Cost of sprinkler system? ? ?

I realize that I'm asking a question that has a thousand variable answers, but I'd like to get some general idea of the cost of an automatic sprinkler system for our front lawn which is about "average" size.
Basically I'd just like to hear what some others might have paid for installing a system.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 11 Aug 2010 16:22:12 -0400, "Ray"

There is no such thing as an "average" size lawn. Price for auto sprinkers is a product of square footage and configuration... a small lawn with many twists, turns, and separate areas can cost a lot more than a large lawn configured in a simple box shape... a lot of cost differential is based on the quality level of controls and sprinkler heads. And then there is the issue of water pressure/volume. Your best route is to get a few estimates... and ask about maintainence/repairs too.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Okay, let's narrow the question a bit -- Let's say it's a 2,500 square foot lawn, 100 by 25 feet, and we want a basic sprinkler configuration.
I'm only trying to get a ballpark figure for the installation (not operation and maintenance) of such a system. I don't want to put anyone to the trouble of giving estimates until we know there's a realistic possibility to install it.
Most of all, I'd just like to hear from anyone who has recently installed sprinklers. How much did it cost?
-- Ray
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I just installed several new heads, some misters, some soakers, and some bubblers. All it cost me was parts. Around $67, IIRC.
Steve
visit my blog at http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks Steve -- I'll explore that possibility.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ray wrote:

If you cannot work out how to measure your lawn or look at house plans or any other means of estimating its size then you have no chance of being able to install this system so knowing the price will not help at all.

Where do you get the idea that idly asking a nonsensical question of strangers a world away is a substitute for thought?
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Are you going to install, or have it done?
Steve
visit my blog at http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you need to ask you can't afford it. Try this: http://tinyurl.com/29uhkcx http://www.discount.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product 569&es
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'll certainly consider doing it myself, hiring our yard man to do the digging.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 12 Aug 2010 12:37:44 -0400, "Ray"

The pros don't dig, they use a machine that cuts a knife slit and simultaneoulsy buries the piping to the proper depth in a way that leaves the soil undisturbed so that the excavation is invisable.... paying someone to dig that kind of trenching by hand will cost more, and create a huge mess that will require many years to heal. Most of the cost is indoors, in the control parts, the electricals and plumbing. No one here can give you an estimate anymore than any honest contractor will give you an estimate over the phone, they need to see your property and discusss options. I'd not suggest DIY, there is much to know about designing a system and in many municipalities auto sprinkler systems require a permit and code inspection. I would also strongly suggest taking the extended warranty and contract for ongoing maintanence... there is lot that goes wrong with these systems, especially vandalism when in front yards.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

With that information, it is much easier to give some answers, but it is difficult to give you accurate answers.
Start with a scale drawing, and lots of places will gather the parts you need from it, and clue you in to any places where you can save, or are doing it wrong.
Test your water pressure, and test to see if it drops when you are using the washer, dishwasher, shower, etc, so that you can time your watering so you don't get scalded when it kicks on.
First of all, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING BUT SCHEDULE 40 PVC. They sell lighter stuff, but it cracks and crushes easily, and is a waste of time and money. Buy the best of everything you can afford without going to the gold plated models.
Timers are another area where the price goes from here to yonder. Good ones last a long time. Get the battery backups.
If you are on agricultural water, you might want to put in a filter so that your little orifices do not clog up repeatedly. $50-$100
If you are going to use drip emitters or low pressure lines, you will have to buy pressure reducers, and those are also all over the map, but you get what you pay for on those, and the good ones last longer, and some even have a changeable/cleanable/disposable filter on them, so you might combine two purchases into one. If you don't put a pressure reducer, you will have more instances of small lines just blowing off when the burst of water hits it on start, and you have a geyser. If you aren't going to have many spouts or emitters, you can get by with the cheapies.
Actuator valves are also priced in stages. The better ones are rebuildable, and just last longer.
Drains are essential. A drain is a one way valve you put at the lowest point so that after a line is through watering, the water flows out so that it will not freeze in the line. If this is in the lawn, dig a hole 1 foot by 3 foot deep, put weed cloth on it, and you have a French drain so the water won't make a soggy spot on your lawn. Simple to install while the lines are in the layout stage.
Heads, again, are all over the map. There are the huge Rainbird Maxipaws, which I like, but only for a very large area, and then you need to be sure you have enough pressure to run them, and be aware that you will hit the limit on how many will run on any line. Heads can be anything from a simple screw top bubbler to gear driven very accurate sprinklers. You get what you pay for, but it's up to you how much overkill you want to do the job when the choice between popups range 2x to 3x the cost on some models. The guy who looks at your layout can probably suggest what's best.
Realize that even good water has sediment in it, and your heads can get clogged up with good water and a filter. This particularly happens when there is a break in the line anywhere, and on the repair, dirt gets in there. It will then be necessary to go to all the heads downstream and take the heads off and blow them off. For some, this will be easy, but for the ones that are under the level of the grass, it is difficult because dirt falls back in about as fast as you get it out. You will always have to go around with a paper clip and pry out chips while the water is running, or remove just the top cap so that dirt can't get back in there. This will be a never ending chore.
Get a pressure tester gauge to help you pressure test, and install a couple of places where you can put it in your line, so you know if your problem is in your supply, or after it reaches your property.
Lastly, Toro, Orbit, Rainbird, and probably a couple of others make quality goods. Some are better than others, though. If you are saving money by DIYing with paid labor, it would be a good investment to buy quality parts from the start.
LASTLY, when you build your manifolds, put TWO unions in them so that if a whole actuator solenoid goes bad, it can be changed without a lot of cutting and gluing. Make your manifolds where they are easy to access, and put them in big boxes so you have room to work on them when you need to. Those little ones are cute, but three years down the line, after it gets full of sand, spiders, roots, and crud, they are a booger bear to work on, and it usually involves digging up the entire box.
Pay attention to your zone and the freeze/thaw temperatures. Make the system so that it can be winterized with a combination of gravity and compressed air. It will make a HUGE difference at start up. Buy pipe insulation, and wrap any pipes that will be subjected to freezing.
It ain't rocket surgery, but there are some things that you need to know ahead of time that will save you time and money from having to do it more than once. Or twice. Or three times.
Make a lot of drawings so you can go back a couple of years from now and know where to dig to fix or scab on to this or that. Take pictures. Lay it out on top of the ground to see if you can economize anywhere. When you make your ditches, go buy a bundle of 2' 1x2's. Lay them crosswise horizontal and perpendicular to the ditch, and use them for supports while gluing to keep everything out of the dirt. It makes it more accurate, as you can look down the row and see if your risers are sticking straight up. LET YOUR GLUE DRY FOR A WHOLE DAY AND KEEP EVERYONE AWAY FROM IT WITH THREATS OF DEATH OR DISMEMBERMENT. Then, just pull the stakes from their horizontal position, and lay the pipe right down in the trench. By then, you should have elbows, tees, risers, heads, etc, all on there, and you shouldn't get much dirt in it.
Don't forget to install a ball 90 here and there so you can shut down the entire system, or just parts of it to do repairs or additions.
Good luck
Steve
visit my blog at http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks again Steve, for a very detailed and very helpful response.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ray wrote:

You do realize that usenet is an international forum, don't you? So you could get prices in dollars, euro, pounds, yen, whatever.
Even within the US, prices can vary dramatically. If you have clear subsoil, you will get one price; if you have rocky subsoil you will get another. If you find someone who is not busy, you may get a deal.
Your best option, I think, would be to find some local contractors and get estimates. The components are cheap; it is the skill and knowledge that costs. When I had my back yard and garden done, so long ago that the price is meaningless today, the installer put in a couple of extra control valves, in case I wanted to add some zones. It was easy and cheap to add the zones (a low pressure system in the flower beds that needed no ditching), so I guess I was lucky with getting a good installer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.