The cost of Perth water increased another 10% in 2013 so it is more important than ever that you are careful with the use of your reticulation. It is estimated that up to 50% of household water usage is attributed to the sprinkler system so it pays not to waste any of that water.
One option I encourage people to consider is the installation of a bore. While the upfront cost of around $4K is significant if you plan on being in the property long term then this is an option well worth considering.
The price of water* is tiered i.e. the more you use, the more you pay. This is to help encourage the careful use of water.
- 0 – 150 kL costs $1.381 per kL
- 151 – 500 kL costs $1.841 per kL
- Over 500 kL costs $2.607 per kL
Check this out!
Today we did a job on an old bore in Yokine. It involved removing the elbow from the top of the bore and as I inspected it this is what I saw.
The mineral deposits from the water have formed a crusty inner skin that looks a bit like coconut inside the pipe. Obviously this has happened over a number of years, but its good to see what can form from bore water.
It is about 5ml thick all round
Easy to do!
If you have recently moved and are wondering if this is a worthwhile option then my tip is to do it straight away. After 5 years in our last home we began debating the merits of a bore, but knowing we may not stay much longer than another year or two we decided against it.
But when we moved to Yanchep, to a home with no retic it was the first thing on the agenda. And there have been no regrets.
With a bore you get:
- ‘free’ water in the sense that it is not part of your regular watering bill
- 3 watering days instead of two
- a significant capital investment in your home. With water prices rising and 50% of our water being thrown on the lawn and gardens to have a bore is a very smart move.
It does certainly cost you more upfront, but if you are on a decent sized block (say 550sqm +) and intend to stay there for 4-5 years then chances are you will easily recover your costs and finish up with a fantastic looking lawn and garden to boot.
To covert from mains to a bore is a simple process of
a) running the main line from the bore to the existing solenoids
b) wiring the MV/pump to the bore pump rather than the master valve
c) cutting and capping the master valve pipe (or just isolating the retic at the check valve)
d) making sure your system can handle the extra water flow and pressure a bore produces. You may need to join two stations together.
If you would like to change to a bore or if you would like a quote on having a bore installed then give us a call and we can get things moving for you.
I drove past a school on the weekend that was painted blue, but had large red arcs around the paintwork – the result of sprinklers running off a bore.
If you have a bore and you are worried about staining then the answer is to try and design a garden and lawn that can minimise the results of bore water on them.
Some simple suggestions:
- Use either miniscape dripline or adjustable staked drippers in garden beds rather than sprays. Both of these methods target the plants and drop water in the areas needed rather than risking overspray.
- Have gardens close to the house and lawn further away, thus minimising the risk of water on walls.
- Use MP Rotator nozzles rather than regular Toro. They will spray bigger droplets and get blown around less.
A little planning can allow you to have all the benefits of a bore without any of the nasties.
Of course there are some suburbs where bore staining is worse than others. If you live in Greenwood then you are in for a heap of colour on your walls, whereas where we are in Yanchep there is minimal staining. If you aren’t sure what to expect then just look around you at other houses with bores and see what they look like.
I have a friend who lives in Quinns Rocks and is on a shared bore. In the last year we have replaced 3 solenoid coils on the same valve because they have corroded and become stuck open.
I haven’t seen this happen before, but it seems that the minerals in the water (or perhaps the salt) may be corroding the solenoid piston and causing it to fail.
At the moment I don’t have a suitable solution, but it may be that we need to find a solenoid that does not have any metallic parts. You obviously can’t change coils every few months so there must be a better way to hit the problem.
If you have had any similar problems then I’d love to hear about it
Normally when your bore starts up you hear a ‘clunk’ sound as the bore starter kicks in. If you can’t hear this then chances are your relay to the starter is faulty or the problem is in your control box.
If the control box looks ok then you will need to call an electrician to have a look at the relay switch.
Which sprinklers should you run from a bore?
You have a couple of things to consider:
a) Flow rate: often bores allow you to run much greater numbers of sprinklers than a standard mains pressure system. 80l/min is normal as opposed to 30 off the mains.
b) Pump run time: every minute your bore is running is costing you money in electricity and wear and tear on your pump.
That said you don’t want to simply be governed by the cheapest option. In my own backyard I have 3 different types of sprinklers running. We have 4 big heavy duty gear drives on the verge, regular pop ups in the garden beds and then MP rotators in the lawn areas. It means the pump runs for aprox 2 hours each time it comes on, but we have chosen sprinklers that will fit the areas and do the best job.
Shared bores are a great idea in that only one whole gets drilled and can serve two or three properties. But shared bores can also raise some interesting challenges – and can be similar to the dreaded ‘neighbourhood fence’.
The question of who is responsible when it breaks down can be tricky. The question of what happens if my neighbour can’t afford his share of the repairs is also a grey area.
This week I have encountered two problems with shared bores and the solutions are interesting and worth knowing.
On Friday a friend rang and told me that his sprinklers kept coming on even though it wasn’t his watering days. He is on a shared bore and the obvious solution is that he has a solenoid stuck open. So everyone on the 3 properties is then inconvenienced until he fixes his solenoid. That sounded like the solution but then it got weird…
He went home to replace the solenoid yesterday but after turning the pump on to test the system he couldn’t stop the water flow. He unplugged his control box and still the water kept flowing. Eventually he had to go next door to his neighbour’s place and turn the pump off at the mains to stop the water. When he turned it back on the same problem occurred. A chat with an electrician suggests this is a faulty relay switch on his line and that when activated it is unable to shut down.
Thankfully he was able to access the main switch otherwise it would have been a lot of water down the drain.
He is getting the relay switch looked at this week so we will see what develops
Ok so you have noticed a drop in pressure on your sprinklers.
Believe it or not the first place to check is your water meter. Make sure someone hasn’t turned the pressure down here. It happens… I have no idea why people do it but that’s the first test.
Then check and see if it is on just one station or on all.
If its ‘all’ then you have a break in your mainline – that’s the 25ml or 40ml main pipe that feeds to the solenoids. This should show up in a large puddle of water somewhere. You may need to leave it on for a while if its just a small crack as it will take a while for it to show through.
If its just one station then you will have either a broken pipe in the line or a broken riser.
Check for pooling around the sprinklers as that will indicate a riser problem. If you can move the sprinkler then its likely the riser is broken. If not then you will need to check the line for cracks and breaks. This can be a long tedious process as you will need to locate the break and sometimes its not obvious.
A small crack can result in a significant pressure drop but can be a pain to find.
Here’s one my father worked on recently. His pressure on this one station dropped significantly and he ended up having to trace the line until he found the problem – a joint that had cracked.
If you have a drop in pressure then the only solution is to keep looking till you find it – or call us and we will look for you!