As you look at this picture of the back flow prevention valve for my sprinkler system do you notice anything about it that stands out? How about that the PVC pipe on either side of the brass valve that is a nice clean color of white? Why would this be new when the rest of the assembly is about six years old you might ask?
Well as it turns out, yesterday morning due to the 100 degree temperatures I decided it would be a really good idea to turn on the sprinkler system. So I went out to the front yard and lifted the lid off the control box and promptly dropped it right on to of the PVC fitting that connects to the valve, shearing it off cleanly.
This meant instead of going into the garage and turning the timer to the run position and letting the miles of underground pipe, sprinkler heads and drip emitters do their magic, I would spend the next hour hand watering the entire yard so I didn't come home to a wilted, brown, thirsty yard at the end of the day. Not a big deal really, as I enjoy spending time in the yard, but I did feel a bit silly spending all that time dragging a hose around when my butterfingers move was the reason for it.
Later that evening after coming home from work and relaxing for a short while I decided it was time to fix my little irrigation guffaw. Going out to the shed I soon realized that I didn't have any fittings of the correct type on hand, so it was off to Home Depot for a materials run. Returning home I gathered up all the necessary items to complete the repair: new fittings, primer/cleaner and glue, cutter and of course a Dr. Pepper.
Perhaps I should tell you that the valve is approximately 22 inches below the ground level to protect it from freezing during the winter. Code only requires it to be twelve inches deep, but being the anal retentive type that I am, I decided to make sure that even if the next great ice age were to happen, my sprinkler system would still be operational. Why do I tell you this little bit of trivia? So you will have a feeling for how fun it is to cut and work on this pipe while barely being able to reach it comfortably.
Alright, I have all the parts cut and ready for assembly. I take my time to prime all of them first to ensure I get a good bond. Next I grab the can of blue glue to start fusing them together and when I go to pull the dobber out of the can I realize it has set-up to the consistency of cured rubber cement. (Note to self, blue glue has a limited shelf life once opened.)
So with a fading smile on my face I head back to my favorite place. . . Home Depot. After another fun and exciting trip to the only stinking hardware store left within a twenty mile radius of my house (all the little guys have disappeared now) I am back home and ready...again, to do this simple repair.
I open the glue and low and behold, it's liquid. Things are starting to improve. Unfortunately it's a short lived excitement, because I discover that after I have glued a couple of the fittings together I've miscalculated the size of the valve and now have to re-cut the PVC to accommodate it and best of all the fittings that I've already glued together will now no longer work.
What does this mean? Yep, you guessed it, another trip to Home Foofoo for more parts. It's now eight o'clock at night and I'm tired and sweating like Rosie O'Donnell at an all you can eat buffet and I decide to cut my losses and call it a night. Believe or not I didn't break out the profanity card at this point. I guess it was past that time, so instead I just laughed.
This morning on the way home from work, I grabbed the next round of fittings, (and a few extras,) came home and fixed it without any further incident. Yaaaahooo!
Thank the good Lord there are others who are plumbers by trade, because I will be the first one to admit, I am not one!