I discovered a leaking 1-inch PVC sprinkler valve in my outdoor box.
The box was built with an 8 way cross manifold where my system has the primary inlet and 5 zones of the possible 7 being used. The valves are glued to a short piece of pipe and then glued to the manifold.
The conventional method of repairing this leak is to replace the manifold. The installer built the manifold with short pieces of pipe to every alternate leg so that the valves wouldn’t bump into each other. The inlet to the manifold has a glued 1-inch ball valve installed. Two of the zone valves have lengths of pipe long enough that I can cut them off such that I can install couplings on the pipe and reuse the valves. The other three valves must be scrapped and replaced.
The job entails replacing the manifold, the ball valve, three of the zone valves, two caps, and three couplings. In all, it requires 18 glue joints to rebuild my system. My sprinkler installer says that the job will take him about 2.5 hours including wiring and testing, provided that he has all of the fittings and parts on his truck. If not, he must go back to his shop or supply house, costing another hour. Total down time is half day after arrival. Total cost to the installer in fittings and parts is $39; $85 is my cost. Labor, including drive time is four hours at $95 per hour, which is $465 plus tax for a total of $495.
The latest technology for glued pipe system repairs is ungluing and reusing fittings, replacing only the pipe that is broken. This requires a Pipe Debonder tool that is commercially available. Ungluing the one joint from the manifold to the leaking sprinkler valve requires these steps:
Disconnect the wiring to the leaking valve.
Remove the soil two inches below the manifold at the leaking valve.
Cut the pipe to the leaking valve ¼ inch from the manifold and remove the valve.
Insert the Pipe Debonder into the manifold and run the 1-inch schedule 40 cycle (which takes two and a half minutes).
Remove the piece of glued pipe from the manifold.
Glue in a new piece of 1-inch pipe to the manifold.
Glue in a new zone valve to the pipe.
Connect the zone pipe to the valve.
Connect the wiring to the valve.
Total time for repair is 20 minutes. Fitting cost to installer is $12; $23 for me. Labor cost is one hour plus one hour of driving time for two hours at $95. Add parts and tax for a total of $227.
My savings is almost $200 and repair time is less than a half hour versus 2.5 hours for a conventional repair.
I want my sprinkler installer / repair contractor to have ungluing technology. Do you?