Sprinkler Heads

I redid a new sprinkler line around the house this summer, and tested it initially when it was completed for leaks and adjusted all the heads and directions etc...since it rains a lot during the summer in Miami, I did not use the system for a few months until yesterday.
When I turned it on yesterday, some of the heads did not pop up, or when they do pop up the flow coming out of them are very low. Instead of spraying, it was more like a squirting.
I used three types of heads in the two lines I have, in the larger areas of the lawn I used Rainbird 12SA Mini Rotor Sprinklers; around shrubs and odd shaped areas I used Toro 570 2" pop-up body fitted with variety of spray heads, and in the other areas I used the Orbit Hard Top spray heads. The ones that are having trouble are all Orbit Hard Top ones.
I bought that one because the top of metal and can stand abuse from lawn mowers and weed eaters, and it has adjustable sweeps at a very reasonable price.
In some cases, it was the lawn growing with denser grasses covering the heads over the last few months, as well as lawn mower cutting the grass and lots of grass clipping end up jamming the heads a bit. If I move the grass out of the way and jiggle the heads a bit, they will pop out but the flow is still very low, when I tested them after initial installation they were spraying fine.
I am wondering if it is because this is a subpar sprinkler head with poor design? Other heads I have the Rainbird rotors and the Toto spray heads or shrub heads do not exhibit any problems.
Thanks,
MC
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It sounds strongly like you are losing water somewhere, as your system lacks enough pressure to pop up the heads. Or, the valve on that circuit may be defective. Check to see if it has a manual knob that allows you to open the valve manually, without the need for the electrical valve to work.
If you leave the circuit on long enough, you should be able to see a concentrated flooded spot somewhere.
James
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Would losing water cause only this brand of heads to not pop up fully while other brands of head (even further downstream ones) pop up and spray freely and nicely? for example one of them I had three rotors, 3 spray heads of other brands, 1 shrub head, and 1 misting head all working great, all downstream of it. The 3 out of 4 Orbit Hardtop spray heads are exhibiting problems in this particular branch.
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Having different heads on the same zone typically does create an *imbalance* problem such as you describe. Water is going to seek the path of least resistance so will flow from the least restrictive heads first. Each head should have a method for adjusting rate of flow, usually a small screw that acts as an on/off valve. You need to close the valves on those heads that are flowing and see if water then flows from those heads that were not flowing. Then go about attempting to adjust all the heads in hopes of creating a balance. But to be truthful there should only be one type of head for each zone... it seems like you tried to save labor and money by cutting down on the number of zones by mixing types of heads in a single zone... that is not going to work, and because water pressure changes constantly, and drops significantly during periods of high usage, it will be especially difficult to balance different types of heads in one zone. I doubt you have an underground leak or you'd have found it by now. There could also be a problem of having too many heads on one zone... and there can be other problems such as equipment failure, sand in the system will inhibit pop-ups.
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wrote:

Thanks,
I don't think it is any leak either as these lines are newly laid.
As far as mixing different types of heads, I only divided them into two zones serving the west and east side of the yard which is divided by the house. On one side the line goes through lawn areas, shrubs, flower beds and eventually ended up on the planter areas by the front doors. Each type requires a different spray head. The larger lawn areas I used rotors, small grassy patches I used the spray heads (the ones I am having problems with now), the shrubs I raised them 24" using a riser extender then a spray head (a different kind because those fit into the risers), and when it gets to the planter areas I raised them to 60" and used tw misting heads for the hanging orchids. They were all working fine back in the summer when I put them together. I did have to adjust spray strengths, direction, sweeps etc...to get them all right, and I used it for a month with the expected results. Then we had the rainy season and we didn't need to water anything for the last two months.
The water comes from a well that serves only the sprinkler lines and I have a pump so pressure should be pretty constant.
If I need to run a dedicated line for each type of head, does it mean I need to run a 150' line back to the pump just to spray the orchids to make them a special zone?
Something has happened in the last two months to make them not work like it used to. It could be the rain or debris got into the head from lawn cutting or something, and seems these heads are less tolerant of it then other heads, is my thinking.
I will plug two heads and see if the other two do better, or replace with a new head or a different brand and see if there is any difference.
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On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 12:12:32 -0500, "MiamiCuse"

Before replacing anything it's probably best to first clean the entire system, unscrew the heads and blast compressed air through all the piping to clean out debris. Then inspect each head individually for debris and back blow with a compressed air gun to remove any debris. Once everything is cleaned screw all the heads back and start it up. If you're using a private dedicated well I strongly suggest you add a quality sediment filter. And still I would clean the entire system at start up each time it's shut down for a lengthy period... I would also run the well for an hour or two after it's been unused for a while to purge the well of debris, run this water out from a point before the sprinkler system or you will be putting debris back into your heads. What you describe is typical with sprinkler systems on private shallow wells that are only used occasonally. Your heads can also become clogged with mineral deposits same as bathroom shower heads, there are solutions that will dissolve these deposits with a few minutes soak. Automatic sprinkler systems do require a certain amount of maintenence, in some areas with very hard water this maintenence can be significant.
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On 11/13/2009 9:48 PM, MiamiCuse wrote:

I assume you used anti-siphon valves on your sprinkler lines. These are generally required by the plumbing codes.
Anti-siphon valves can be a path by which insects and spiders enter the lines. When you turn on the system, the bugs are driven into the sprinkler heads and clog them. It then becomes necessary to remove the heads, disassemble them, and clean them.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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