pipe is available for re-attachment, the easier things will be. Removing, building, and replacing the current 1” PVC manifold was no problem. It was fun gluing and pressing the parts together. Fitting the valves to the manifold was easy too. The only issue was the “seat of the pants” eyeballing and re-measuring required to fit the valves to the old outlet pipes. With copious swearing, lots of digging to open up pipe. cleaning mud off the pipes, getting blue dot glue everywhere, and a few unfortunate errors (like putting glue on the outside of a fitting not the inside, which happens when you’re dealing with 60ish PVC parts), the new irrigation valve manifold came together the second day.
Testing the system went smoothly No leaks, all the valves worked, and they were assigned correctly. Great, no need to reprogram the “smart controller”. Glancing down at the manifold, I noticed that one outlet connection had popped out. Painters call this a “holiday”. Somehow I had forgotten to glue down one connection. After letting the lines dry out, the fix was easy.
In addition to the six “old” lines, I extended the manifold outside the cover box and added two screw in lines. One had the solar valve attached. The other is capped for future needs. The solar valve tested out perfectly. This will be the dedicated citrus tree line for our new lime, tangerine, and tangelo trees. Our “strawberry line” goes off for three minutes every day to keep our strawberries happy. Trees on a three minute line would not be happy, hence the need for another.
This afternoon we finished adding drip lines for a number of tomato plants and a Japanese eggplant and put down mulch over the hoses and tubes. Our back yard is looking good. Today I noticed a few honey bees circling the lime tree. This is good news.
Seven plants that still need planting: a Kaffir Lime, two fragrant yellow Brugmansia, two Gardenia, and two camellia. Tomorrow will be busy.
<sorry no photos at this time. I’ll add some tomorrow on a new blog entry>