Of all the tasks that one must perform when installing an in-ground sprinkler system, the digging, laying and connecting required for the sprinkler pipe usually takes the most time and effort. The good thing is that installing the pipes is something you can easily do on your own as long as you have the right tools and understand the key steps to follow. Understanding how to connect the pipes is important not only during the initial installation, but is a skill you will need when a broken section of the sprinkler pipe requires replacement. The connecting process will depend on whether it is a polyethylene pipe or a PVC pipe.
Step 1 – Determine the Sprinkler Pipe Paths
On a sketchbook, map out the sprinkler paths across your lawn. What is key here is to see where the pipes will need to curve around an object or at a corner. This is important when it comes to PVC pipe installation because it will mark the sections you will need to cut and join the pipes. Polyethylene pipes have the advantage of flexibility and require fewer joints than PVC pipes.
Step 2 – Cut and Clean the Pipes
Using a pipe cutter or a hacksaw, measure the pipe length then cut as appropriate based on findings in step 1. A hacksaw is bound to leave rough ends on the cut edge and interfere with joint strength. Use a file to smoothen the cut area. Wash both the outside and inside of the cut section as well as the joining piece using a solvent primer. Even small grains of dirt can compromise the final strength and lifespan of the joint.
Step 3 – Joining the Pieces
When joining PVC pipes, apply the PVC adhesive to the outside of the pipe and the inside of the joint. Plug the pipe into the joint and turn it round so that the adhesive is spread evenly and all round within the joint. Note that the adhesive holds fast in about thirty seconds, so this step must be performed quickly. In case you do notice something that might affect the strength of the joint, pull the two pieces apart immediately, clean them with the solvent primer, and start the process again.
For polyethylene pipes, the joining process is not as elaborate. Take the ends of the polyethylene pipes and insert them into the joining piece. Apply pressure on the joints using the clamps to push into both ends into position and holding them fast.
There you have it: a complete sprinkler pipe joint. An important thing to note is not to have too many joints within your underground sprinkler pipe system. Adhering to the laid down instruction for joining the pipes should provide a considerable level of assurance. However, the more joints you have the higher the chances of leaks over time.