Think about your average irrigation system. Say five zones made up of spray heads and rotors. Front yard, back yard, side yard. Pretty much what you see everywhere. This means that there are five valves in the system. Now, there are two ways you can install valves. Both work. You can install them in each zone, as illustrated:
This works fine but someday, when you need to find the valve for repair, it may be overgrown, have a dog house on it or have simply disappeared. Plus you are spending money on seven valve boxes and all that wire to go to all those valves.
This is another way to place your valves. This keeps all the valves in a simple to find and maintain area and you would only need two valve boxes. This is called clustering. It makes long term maintenance far easier. You can also cluster them in out of the way, low traffic areas, minimizing risk of damage.
The easiest way to install this is with pre-made manifolds. Two of the most popular are the Action Machine and Dura brands. They are both available in different sizes and are expandable for future growth.
So what’s the difference? Why is one labeled Premium and one Standard? There are two main differences. The first is the pressure rating. The Premium has a pressure rating of 235 psi @73o. The standard has a rating of 150 psi. Again, either will work for the vast majority of installations.
The second difference is more practical. Understand that once these are installed you don’t touch them again until something goes wrong, usually years down the line. At that time they will be dirty, wet, muddy and possibly underwater. Now you want anything that will make it easier to work on the system. The Action Machine coupling has a much larger and more defined grip on the ring. The larger grip makes a world of difference when it’s wet and slippery. Saves time, skin and frustration.
Either manifold will work fine. You might wonder at this time why you can’t just build your own. After all, PVC is cheap and you will be working with it already. No reason you can’t and it will work. However, the premium manifolds are made of Schedule 80 PVC, much stronger than the Schedule 40 you will be working with. Add the fact that the manifold backbone is one piece and you gain both rigidity and a guaranteed straight line. Finally, the time and effort you spend measuring, cutting and gluing your parts together is worth something. Save that time for relaxing after the job is done. Pre-made is best by far.
For any irrigation system questions please visit us at Sprinkler Warehouse.