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SUPPLY LINE INSTALLATION - Advanced

YES, water inside flexible PVC will freeze and result in cracks if not drained for winter. Do not believe the manufacturers of pond systems who say dips in the supply line are alright because the flexible PVC is designed to withstand ice pressure. Hogwash, here are pictures of supply lines that did crack. I never believed the manufactures and have always used a transit and level to set the grade of the supply line so that it always drains towards the skimmer box. This would allow the water to drain out of the lines for winter.

Now I install an irrigation box in the center of the supply line with the lines draining towards the center of the box from both directions. Without using an irrigation box I would not feel confident in saying that a 2” diameter supply line will stay exactly where it has been placed for the next 20 years. Very seldom do you use less than 50 feet of line. With the freeze/thaw cycle it is possible over time that the supply line may move creating dips where pockets of water could develop and freeze. Settling after installation could also present problems.

HOW TO INSTALL SUPPLY LINE INSIDE IRRIGATION BOX

Find the center of where your supply line will be located. Use a transit to determine the necessary height for the finished placement of the irrigation box. Make sure you will have adequate slope from both directions. Dig out for the irrigation box and dig below its final resting position another 6-8” deep. Line the hole with weed barrier fabric; this will keep the soil from migrating into the drainage aggregate. Install 3/4” gravel (clear or with some fines in it) 6-8” thick on top of the weed barrier fabric. Make sure that you hand tamp the gravel for every 2” of gravel that you add. Wrap the weed barrier over the top of the gravel. Place the irrigation box on top of the gravel pad and make sure that it is level. Add some soil around the two sides of the box where the supply line is not going to be entering the box; this will keep the box from moving while you are working. Pull the supply line into the box and install a ball valve to the end of the line. A ball valve will allow you to adjust the water flow once the system is running. Whenever gluing flexible PVC, regular PVC pipe cement will not hold. The glue must say it is for flexible PVC piping. I use Christy’s Red Hot Blue Glue. Prime, then glue both pieces (follow label directions). On the other end of the irrigation box pull the supply line going towards the falls into the box and glue a PVC tee fitting that has an open threaded end. Using plumbers tape thread the cap onto the tee. Purchase two caps, one for when the system is running and another one for winter which will have two ¼” holes drilled into the bottom of it. Once the supply line is drained for winter the cap with the holes in it can be installed. This will allow any remaining water to drain from the line and will keep out any critters. Between the PVC tee and ball valve add a short piece of flexible PVC. The supply line hookup inside the irrigation box should be complete. There will be a gap around the supply line and the irrigation box. Use expandable foam or silicone to fill in this gap on both ends. Allow to dry and fill in with soil around the outside of the box, lightly tamping the soil as you add more. The top 2 – 3”of the irrigation box should be free of soil. This will be filled in with bark mulch or decorative stone. Conceal the top of the irrigation box with driftwood or some other object that fits in nice with the landscape.