I finally came to the realization last week that my garden needed a sprinkler pump. I wondered whether it would be a good idea to give the installation process a go myself instead of seeking professional help.
Turns out, as well as the right equipment and a good knowledge of the procedures, the job does require some patience. Provided one has these; it looks a viable option.
Steps to be taken include
- Finding out pressure and flow requirements to choose a pump
- Knowing the electrical connection requirements
- Locating the pump
- Connecting the pump with the system
- Setting up the relay controller
- Starting it up and seeing if it works
Before you get into the steps of installing the pump, you need some primary knowledge.
What You Need to Know Before Installing a Sprinkler Pump
If you want to replace a pump or installing a new one by yourself, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the things to know about.
- Sprinkler system
- Pump type
- Priming pump
- Pump size
- Sprinkler heads
- Pressure switch
Sprinkler systems are categorized by factors such as spray patterns and portability. Classification based on the former gives us the perforated pipe system and rotating head sprinkler system. These can be portable, semi-portable, solid-set, permanent, semi-permanent, etc.
Irrigation pumps can be of various kinds, the most common ones for domestic use being the centrifugal pumps, which use suction force from a rotating impeller to move water. These pumps are primed for operating.
There are submersible pumps that usually push water up from wells. Though not very versatile, they operate quietly. Propeller pumps are small machines that are used to move water in large volumes at low heads. For fluctuating water levels, Jet pumps are great.
Proper sizing is useful in reducing energy consumption. Manufacturers usually provide a performance chart called the “pump curve.” Reading the curve is a good way to determine the right pump size.
Priming is done to remove air for pressure. For this, you take the priming plug out and pour water into the case through a funnel or a hose until the case is full; different models can require different approaches. A self-priming pump is more convenient.
For different zones, you can use different kinds of sprinkler heads. Bubblers or tiny spray heads are good for garden areas with vegetation as they require gentle watering.
For lawns, you will want even spraying over grass. So, the heads should be able to cover large grass patches with consistent spray but not hit sidewalks. High-rise heads are good for a zone with shrubs and bushes.
A pressure switch is integrated to act according to water pressure. The low water pressure causes the pressure switch to turn the pump on, and high pressure has the opposite effect. A bad switch can make it difficult to start your pump.
How to install a sprinkler pump
Below, we try to give you an idea about how you can set up your new pump.
1. Gather All the Tools
Make sure you have a pump relay controller kit, electrical wires, plumber’s tape, water pressure gauge for the sprinkler systems installation. Secondary requirements include having an electrical wire and power outlet.
2. Calculate the Pressure and Flow Required
An approximation of flow and pressure requirements your pump will need is essential. You have to add the flow requirements listed for the irrigation system’s sprinkler head to calculate the flow in the GPH unit.
Now you need a pressure gauge. Connect it with the pipe or faucet, which you will attach to your pump, and find out the pressure in the PSI unit.
3. Get the Right Pump
Take some time to get the right type of pump. Only consider pumps that are compatible with the water pressure and flow. Among those, choose a good-quality pump that fits your budget. You can have a look at our take on the best sprinkler pumps to get a better idea.
4. Know Electrical Connection Requirements
Notice the connection requirements to power the pump. Make sure you have an outlet compatible with operation and designed for use outdoors; if you do not, install one.
5. Find an Appropriate Placement for the Pump
Placing the pump is important for efficiency; follow the instruction manual for that. The general recommendation is to position the pump quite close to the water source.
Do not put the pump in a place where it could be subjected to high temperature, rain, or freezing. It should be located in a dry area with ventilation.
Use the performance table to find out what the depth-to-water should be as well as the pressure required. Otherwise, the system may get less water than the pump can supply. Sprinkler pumps are usually not designed to pump water from a source more than 25 feet beneath them.
6. Connect the Sprinkler Pump to The Irrigation System
Now connect the pump to the system cautiously so that the system is connected to the outlet, and the water supply from your house is connected to the inlet valve.
Before you connect the pump, the threads on the connectors should be wrapped with the plumber’s tape. That way, leakages can be prevented.
7. Set Up the Relay Controller
Get the relay controller kit and choose a place that does not get direct sunlight; place the controller there.
Check the instructions to link the controller to the pump. Next, the relay, as well as the pump, has to be connected to your home electricity system.
8. Turn on The Flow to The System
Finally, it’s time to turn on the water flow and test the irrigation system. Turn on the pump and the relay controller on too so that water is pumped through the irrigation system.
- During troubleshooting, the circuit breaker of the pump should remain turned off.
- If you suspect that the pump is sucking air, check for leaks in the suction pipe joints or other fittings. Use plastic wrapping for temporary sealing when leakage is present.
- Low voltage, impeller or diffuser wear, restrictions in the pipes, etc. can cause improper water flow.
- If you are not getting sufficient spraying, the cause may be debris in the heads of the sprinkler that you can clean as instructed in the sprinkler head manual.
Even if you give your all to maintaining a sprinkler pump, it’ll start displaying signs of wear and tear after 5 years. Not necessary that it stops working, but the performance will surely go down. You can extend the lifespan of your pump if you install it with great care and precision.
That’s why We’ve tried to cover everything that’s essential to sprinkler installation and if you have no idea how much it would cost to install it you can read our guide here. Hopefully, this article will help you get a no-hassle watering schedule for your lawn.