Repairing underground irrigation without digging – All it takes is a heat gun!


I developed this technique of repairing irrigation out of desperation. A sprinkler head was thrown on the ground just beside me one day and landed in a potted plant. The geyser that resulted was spectacular, but the location was terrible!

The area around this watering head was surrounded by paving stones and bricks, and even worse, against a fence. To make things more difficult, I had installed a French drain just a foot away! The nipple of the riser was absent. Of course, a spare tube would not even start screwing! Obviously, the broken part of the nipple was stuck in the t-connector – deep underground! Before developing this technique, I would have had to dig sideways trenches about 2 "long on each side of the connector, cut the power lines at each end of the connector, add one Sleeve and a spacer, then stick into a replacement t connector. Not this time! There was too much involved in digging this connector off the ground!

I have a special tool that I bought from Home Depot for this problem. This is the PVC variant of an "easy-out". Unfortunately, it would not work! I could not have enough pressure (the connector was buried at about the length of the extractor), and I kept scratching my knots against a fence post. The support tube was not PVC, it was vinyl. It was so smooth, the edges of the extractor 's knife did not bite into the inner edge.

But the vinyl background! I have a 1200 watt heat gun I bought for paint stripping. The tip of the extractor is made of metal and, using this heat gun, I have the tip of the hot extractor. Really hot. Burning! By pushing the extractor directly into the hole, it melted gently into the broken nipple – deep underground! I let it settle and cool for a few minutes before giving it a twist. Two seconds later, the broken nipple was extracted!

After screwing a replacement riser, I circulated the irrigation pump in this area to flush any dirt that had fallen into the connector. I put a new sprinkler head on the replacement riser, and guess what? Repair of the irrigation was carried out. Not only did, I did not have to dig a shovel of dirt!

The trick has been to warm the tip of the extractor warm enough to melt in the broken vinyl teat to get a handle.

A few weeks later, I had a different problem. I had mounted new windows along a side wall of my house and I wanted to use my irrigation system in the ground to water the new flowers. I had a closed riser where I need to place a 4er. Unfortunately, it was an old steel column that I struck several times with the mower, and when I removed the pipe, it left the wires of the connector in T stripped and smothered with rust! Unlike most of my irrigation repair projects, this line is very shallow. Not enough for me to scratch the top to really see the damage.

There was nothing I could do to thread the new riser into place, I was going to have to replace the connector t – or maybe not. I have a fairly complete store and I have metal work tools to hit the holes for the threads, or cut the external threads for the bolts. Since I had to go to Home Depot or Lowe's for a replacement t connector, why not see if they had a tool for pipe wires?

Lowe's staff laughed when I asked them for a tool to cut the 1/2 "internal hose wire for a soft PVC tip! Their only advice was to break it down and The Home Depot staff did not laugh out loud, but they also suggested replacement accessories

The gun came to the rescue . By heating the end of the hose, the section of the wire, j & I was able to dive it into the tee of the funeral.It dropped in case of breakdown and I quickly worked it deeper as I whipped it without letting it sit, j & I unscrewed the steel pipe to prevent it from falling into place. I repeated this operation several times until everything E the threaded section of the hose is S in the nipple of the T connector.

Guess what? The new PVC riser spare 4 is well inserted! Using heat, pressure and steel wires, I was able to partially melt the underground connector and cut new wires. Since then, I have helped neighbors with their irrigation repair projects that left them astonished – Actually cut new yards underground without digging "- Wow, thank you Bill, thank you very much!

Not all irrigation repairs can use this technique. Face it, if the tee nipples or the connecting pipes crack or break, you will have to dig. But try this advice first and check if it works. You will know in the minuets if there is a more serious problem. You will get wet there, but you will soon see the appearance of the head of watering in operation if there is a broken pipe or a cracked nipple. Oh, al least, you tried it.

I got a $ 20 heat gun at the price of $ 20 for over 20 years. Not only does it do a great job of lifting the paint, I have used it for boat electric repairs (heat shrink tubing), removing vinyl tile stickers, contact paper and sanding discs, and Even starting fires in my charcoal well. This is NOT a hair dryer – keep yourself safe, keep it away from you at all times!

Finally, I was able to use my cheap heat gun and cheaper steel pipes to apply enough heat and pressure to Recast the stripped internal nets and a sufficient amount of raw heat to allow the edges of another tool to cut into a material that without this tool would have required digging a lot of dirt for these simple irrigation repair projects !


Source by William Proctor Jr

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