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Thread: HELP! sprinkler system pump and ??????

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member floridasun's Avatar
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    Default HELP! sprinkler system pump and ??????

    Hello all, new here and glad I found you! I purchased a house in my area and the previous owner already ran the underground sprinkler feed lines, 1 pipe, 3 of them, each might be 200 feet long with maybe 6 heads on one and 8 or more heads on the other 2. He never installed a pump, got divorced and sold the place before he could finish the project. Since Im in SW Florida and it hasnt rained here in who knows how long, I figure I better get moving on this. Ive been looking for a deal on a used, but fairly new pump for a while. I picked up a 6 month old Red Jacket hp Quick set, jet pump, 50 RJA and pressure tank for $50. But Im kinda thinking it might be a tad small for what Im gonna need. Im like most, wanna save a buck, but if I have to Ill buy a new one if all else fails. I like trying the DIY way first. Semi retired and I love to tinker. Been remodeling homes for about 20 years now. Did my fair share of plumbing, but no wells. This is an investment property so would like to keep the costs down if I can.
    My water supply will be from the small creek out back. I extended the previous owners line down and into the creek. I took a 18 sq. x3 tall plastic garbage can like container, cut it in half long ways. I dug a trench on the bank of the creek , Lined the bottom with half of a hard plastic liner so the mud doesnt get sucked up. Put in a 3s of small stones laid in the Lowes bought creek suction pipe. (About 2 long of 3 pipe with probably 1000 little slots cut into it. Slid the sock filter over it and then placed more stones ( to in size +/- ) about 4 inches in height over the top of the suction pipe. Then place some landscape fabric (that normally goes under mulch to keep weeds from growing through, but lets water in) over the stones with more stones on top to hold it in place. Thinking that it should filter lots of crap out. Also, the suction line from the filter pipe intake to the pump is 1 with a check valve about 1 before the filter pipe intake, thinking it will hold the pipe full of water when it is not running so the pump does not run dry on startup. Now, the length of the 1 suction line is around 25 to 30 feet with an elevation change of 8 to 10 maybe.
    The pump was used for drinking water from a shallow well I was told.
    Questions I have and I know its hard since your not there but lets see where we can get. I can supply pictures if needed and more details like actual # of heads, real distances, etc Just havent measured and counted yet.
    Is the pump to small to suck that distance?
    Did I make it to hard to suck a good volume of water through all of that filtering mess?
    Which connections on the pump housing do I use? Illustration link below:
    http://www.redjacketwaterproducts.com/pdf/BRJCQUICK.pdf
    So, can we do this or should I sit back and wait for RAIN?
    Thanks in advance,TJ



  2. #2
    DIY Junior Member floridasun's Avatar
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    I haven't hooked up the feed lines yet, just capped off the supply line from the pump. I have primed the pump by putting a valve above it,(red handle, loose cap shown on it to keep out the bugs and crap when not in use.) I wanted to see if I got any sort of pressure out of the hose valve before hooking up the 1" feed lines. When I tried to start it after filling the suction lines it actual started to suck and show pressure on the gauge. I opened up the hose and it slowly stopped working. I'm thinking the pump is WAY to small.??? Is that what the charts on the Red Jacket web page is saying? 25' max suction, poor performance? Thanks again, TJ
    Last edited by floridasun; 03-13-2009 at 10:24 AM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member floridasun's Avatar
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    Default I went over & measures...

    The actual length of the suction pipe is right around 43'. Holy poop, didn't seem that long! Guess I answered my own question. I'm seeing 2 options here, move the pump within 10 to 15 feet of the creek, or find some big hp pump. What do you think?

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    DIY Junior Member floridasun's Avatar
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    Default more pic's

    1 1/2" suction line down to check valve and filter pipe.

    close up of stones. pipe goes into stones then 90's down and then 90's out to filter pipe. top of that unit should be about 4 or 5"s under water level.

    front view:


    3/4" valve, red handle to the right-top, is a fill, to prime pump if needed.

    side view:

    1" line capped aiming down was to be the feed line to sprinkler manifold pipe with solenoids to zones.
    Last edited by floridasun; 03-13-2009 at 01:53 PM.

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    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    The 25' max suction lift is vertical lift so no worries there. I don't know about the whole sock thing but as long as there are no suction leaks in the line, your pump should prime no problem. I'm afraid the sock might restrict too much water. Maybe you can call Wal Mart in regards to sock flowrates. Anyway, Your pump at 10' of suction lift should give you close to 10 GPM at 40 psi and around 14 GPM at 30. I'm going off of Goulds flow rates and i don't believe they are too far off. When you prime your pump and you get to the point where the gauge starts to come up, open up the spigot with a garden hose on it slowly until you have full flow coming out, and the pressure is steady. If the gauge drops while opening, close it just enough where you see the pressure rise, and then slowly open it again. You need to allow all the air out of the line for the system to fully prime. It takes patience. Give it another shot.

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I think you should undo the gravel and membrane and sock and see how much water you get then. Also, instead of that check valve, you should use a foot valve on the end of the pipe They have a 'filter' screen on them with about 1/8" holes in it. The way it is now, when the water level goes down, water can run out of the line from the end up to the check valve and that can cause a loss of prime.
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    DIY Junior Member floridasun's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responce, I'll try those today. I found a 1.5 up pump for sale that I was going to go look at today. Do you think my .5 hp will do the trick?

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    I have lake strainers that sell for under $60.00. You could have saved all that money and used one of those. I know this is an adventure.

    A 1/2hp jet pump, no matter who makes it isn't going to run six 2.5 gpm sprinklers very well. It will be maxed out and probably only throw water about half as far as you would like them to. A one horse on the other hand would handle the job very nicely with room to spare.

    The fewest number of fittings in a suction line the better. I see a union which I would get rid of and a galvanized nipple. That isn't a bad idea for a heat sink in case of loss of prime etc, but I would use it straight out of the pump into a galvanized elbow sitting over the suction line. You can use a close nipple at the pump and a bushing to get from 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" then a 1-1/2 coupling.

    The check valve is plastic also. They don't work well or last very long. A good brass valve would be far better.

    bob...

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    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    The 1/2 H.P. should do the trick as long as you can get the system primed. Your problem is not the the H.P. of the pump. I also agree with installing the foot valve. I don't like the idea of that plastic union on the suction side of that pump. I would go with all brass or galvanized fittings off a PVC male adapter. Threading steel or brass fittings into a pvc female adapter can cause the fitting to crack. Use both teflon tape and pipe dope on the joints. Get rid of the sock, it will only restrict water.

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com

  10. #10
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Speedbump, we were posting at the same time. I didn't see where he said the heads were putting out 2.5 GPM each.

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com

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    Yup we were. I just used the 2.5 gpm as a normal amount. A lot of the big gox store heads are atandard 2.5 gpm or thereabouts. I have never once in all the time I have been posting on forums had anyone tell me how many gallons their sprinkler system required. It's a number that never enters the head of the DIY'er. They put in the suction pipe (usually 1" or smaller) bury a bunch of too small pipe for too many heads, buy the pump (wrong one, usually a self primer) put a pressure switch on it (that shouldn't be there) then add a too small tank then ask questions. I'm not bad mouthing floridasun, I'm just saying this is the norm. He is doing all rite so far conservatively speaking. I just don't think he will like that pump if the heads are the size I think they might be. They on the other hand could be all shrub heads and that would be a lot of pump in that case.

    I'm not sure about the sock filter either, but who knows, I've seen stranger looking contraptions actually work better than the store bought ones.

    bob...

  12. #12
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Yeah supply and demand is pretty important when sizing systems and your right, most DIY's don't post the demand on their sprinkler heads. I have had some customers wells slow down in production and suggested the irrigation guys switch out the nozzles for lower flow rates to match well production. To make up for the decrease in flow by switching out the nozzles, they set the zones to run longer so the lawn gets the same amount of water.

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member floridasun's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks for the info, keep it coming. I clearly am flying by the seat of my pants here. Relying on you guys for the right direction. I redid the PVC piping and moved the prime valve to a T at the top instead of halfway down the pipe coming out of the pump. I couldn't get the pump to prime due to air trapped in the top horizontal pipe and sediment filter. This did the trick so far. I'll post a pic of the change. Once I got the pump to prime and power up the sprinklers 8 on one line and 5 on the other. The 5 work good with the presure but the 8 go about half the distance mentioned on the label. Pressure was low on the pump, 30 psi. Getting myheads at lowes, since it's right down the road. I'll be re-reading your advice and trying all that I can. Going back now to review. Thanks, tj

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    DIY Junior Member floridasun's Avatar
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    What's a foot valve? Where's it go? And where can I get one? I did notice that when the power went out, pump stopped, power came on, the pump lost it's prime. Check valve not working??????

  15. #15
    Previous member sammyhydro11's Avatar
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    Get yourself a foot valve and install it where the sock is.The foot valve acts as a check valve and has a small screen on it that keeps large material out of the line. I recommend getting one at a plumbing supplier.The pump should keep its prime. Let the system come up to full pressure and shut down, then check all the fittings. If any of them are leaking you will see water dripping. Check your sprinkler heads once you get water going. The sock might have been restricting the water coming into the suction line. If you still don't have proper flow, you could either change out the nozzles or change out the pump.

    sammy

    www.tylerwellandpump.com

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