How to Build a Manifold for Valves in Valve Box Irrigation


The design of an irrigation system is essential to the proper operation of the system. Beyond the design, if the system is installed wrong, the design will be a waste, because the system will not work properly. Most home systems are designed and installed by professionals, so there is little chance the system will not work properly. Irrigation installation is a project that the average homeowner can undertake with little knowledge. The construction of the valve area is not only essential to operation, but to maintenance as well. The best way to construct the valves is in a manifold design.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Valves
  • 10-foot of pipe-identical pipe to the supply line
  • Tees and elbows for the pipe
  • Saw to cut the pipe
  • PVC Glue and primer-if PVC pipe is used
  • Threaded fittings-appropriate for the pipe and valves
  • Teflon pipe tape
  • Large valve box
  • Determine the number of valves needed for the installation. The number of valves is the same as the number of zones for the system. This will be determined in the design phase for the system. For this example, there will be four zones, therefore there will be four valves. This example will also use PVC pipe for the system.

  • Locate the main supply pipe for the system. The main supply is the single pipe that feeds the water from the house or pump to the system.

  • Determine the location for the valves. The best place to put the valves is out of the irrigated area all together.

  • Dig a hole at the valve location deep enough to go below the frost line and five-foot around. The frost line is different for every geographic area. Check with a local plumber or home improvement professional for the depth required.

  • Extend the main supply pipe to the location for the valves, if necessary.

  • Cut four six-inch pieces and eight 12-inch pieces of pipe from a 10-foot length of pipe.

  • Prime both ends of the cut pieces and all ends of the fittings with the PVC primer. The threaded fittings only need the un-threaded end primed.

  • Glue one threaded fitting to the end of each 12-inch piece of pipe. Apply the glue to both pieces and twist when putting together to spread the glue evenly.

  • Wrap the threads of each threaded fitting with Teflon tape.

  • Screw one threaded fitting into each side of the valves. These should be hand tight. Now each valve should a 12-inch piece of pipe coming out of each end. Make sure to determine the direction of flow for each valve. The valves will have an arrow showing the direction of flow.

  • Glue two of the six-inch pieces of pipe into the straight side of one tee fitting.

  • Glue two tees to the ends of the six-inch pieces on the tee. Glue the straight sides of the tee with the third side facing straight out from the pipe.

  • Glue the last two six-inch pieces of pipe into the other straight ends of the tees on the end.

  • Glue the elbows onto the ends of the two six-inch pieces from the previous step. Now the manifold is almost complete. The two elbows and tees should be facing opposite from the tee in the middle.

  • Glue the middle tee to the supply pipe end. Glue one valve into each of the remaining openings. The manifold is complete.

  • Place the valve box around the manifold and valves and back fill.

Tips & Warnings

  • Steps 11 through 14 should be completed on a table, or flat surface, to make sure the fittings are properly aligned.
  • The fittings need to be properly aligned for the manifold to fit inside a box properly. Different pipe types will require different fittings and tools to complete this procedure.

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