Funny pipe, or swing pipe, is a small flexible pipe that's used to allow flexibility with installing sprinkler heads and other small parts of a sprinkler system. using funny pipe off of a lateral line allows you to have flexibility to ensure that your sprinkler heads are sitting level and at the right height in the ground.
Funny pipe is connected using a spiral barb fitting. The typical connection for a funny pipe is a spiral barb fitting on one end with a threaded end for a sprinkler head or the PVC connection. The spiral barb fittings are very tight, and simply press onto the pipe. The barb end is tight enough that it shouldn't leak or slip off. No hose clamps on spiral barb fittings are needed, though you should still use pipe thread seal tape on the threaded ends.
To connect a fitting to the pipe, take the fitting. Press the fitting directly into the end of the pipe as far as you can. Twist and press the fitting into the end of the pipe until no more barbs are visible. No hose clamps are needed.
Causes and Finding Problems
If you think you need to repair a section of the funny pipe, you can usually find a wet spot in the ground where the water has leaked from the pipe and caused the dirt to become water saturated and muddy. If the pipe is exposed,, it's usually easy to see a leak coming from the pipe when the system is pressurized.
Funny pipe can be easily cut or punctured by shovels or sharp objects, and the pipe can crimp on itself and cut off water flow when bent too far. If you have a problem with a section of your funny pipe,, it's best to replace that entire section of funny pipe rather than try to patch it. This means removing or replacing the fittings from the broken funny pipe, cutting another section of funny pipe, reinstalling the fittings, and finally replacing the funny pipe where it was before, and burying it again.
Where is Funny Pipe Used?
Funny pipe is used to connect sprinkler heads to lateral lines, and generally shouldn't be run longer than 1 or 2 feet. So make sure your system is using PVC or Poly pipe for longer Pipe runs.
If you have a sprinkler head that won’t pop up, there might be something you can do to quickly remedy the problem. Some common problems are a leak in the sprinkler pipe, a clogged sprinkler head, dirt in
the body, a cracked sprinkler, or even just grass growing over the sprinkler head too far.
To start off, make sure there’s no grass or dirt covering the sprinkler head. Remove grass from the sprinkler head, and turn on the water to the zone with the problematic sprinkler head. Press the sprinkler
head down while water is on, and wiggle it around a bit to see if you can break it free from any debris. It might help to try to grab the head with your hands and pul it up as well. This helps break any debris from the sprinkler and it should get washed out by the water pressure.
If that doesn’t fix it, check the nozzle of the sprinkler head. If there’s any debris that you can obviously see, try to gently pry it out.
Check for a Broken Sprinkler
It’s also very common to have a broken sprinkler head. They’re pretty easy to find as well. Look for cracks in the housings, or heads, or plastic pieces around the sprinkler head. If a sprinkler head is broken, they usually have to just be replaced. We have a video linked in the description that goes over how to easily replace a broken sprinkler head.
Check for Low Pressure
If these haven’t solved your issue, it’s probably low water pressure. The easiest fix for this is to make sure that all of the valves and flow controls are completely open. If only 1 zone has low pressure, check the flow control on the automatic valve.
Low pressure on a zone or a specific sprinkler head could also be a leak in the water line. The easiest way to see if it's a leak and to find where the leak is, look for a place in your lawn or yard that’s wet and muddy or lower than the rest of the ground around it. Random wet or green spots in your yard could definitely be the spot where a leak is.
Repair the PVC Line
Repairing a leak can be a lot more complicated, and we recommend calling professionals to repair sprinkler lines. If you want to see if Sprinkler Master offers services in your area, visit sprinklermaster.repair, or the link right here. If you’re in an area where we are, we’d be happy to come help you repair a sprinkler line.
If you want to try to replace the sprinkler line, you do it at your own risk. Contractors that are insured are the much safer option. We’re not responsible for any damages you cause to your home by trying to repair or dig out a sprinkler line. But if you’d like to learn how to repair a PVC or Funny pipe line, CLICK HERE to find videos that can help.
If none of these work, it might just be a problem with the water coming into your home. If it’s been a long-term problem, you might have to resort to using low pressure sprinkler heads, or splitting your sprinkler zones. Again, we highly recommend using a professional to install a pump for you.
If the issue is relatively new and isn’t caused by new construction of homes in the town or additions or changes you’ve made to your sprinkler system, it’s possible that your pressure vacuum breaker needs to be repaired or replaced, or a main line isn’t on all the way. If it’s only one zone in your system that’s got low pressure, double check the automatic valve’s flow control is completely open, and look closely for signs of a pipe leak somewhere on that zone. Another possibility is a tree root may be squeezing one of your pipes, reducing water flow. If you know of a sprinkler pipe running by a tree, you may have to dig up the pipe around the tree and cut and splice a new piece of pipe away from the tree roots.
If you want professional, licensed and insured help with your sprinkler system, Click Here to find out if Sprinkler Master offers services near you. If you need advice or help on something, comment below. We’d be happy to respond, or even make a video to help you with your problem with your sprinklers.
Sprinkler systems may seem a little complicated at first. There's wires, and pipes, and they can all seem like they're tangled together like spaghetti. It's hard to make sense of it, sometimes.
When an issue comes up in your sprinkler system, it can be difficult to diagnose and find the problem. If you think you might have a problem with a sprinkler valve, we'll go over:
What and where is a sprinkler valve
How to diagnose a sprinkler valve
How to fix a valve
What is an Automatic Sprinkler Valve?
Sprinkler valves are usually found in the sprinkler manifolds in your system. These are most often found in the green boxes buried around your yard. Inside these boxes, you'll see an array of pipes and fittings with little black valves. On those black valves, you should see a cylinder rising out of the top of each valve, and wires running out of the cylinder. This black valve with the black cylinder is the electrically automated sprinkler valve. Complicated as they may seem, it's usually not hard to find -and fix- the problem.
Diagnosing the Problem:
There can be a few giveaways that a problem is almost certainly your sprinkler valve. This includes:
Sprinkler Zone not turning on consistently
Sprinkler Zone not turning off
Water leaking through sprinklers after zone is off
Sprinkler not turning on at all
If you look in the valve box, there's a few things you can look for to easily find a few problems.
Inspect the Sprinkler Valve
First, look for any leaks. If there's water in the valve box, particularly if the sprinkler zone hasn't been run in a while, this could mean either there's a crack in the sprinkler valve, or in the pipes immediately around the valves. Try turning off your main water shut-off valve for the sprinkler system, and let the box drain out. When the box is mostly drained, inspect each sprinkler valve and all the pipes. Look for cracks or punctures in all the plastics. Carefully make sure that all of the fittings are tightly secured as well, as these can loosen and leak water, causing pressure issues. While you're here, make sure the bleeder screw, pictured below, is tightened all the way.
If you haven't found any visible cracks or leaks, try turning the water back on, and going back to the box. Listen and watch for water drops. If you can see any water dripping out of a pipe, make note of where, and turn off the system again to make repairs.
Finding problems by Actuating the Valve
If you still haven't found any issues, we'll move on to actuating the valve itself. This is a good time to grab someone to help, if you haven't already.
First, take the flow control, that's the screw in the picture below (not all valves have this, so if yours doesn't, skip this step). All you're going to do is tighten this all the way clockwise, then loosen it all the way counterclockwise. Repeat this a few times. This can help work dirt and debris loose from the diaphragm inside. When you've loosened and tightened fully, loosen it all the way counterclockwise and we'll move on to the next step.
Now, put your hand on the solenoid. That's the black cylinder poking out of the top. Rotate this about a quarter turn counterclockwise. This should activate the sprinkler valve, and allow water to pass through freely. If it does, tighten the solenoid again. This should turn off the sprinkler zone again. Put your hand on the valve, and listen. If you feel or hear water trickling through the valve when the solenoid is screwed all the way in, and the bleeder screw is tightened all the way, it might be time to rebuild or replace the automatic valve.
If the sprinkler has worked perfectly through the tests thus far, it's likely an issue with a sprinkler timer or wiring. These tests should have found a problem with your automatic valve, if there was one. You can still proceed to the repair section of this article to clean the valve, but the valve itself is probably not the issue.
Repairing and Cleaning an Automatic Sprinkler Valve
Sprinkler valves are often way less complicated than people think, and they're actually quite easy to repair.
To repair a valve, we need to start with disassembly of the valve. These are pretty simple steps, but it's crucial to keep all the parts clean and organized. As you remove pieces from the sprinkler valve, clean each piece, and keep them in a clean place while you finish cleaning and reassembling the valve. Be careful to remember exactly where each piece of the valve goes.
Here are the steps to disassemble a sprinkler valve. There is a gallery of images below for reference. Clean each part with water until visibly clean and to the touch.
Remove the Sprinkler solenoid (Not necessary to clean this part, unless there is a large amount of debris on it.)
Take the screws out of the top of the housing
Carefully pry the top of the housing away
Remove the spring from the sprinkler diaphragm
Carefully remove the rubber diaphragm from the housing
Clean each part, especially the surfaces between the diaphragm and the housing
If any parts are damaged, you can buy most individual parts online (such as at Sprinkler Warehouse) or at your local wholesale sprinkler parts company.
Test the valve the same way as before, and hopefully your problem is fixed!