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How to Use Surface Water for a Lawn Sprinkler Pump

lawn sprinkler pump

If you want to keep your lawn or garden watered properly, it is a good idea to install a sprinkler system using a sprinkler pump. This allows you to program the system to turn on and off according to the optimal watering times and does not require you to be home. Many lawn sprinkler systems use the city water supply, however it is not necessary. Using a surface water supply such as a pond, lake, or stream to supply water to your lawn sprinkler system may help you save money and resources.

To switch your lawn sprinkler system to a surface water source, you will need the following items:

  • PVC pipe the same size as the current intake pipe
  • PVC glue
  • PVC primer
  • PVC fittings - type and number determined by the installation
  • Suction basket
  • Foot or check valve
  • Three 60-pound bags of concrete
  • Hack saw
  • Tape measure

Follow these steps to install a lawn sprinkler pump for surface water:

Measure the Pipe

  1. Measure the distance from the water source to the sprinkler pump. This will help you determine how long the PVC pipe needs to be for the new intake.
  2. Turn off the power to the sprinkler pump at the breaker box.

Assemble Foot Valve and Suction Basket

  1. Read the owner's manual to figure out how to attach the foot valve to the end of the PVC pipe.
  2. Read the owner's manual to figure out how to attach the suction basket to the foot valve.

Submerge the Suction Basket

  1. Find a location at least three feet deep in the water source. This is where you will place the concrete.
  2. Stack two of the concrete bags on the bottom of the water source in the location you selected in the previous step.
  3. Put the PVC pipe on top of the concrete bags so that it is resting on top. The intake for the PVC pipe should be about three feet past the concrete stack. You are just using the concrete to support the pipe and prevent the pipe from becoming buried by mud or debris on the bottom of the water source.
  4. Make sure the suction basket will remain submerged at all times when the sprinkler system is operating. If you feel the suction basket is not deep enough, adjust the location of the intake so that you are certain there will be a sufficient water level to keep the basket submerged.
  5. To prevent the pipe from shifting, place a third bag of concrete on top of the pipe and the other two bags.

Connect the Suction Basket to the Pump Inlet

  1. Identify a downward-sloping route you want to take the PVC pipe from the sprinkler pump to the water source. Make sure there are no "dips" in the route that will cause the pipe to slope upward at any point.
  2. Glue together as many sections of PVC pipe as are needed to reach from the sprinkler pump to the water source intake. Each joint must be airtight.
  3. Attach the new intake pipe to the intake port of the pump.

Prime the Pump and Test

  1. Once you are confident everything is connected properly, prime the sprinkler pump.
  2. Turn on the power at the breaker box and test the sprinkler pump.