Lawn Sprinkler System?

I am considering installing a lawn sprinkler system, but haven't really seen the type of system I am looking for.
We have a fairly large yard, though it is mostly lots of little small areas and not a big consistant open area.
We are also on a well, and typically can't run more than one sprinkler at a time (the kind you connect to a garden hose) without drawing down the well and kicking off the pump (our well was rated for 5gpm and handles normal water usage with no issues).
Typical "zone" systems wouldn't work real well, as we would have too many zones, and combining zones would use too much water at once.
So, I was hoping to find a system that could operate from a single water line, with individually controlled sprinkler heads that tie into that line. Basically, one water pipe, and one control cable (one wire power, one wire ground, one wire control signals). Sort of like an X10 control system, where each sprinkler head is a module that responds to a "code" to turn that head on or off.
While this would obviously increase the cost of the sprinkler heads, it would do away with separate valves, and potentially eliminate hundreds of feet of pipe and wires.
Even better if the sprinkler heads could respond to X10 or Insteon controls so I could manage it from my home automation system.
Does anything like this exist?
Thanks,
Anthony
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I'd re-think the whole idea. Why do you feel it is necessary to have green grass on the hottest days of the summer? Why tax the well any more than you have to? Depending on where you live and where your water is coming from, you can overtax a well and run it dry or reduce the quality of the water or suck up sand. I'd check out that aspect before worrying about the grass. Green lawn is not a higher priority that washing dishes and flushing toilets.
There is an abundance of water on the earth, but it is not always where we want it.
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Better yet, the OP could collect all the grey water in the 55 gallon drums another poster mentioned and use that to water his grass.
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wrote:

I agree with Ed, if your well is that marginal, why would you want to pump your drinking water out on the lawn?
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On 9/1/2011 11:05 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Agree, some of the most attractive landscaping is where they used locally occurring plants and features such as rock and stone. I always wondered why having a golf course lawn became a "normal" idea.
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On 9/2/2011 9:38 AM, George wrote:

Preaching to the choir, here. Usually by early July, my lawn is nice and dormant, and I may have to buzz the high spots every couple of weeks. But this summer, Mother Nature decided she wanted springtime bright green, and we have had plenty of water and heat and sunshine- the damn grass thinks it is still May, and is still growing like crazy. It has finally slowed down a tad in last week, but I was cutting every six days. No Mas- I'm tired of yardwork for the year already. But I can already see hints of leaves changing, so in 3-4 weeks, that will be added to the mix.
--
aem sends...

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88.198.244.100:

Don't know what kind of sprinkler that is, but I tend to doubt that the typical sprinkler on the end of a hose is pulling 5GPM+. I'd start by finding out exactly what the well can supply by accurately measuring it.

While his well is marginal for running a sprinkler system you sure don't need an underground river either. Lots of home sprinkler systems are run off of typical wells. Have one here that is 50 ft deep and delivers 15GPM, nothing special.

Agree. It does take more water than most people would think. A good place to start would be to calculate how much water is required to cover the intended area with 1/2" of water, which is a reasonable amount to put down for a watering.. If he uses 1 GPM heads, three or 4 at a time, that would be 3 or 4 GPM. Then he can calculate how long it will take to water the lawn and figure out if it's feasible. With a typical controller you get 12 zones, which could then run 36 heads. Controllers that do more zones are available. I don't know of any systems that use the single wire approach and would think it would be cost prohibitive as well as problematic.
I would also consult with a well expert in the area about pushing a low flow well near it's limit. Might be fine, but I'd want to know any potential issues first. And if you do go ahead with it, I'd probably put one of the pump protection devices on that detects the pump running out of water and cuts it off, preventing the pump from burning out.

Submersibles will run 24/7. Don't know about others or what type he has.
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On Thu, 1 Sep 2011 22:12:46 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"
in

He's talking about feeding an irrigation system.

An inch of water over 1/4 acre is 6800 gallons.

3400 gallons. A 1/2" really isn't enough. An inch a week is a minimum for grass.

3400 gallons would take 11 hours at 4GPM.

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I can run one sprinkler all day long if I want to. That's not a problem. But if the sprinkler has been running a while and we use more water at the same time (another sprinkler, wash the car, etc.), it can lower the water pressure enough that the pump switch kicks off.

Yes, that is the type of pump controller we have. Basically, if the pressure drops below a certain level the pump kicks off and I have to manually go turn it back on in the pump house.

More than likely, I would only install sprinklers for a few areas right around the house. So, the total water load should be reduced dramatically, and if I timed it to run when we normally don't use water it shouldn't over power the well. Especially, if I spaced the timing so the well had time to recover. Maybe one zone each day or something.

I'm just looking into it at this point. I suspect the distances to the power and water sources would be more trouble than it's worth for a few zones around the house.
Odds are I won't have the time or money to do it anyway, but thought I would investigate the options in case I decide to go through with it.
Thanks for the feedback!
Anthony
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HerHusband wrote:

Off? What am I missing...when pressure drops the pump should turn on and run until the upper limit pressure is reached THEN turn off. Your's doesn't?
Re your irrigating it is normal to have enough heads dispensing enough water that the well pump runs continuously; better for the pump than cyclying on/off repeatedly. Note: I haven't been following this thread so apologies and disregard if comments not appropriate.
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AGree. I think he's confused on what is turning the pump off. The protection systems I'm familiar with on submersibles work by looking at the current flowing to the pump. When it runs out of water the current drops, the controller detects that and cuts off the pump to prevent it from burning up.

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Our system is much simpler, and I thought quite common. It's just a standard pump switch with a low pressure cutoff. (similar low pressure cutoff switches are sold on Amazon and other places. Mine is a SquareD brand.)
Basically, the pump runs until the pressure reaches the set maximum (I think it's 60psi, IIRC). Then the pump shuts off and you use water from the pressure tank.
As you draw down the water in the tank, the pressure will slowly drop until it reaches the cut-in point (40psi, I think). Then the pump will turn on to refill the tank (and supply water if you're still using it).
However, if we use water faster than the pump can replenish it, the pressure will continue to drop below that cut-in point. When it reaches the low pressure limit (20psi, I think), it shuts down the pump.
It's a simple system that works well.
In normal use we never trip the low pressure cutout. It's only when I have run a sprinkler for some time and try to use other water at the same time (i.e. I forget to turn off the sprinkler before my wife does laundry).
In any case, I am probably not going to install the sprinkler system. At the present time, I think it would be more trouble than it's worth.
Thanks,
Anthony
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wrote:
<snip>

I understand the logic behind all of this, but doesn't the low pressure limit then cause a latch-up condition? How do you get out of it? Furnaces have similar (opposite) thresholds, but in that case the system resets by convection cooling to below the safety threshold. In this case I see no way to get above the 20psi threshold once it's tripped. ...or even to start the ball rolling to begin with. ;-)
<...>
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There is a lever on the switch that lets you run the pump manually.
If the low pressure switch is tripped, you have to hold the switch on 30 seconds or so until the pressure builds up above the low cutoff point. It's not a big deal, but it's annoying to have to run up to the pump house if it trips.
Thankfully, it is not something that occurs in normal use.
Anthony
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wrote:

I see. Yes, that would be a PITA. The power entrance panel in our last house was in a closet, outside on the front porch. It was rather a PITA to have to go outside, after a shower, in the Vermont Winter, to reset the GFCI. Fortunately, that didn't happen often, either.
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Nope. But you should be able to run several heads at once. I think they mostly range around the 1 to 2 gpm. Get a controller that does 8 zones. I'd try to spead out the start times as much as possible to minimize the load on your well. Run a few zones per day. Run at night to cut down on evaporation. If you have sandy soil use more frequent shorter runs.
Another option would be to "bank" some water. Thos big square framed plastic tanks are often on our cl for %40 to $75. They hold somethign aorund 300 gallons.
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On 9/1/2011 8:48 PM, HerHusband wrote:

Fairly large? Acres? Lots of trees? If you have several trees, it may be impossible to install a decent system, either because the roots cover the yard and don't allow trenches or because trees block water coverage.
At any rate, the mfg. of irrig. products offer free design services. I've not used them, but it's certainly a good resource.
http://www.rainbird.com/homeowner/design/index.htm
http://www.orbitonline.com/sprinkler-system-designer /
http://www.torodesign.com /
This site can answer every question imaginable about irrigation: http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/sprinkler00.htm
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On 9/1/2011 8:48 PM, HerHusband wrote:

Why not add typical local vegetation and features such as rock, stone ets doesn't require watering or a lot of maintenance especially since you noted your well is marginal?
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