Tuesday, June 30, 2020
That right there is a valve manifold. A few months ago, if you'd mentioned "valve manifold" to me, I'm not sure I would have known what it should conjure in my imagination. But planning, developing, and installing my own irrigation system has taught me quite a few things. (I won't know if I've been a good student until the new connection to the city water system gets established.) That photo above is the finished version of the second manifold I made last Saturday, which took about half the time as the first one I made on Friday.
You see, Friday and Saturday were a couple more picture-perfect summer days: moderate temps, breezes, reasonable humidity, no flies or mosquitoes, pleasant sunshine. I set up my outside yard table, covered it in a plastic sheet, and marked off my valve manifold box so I could start laying out the design of that first manifold.
I began working on this just after noon, with various breaks throughout the afternoon and then stopping for an easy supper of salad.
I made an effort to align things and to bring a measure of precision to the layout but I'm very much a novice. By all appearances, though, it ended up being a pretty workable finished product.
I got that first manifold set in its valve box near the back door and tied in most of the accompanying irrigation lines. I decided I needed to deepen the trench that runs alongside it, up to the back corner of the house, and saved that to finish on Saturday. I stopped working and put my tools away around 9:15 pm Friday night.
The weather Saturday was a duplicate of Friday, and I started on the valve manifold for the front yard zones around noon as well (photo above). I had it completed before 4 pm, although I should add that I only got as far as constructing it...I will not install it in its valve box until after the new irrigation meter and water line are installed by my utilities contractor.
The next step will be pulling the wires to the automatic valves and running them under the house and into the cellar, where I'll have my irrigation controller. This will be a whole 'nother element of my education but I'm getting a kick out of trying to pull all this off.
Speaking of valves: I decided I wanted to have a master drain with a manual valve, and I tied it in to a drain line in the front wall (as part of another project that will be in a future blog post).
To maintain the benefit of gravity and a downward slope for it, the simple ball valve I installed was pretty deep in the ground, so I fashioned an access tube out of some of my 4-inch PVC drain line.
The placement was a bit tricky because this was the same area where I'd routed drain lines from the side of the parking lot.
I actually installed two of these and designed a similar access sleeve for the other one as well.
They both required bushing adaptors in order to close them off with a threaded cap but I don't expect to be using the drain all that often, so I'm glad for it to be a solid seal:
My sister recently pondered: What did we do for home projects before Youtube? I guess we bought books or attended workshops at Lowe's...or just hired people to do it for us. One of my dad's favorite expressions was: If you don't have education, use your common sense. With this project, I've tried to be sensible even though I'm pretty uneducated about this stuff.