Underground Irrigation Repair Without Digging – All it Takes is a Heat Gun!

By | 25 August 2017

I developed this irrigation restore approach out of desperation. A sprinkler head had launched itself out of the bottom proper beside me at some point and landed in a potted plant. The ensuing geyser was spectacular, however the location was horrible!

The world round this specific sprinkler head was surrounded in paving stone and brick, and worse, proper up towards a fence. To make issues more durable, I had put in a french-drain solely a foot away! The riser’s nipple was lacking. Certain sufficient, a alternative stand-pipe would not even start to screw in! Clearly, the damaged off a part of the nipple was caught within the t-connector – deep underground! Earlier than I developed this system, I might have needed to dig lateral trenches about 2′ lengthy on all sides of the connector, minimize the provision strains off every finish of the connector, added a sleeve and spacer, then glued in a alternative t-connector. Not this time! There was an excessive amount of concerned in digging this connector out of the bottom!

I’ve a particular function software I would purchased from The Dwelling Depot only for this drawback. It is the PVC variant of an “easy-out.” Sadly, it would not work! I could not get sufficient stress (the connector was buried simply concerning the extractor’s full size), and I saved scraping my knuckles towards a fence put up. The stand-pipe wasn’t PVC, it was vinyl. It was so slick, the knife edges of the extractor would not chew into the within edge.

However vinyl melts! I’ve a 1200 watt warmth gun I would purchased for paint stripping. The extractor’s tip is metallic and through the use of this warmth gun, I acquired the extractor’s tip scorching. Actual scorching. Scorching scorching! By pushing the extractor straight down the outlet, it gently melted into the damaged off nipple – deep underground! I let it set and funky for a number of minuets earlier than giving it a twist. Two seconds later, the damaged off nipple was extracted!

After screwing in a alternative riser, I cycled the irrigation pump to that zone to rinse out the entire grime that had fallen into the connector. I put a brand new sprinkler head on the alternative riser, and guess what? That irrigation restore was executed. Not solely executed, I did not must dig one spade of grime!

The trick was heating up the extractor’s tip scorching sufficient to soften into the damaged off vinyl nipple to get a grip.

Just a few weeks later, I had a special drawback. I had mounted new window containers alongside one facet wall of my house and needed to make use of my in-ground irrigation system to water the brand new flowers. I had a capped off riser proper the place I would like to put a four’ riser. Sadly, this was an outdated metal riser that I would ran into a number of instances with the mower, and after I eliminated the pipe it left the t-connector’s threads stripped and choked with rust-scale! Not like most of my irrigation restore initiatives, this line could be very shallow. Shallow sufficient for me to scrape away the highest to essentially see the harm.

There wasn’t something I might do to string the brand new riser into place, I used to be going to have to exchange the t-connector – or perhaps not. I’ve a reasonably full store and I’ve metallic working instruments to faucet holes for screw threads, or minimize exterior threads for bolts. Since I needed to go to The Dwelling Depot or Lowe’s anyway for a alternative t-connector, why not see if that they had a software for pipe threads?

The workers at Lowe’s laughed after I requested them for a software to chop inner 1/2″ pipe thread for an underground PVC t-connector! Their solely recommendation was to dig it up and change it. No Means! The workers at The Dwelling Depot did not chuckle out loud, however additionally they prompt alternative fittings.

I did purchase the fittings, however I additionally discovered the right software – an 18″ size of 1/2″ metal pipe! As soon as once more, the 1200 watt warmth gun got here to the rescue. By heating the pipe finish, the thread part, I used to be in a position to plunge it into the buried t-connector. It sizzled because it sank in and I shortly labored it in deeper as I screwed it into place. With out letting it sit, I unscrewed the metal pipe to stop it from welding into place. I repeated this operation a number of instances till the entire pipe’s threaded part was inside the t-connector’s nipple.

Guess what? The brand new alternative four’ PVC riser threaded itself proper in! By utilizing warmth, stress, and metal threads, I used to be in a position to partially soften the underground t-connector and minimize new threads. Not a spade stuffed with grime was dug up for this irrigation restore!

Since then, I’ve helped neighbors with their irrigation restore initiatives that left them amazed – “you’ll be able to really minimize new threads underground with out having to dig” – Wow, thanks Invoice, actual large thanks!

Not all irrigation repairs can use this system. Let’s face it, if the t-connector’s nipple or connecting pipes crack or break, you’ll have to dig. However do that tip first and see if it really works. You will know inside minuets if there is a extra major problem. You will get moist standing there, however you may shortly see upwelling across the sprinkler head in operation if there is a damaged pipe or cracked nipple. Oh properly, no less than you gave it a strive!

I’ve had this low-cost $20 warmth gun for greater than twenty years. Not solely does it do an amazing job lifting paint, I’ve used it for boat electrical repairs (heat-shrink tubing), eradicating self-adhesive vinyl tile, contact paper, and sanding disks, and even beginning fires in my charcoal pit. That is NOT a hair dryer – preserve protected, preserve it away from you always!

In conclusion, I used to be ready to make use of my low-cost warmth gun and cheaper metal pipe to use sufficient warmth and stress to re-mold stripped out inner threads, and sufficient uncooked warmth to let one other software’s edges minimize into materials that with out that software, would have required digging a lot of grime for these easy irrigation restore initiatives!


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