Need tips on PVCing 1" sprinkler pipe! HELP!

I'm trying to put in a 1" PVC pipe sprinkler system by myself (hubby is disabled and cannot help). I've got 20' pvc and I'm having problems fitting pieces together (I just can't seem to get them straight together in the short time it takes for the glue to set up). Is there an easy tip on how to do this??? Also, as I've already tried (unsucessfully) gluing one, can I just put more glue on it to get it connected or do I need to sand off the old glue or ???
Appreciate any hints. I've put together PVC pipe sprinkler system years ago but then there were 2 of us and I can't remember having these problems. I'm using only the pvc cement; will getting some primer help???
Thanks for your help.
Sandy
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Hi Sandy,

I haven't installed a sprinkler system before, but I've done a lot of work with PVC (and CPVC) piping.

Really, the only answer is to work fast, and only one joint at a time.
You'll need the purple PVC primer, and the clear or blue PVC solvent.
Let's say you want to join two 20' PVC pipes together. Start by laying them end to end so they're close to the position they'll need to be in (you won't have time to be wrestling the pipes and fittings into position once you apply the solvent).
Then open both the primer and solvent cans so they're ready to use, but leave the daubers setting in the cans.
Hold the end of one pipe, and a coupler fitting, in one hand so you keep the two off the ground, and yet separated so you can work on them. It's hard to describe how to do this. Sort of like hold the fitting between your thumb and forefinger while you pick up the pipe end with the remaining fingers on that hand.
While holding the pipe and fitting up, take the dauber from the primer and swab around the last inch or so of the pipe, then swab around the inside of the exposed end of the coupling. Try not to get any primer or glue on the other side of the fitting if you can. Tilting it slightly so any excess runs out helps. Then put the primer dauber back in it's can.
Now you have to work quickly. Take the dauber from the solvent, swab it around the end of the pipe, and around the inside of the fitting. Quickly put the dauber back in the can, and press the fitting onto the end of the pipe pushing until it seats. Hold it in position like that and count to 15 before releasing.
You've just made your connection. Repeat the process to join the other pipe to the fitting.

Nope, the solvent essentially "melts" the two pieces of plastic together. If you didn't get the pipes together correctly, your only option is to cut that fitting out and install a new one. This usually means adding another piece of pipe to make up the shortened length.

Yes, the primer cleans the dirt and oils that exist on the pipe, and soften the pipe slightly so the solvent can work better. If you don't use the primer, you run the risk of leaks.
The basic idea is to line everything up ahead of time. No big deal for straight runs. For complicated joints, dry fit everything first, then use a sharpie pen to mark a line on the fitting and pipe. Then take everything apart and start gluing. The marks will help you line everything up correctly when you need to work fast.
Keep the joints clean and dry, apply the primer, apply the solvent, and quickly press and hold the two together.
If you just press the fitting in and release it, the pressure of the solvent will push the fitting back away from the pipe.
When you need to make cuts, I recommend a ratcheting PVC pipe cutter (maybe $15-25 at a home center?). These quickly make clean and square cuts with no burrs. Otherwise, you can use a saw to cut the pipe (I've used a hacksaw with good success), then use a utility knife to clean up the burrs on the inside and outside of the pipe.
If you have any doubts, dry fit first, mark the locations, disassemble, and glue.
Good luck!
Anthony
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I always thought you're supposed to let the primer dry before applying the glue. Not totally dry, but dry enough that the glue swab doesn't pick up the primer. Done that way there's plenty of time for assembly. Once together, you've got maybe a second or two before it's stuck for good.
-rev
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I've never heard one way or the other about letting the primer dry first, but the primer evaporates really fast anyway. I'm betting it'll be dry by the time you put the primer dauber back in the can, pick up the solvent dauber, and apply it to the pipe and fitting.
But if I'm reading the gist of your message correctly, you are correct about being able to take your time with the primer. I wouldn't want to wait hours between the primer and solvent, but it's no rush. It's when you apply the solvent that you have to work quickly.
On a related note, I prefer to buy a few small cans of solvent rather than one large can. Once a can is opened to the air, it will start to gel over even after it is closed. Then the next time you go to use it (months later), it will be unusable. This usually ends up wasting a half can or more of solvent. Smaller cans let you use what you need and discard it. Then you'll have a fresh new can for the next job.
Anthony
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The purple stuff in the can from the big box store always leaks after the first use, so I end up with a fresh can each time whether I want it or not.
-rev
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I like the smaller cans of primer and cement also-- they make less of a mess when you knock them over. Larry
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PVC cement does set up quickly. You need to be ready before applying. Of course you are dry fitting first to make sure the pieces fit straight, right? One trick for angle pieces etc is to put an aligment mark on both pieces with a permanent marker during your dry fit check. (Keep it away from the edge since the cement will wash it away.) That way there is no guesswork when you go to fit with cement already on.
--Jeff
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wrote:

when you join 2 pieces, give it a twist. that makes it easier to get on, and spreads the cement too.
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Good point! It's something I always do, almost mindlessly, so I didn't even think to mention it.
I usually mark the alignment of the fittings with a pen, then apply the primer/solvent and push the fitting on out-of-position, and twist it around to the aligned position.
Just one of those things you learn to do quickly with a little practice, so much so I forgot I even do it... :)
Anthony
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I also think that "professional grade" cements give slightly more working time than the typical homeowners stuff at the big box stores. Try a plumbing supply house to see what they have.

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