Author: Justin Siebenhaar

Perform the Perfect Timer Tuneup

Your sprinkler timer is the brains of your system. Getting it in top shape doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s a few tips to get you started.

First we’ve got get the timer up and running. Most of the time that won’t take much more than turning it on. Our timers, even if turned to OFF during the winter, will still save your programming. Just make sure you run through all the zones as a test to begin with, making sure they’re turning on and off correctly. Any problems may indicate an issue with the timer, but more likely it’s a problem with the wiring. This is also a good time to observe each zone’s sprinklers, looking for broken heads and leaks that need repair. This is also a time to make sure the timer is clean. Small critters, such as spiders and bugs, sometimes make their home inside a timer, so clean those out.

Once you’re sure the timer is running correctly, next is the run time. As the seasons change, you’ll want to change your schedule with it. Right now, in spring, you may not require that much watering, if any at all. And what watering is required will be short and infrequent. So check that your schedule isn’t still set for the hot months. On many timers it may be as simple as adjusting the BUDGET feature to something like 25% of normal.

Also, check to see if your municipality has implemented any new watering restrictions, such as days you’re not allowed to water, and make those adjustments to your timer. This will prevent any expensive fines.

Have you made any changes to your landscape since last year? This might also be cause to reevaluate what is watering and for how long.

Of course, if much of this seems like a bit of hassle, consider upgrading to a B-hyve smart timer, which takes the guess work out of it. The B-hyve connects to real-time weather feeds for your location and constantly updates the watering schedule to make sure your landscape is getting the right amount of water but avoiding water waste. It will turn itself off is rain is coming, make adjustments for head or cool, and stop watering altogether when it’s not needed. You can tell it about any watering restrictions and about each zone in your yard, to get the perfect watering experience.

PVC vs Poly: Which is Right for You?

If you’re a homeowner getting ready to put in a new sprinkler system, or just making some changes, you’ve probably noticed the many options that can be confusing. One of the first you might encounter is what pipe to use for your system, the two main options being PVC and Poly-pipe.  This post seeks to clear up some of the confusion so you can make the right choice for you.

PVC

PVC (abbreviated for ‘polyvinyl chloride’) is a rigid, non-flexible piping. Irrigation piping is usually white in color (grey is for electrical, black is for sewage). PVC pipe comes in a range of diameters, wall thickness (also known as schedule rating), and pressure ratings. The schedule number determines the inside diameter. For example, though the outer diameter of schedule 40 and schedule 80 pipe are the same, the inner diameters are different, with 80 pipe having thicker walls and therefore carrying a higher psi rating.  Most home improvement stores will carry schedule 40, which is the recommended thickness for irrigation as it can withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure, while the average residential irrigation system isn’t more than 80 psi.

PVC usually comes in straight lengths of 10 feet in most home improvements stores, and must be cut with a special pipe cutting tool when shorter lengths are needed. The main benefit to PVC is that it is very strong, however due to its rigid nature, it is less forgiving with freeze and thaw cycles.

Poly

Poly is short for high-density polyethylene, or HDPE. This pipe is also used in irrigation systems, and other piping & conduit applications. Poly has the benefit of being more flexible while still maintaining a high level of strength sufficient for most residential irrigation system. While not as strong as PVC, it is still capable of working within 200-300 psi (again, plenty for most homes). In addition, it is flexible and lighter in weight. Pipe like our Blu-Lock pipe comes in large rolls which weigh about 7-11 lbs per 100 feet.

Pros & Cons

When choosing which to go with, pay attention to what is used in your area. While both types of pipe are used everywhere, one tends to dominate in certain regions. Finding parts for the preferred method will be easier and the price might be less expensive. Of course, internet shopping makes that a non-issue for many, but if a repair is needed, it’s often needed urgently.

Otherwise, poly is usually the way to go as it is generally cheaper, easier to work with, and requires fewer fittings. With PVC you will need at least one fitting every 10 feet because that’s the typical length of pipe you will find in most home improvement stores. Any time you make a turn or bend, you will need another fitting (sometimes more). Whereas with poly you only need to put fittings where you need sprinklers, which can reduce costs significantly as well as reducing possible failure points.

Push Fittings

We offer push fittings in both PVC and Poly varieties with our PVC-Lock and Blu-Lock. These offer significant increases in speed and ease. Regular fittings must be free of any dirt or debris, and must be completely dry before gluing. Once glued they cannot be changed. Whereas push fittings can be attached completely submerged underwater if needed. They require no glue or primer, and are completely removable once attached.

5 Tips to Starting up your B-hyve Hose Faucet System

1-Replace Batteries

To achieve the best performance from your timer, replace your batteries (AA) at the beginning of each season.

2-Update Firmware

If you have not recently updated your firmware, make sure to follow the steps below:

Open B-hyve app > go to settings > devices > select your hose tap > select update firmware. 

IMPORTANT! While updating firmware make sure you are within Bluetooth range, and keep the B-hyve app open until firmware update is complete.

3-Clean Filter

Clean any debris that may have accumulated in the filter. If your timer needs a new filter, you can find one here.

Watch the video below on how to clean and replace a filter:

4-Flush Timer

Attach the B-hyve timer to your hose faucet. Turn on the water and start a manual cycle by pressing the button on the timer for 3 seconds, or from the B-hyve app. Let this run for a couple minutes to ensure any debris is flushed out of the timer.

5-Check for Leaks

Connect your hose and observe connections both at the faucet and the hose, looking for any leaks. Water spraying from the faucet connection may indicate that the connection is not tight enough, or that the washer needs replacing. If you notice any leaks in your hose, resulting from a crack or cut in the hose itself, you can fix them easily with a hose mender.

Start Watering

SHOP SPRINKLERS

4 Products to Boost Your HoseEnd

Hose faucets are a great utility for keeping any yard in top shape. They’re so versatile with all the tools and devices you can attach. Today, we’ve got four products (and one bonus product) to help beef-up your hose faucet and turn it into a powerhouse of productivity and garden beautification.


1. Quick Connects

All the great attachments for a hose have one slight annoyance: the constant on/off. Sometimes you need a pistol, sometimes a wand for high, hard to reach places. Sometimes you want a sprinkler. Well, no more spinning these things off only to get drenched by left-over water. Quick connects let you swap out one tool for another in a matter of seconds. Plus, their innovative design means they can be used with the water still running and prevent all that excess water from pouring all over your shoes.

2. Hose Guides

These nifty little devices blend into the landscape but let your hose carefully wind it’s way along the path you want it to go. No more having a hose sweep across your prize-winning flower garden, crushing everything in its path. You’re in charge.

3. Hose Hanger

When it’s time to clean up, a hose hanger is the perfect way to store it neatly. This hose hanger has a handy shelf to keep your nozzles and sprinklers in one place. It’s made from high impact plastic, to give you years of worry-free use. And it easily attaches to most surfaces (brick, stone, wood, stucco).

4. Water Flow Meter

Ever wonder how much water you’re really using? The water flow meter gives you an accurate readout. Find ways to save; know the flow.

Bonus: B-hyve Faucet Timer

The B-hyve faucet timer is the cutter edge of hose faucet smart watering. Besides being the faucet timer we’re all used to, it’s controllable via your smart phone. And if that weren’t enough, it’s smart! What does that mean? Well, via real-time weather updates based on your location, the B-hyve can use all sorts of information about your landscape to automatically adjust your watering schedule and run time to keep your landscape looking green and colorful.

 

3 Tips for Hassle Free Valve Boxes

Valves are the heart of your underground sprinkler system. They control what zones are on and off, when and how much water passes through. And valves live in a harsh environment. Hot & cold, condensation and humidity.

 

Eventually, almost every valve box needs some repair. It could be as small as a new solenoid or diaphragm or replacing the whole valve altogether. And there’s nothing more frustrating then having to get to valves that are awkwardly placed or difficult to work on. So here are three tips for anyone planning a sprinkler system that will make your valve boxes hassle free.

 

Preassembled Manifolds

Putting together valves can be tricky. Finding all the right parts, gluing the fittings together, threading the valves and then hoping your pipe connections will match up. But that sort of hassle isn’t necessary. Orbit’s Preassembled manifolds are the perfect solution. Straight out of the box you have everything you need in a durable, preassembled nature. So easy, these manifolds just drop right in. These come in two and three valve configurations, and you can expand with a simple fitting.

 

A good foundation

 

Usually a valve box protects the valves from weather above, but just as important is what’s below. Instead of placing your valves on the dirt, which over time will turn in to mud, place 3-4 inches of crushed pea-gravel. This provides a foundation that will drain any excess moisture, prevent weeds and mud from coming up and provide a solid base that won’t shift over time. As an additional measure, the valve box base fits our preassembled manifolds, with pre-cut inlets and outlets that perfectly match up.

Location, Location, Location

 

This rule doesn’t just apply to real-estate, it’s for valve boxes too. While we acknowledge a valve box isn’t the prettiest thing in the garden, there are ways to make valve boxes easily accessible while remaining inconspicuous. Make consideration of what your landscape will be like 5, 10 or twenty years down the road. The valve box that seems easily accessible now may have rose bushes on either side in five years. If you or your contractor have to get to those valves, for anything from repairs or simply turning on your system in the spring or winterizing in the fall, then those bushes are going to be a major hindrance.

 

Instead, make sure you’ve got plenty of room to kneel and get into the boxes. Perhaps consider plants that aren’t a huge investment and could be easily removed if necessary. We’ve seen people place potted plants over their valve boxes. You may even want our granite or sandstone rock covers to hide them.

 

These simple solutions ensure hassle free repairs if and when you ever have to get to your valve boxes.

 

 

Five Products to Save Time in the Garden

Spending time in the garden can be a great way to relax. But sometimes you’ve got more pressing things to take care of and don’t have much time to spend on plants. So here are five products that are guaranteed to save you time.

It takes the average person 120-30 seconds to change a hose end nozzle.  That time adds up and can be frustrating when paired with split water all over your work clothes. Orbit quick connects solve that problem beautifully, changing from one nozzle to another in a matter of seconds…literally. Hose end timer attached to hose faucet out doors

Speaking of hose end nozzles, the turret pistol may eliminate the need to change at all. With its multiple patterns you can go from a powerful stream of water for cleaning, to a shower for watering patches of lawn and flowerbeds, to a delicate mist for sprouting plants.

And if that’s bound to take up too much time, a hose end timer may be the perfect addition. Orbit offers timers with 1 to 4 ports, giving a myriad of options and programming flexibility usually reserved for underground systems. Just choose the right one for you, put the sprinkler into place, set the timer, and you’re all done. No more fussing.

Hand attaching sprinkler to eco lock pipeIf you have an underground system you probably already have a timer, but technology is taking huge steps forward, allowing us even greater control. The B-hyve sprinkler timer, with its smart watering capabilities, means you may never have to program your timer again. After initial setup, the timer uses real-time weather feeds to know when rain is coming, how much and what your plants need based on a variety of factors. Your lawn and garden will always get the right amount of water, but you’re off the hook.

And if there is ever a need for underground repairs, check out the Eco-Lock and PVC-Lock fittings. These patented slip lock fittings mean no more glue, no more mess, no more waiting. Just twist, push and you’re finished. The fitting is ready to go with no drying time and you didn’t need to use any chemicals or glue.

The minutes these products help you save will add up to hours and hours over the watering season; hours you can spend doing more important things while still enjoying a beautiful garden.

New Magnum Firehose Nozzles Bring Power and Versatility

56371New for the 2016 year, we’re releasing a range of firehose nozzles to give you a fantastic upgrade to hose end watering.  What’s so great about the firehose nozzle?  For starters, the core is crafted from strong, light and rust proof aluminum.  This metal housing ensures it will stand up to the abuse a garden can bring.

Surrounding that metal housing is a thick and durable rubber grip. This grip is made from uncrushable materials and provides a slip proof, insulated and ergonomic shape.56385

Finally, the adjustable nozzle gives you anything from a tight, powerful spray for blasting off dirt and debris, to a large and gentle flow of water, for watering plants or soaking the roots of trees.  The bright red color ensures the nozzle won’t get lost in the foliage, but be easy to spot.

Nozzles come in small, medium or large, so you can find the right fit for your hand size, with each one providing the same impressive performance and durability.

Pro Flo Timer Get’s the Job Done Without Fuss

Every year Orbit introduces a whole host of new products.  Some are brand new concepts which take a more innovative approach to irrigation.  And sometimes we find ways to make our best selling products even better.  In relation to the latter, we are improving a number of our lines and introducing the professional version of already popular products.

62041_cat_070115One such product is our new Pro-Flow Mechanical Timer.  This takes the already great Mechanical Hose Faucet Timer and gives it a boost in performance and durability.  The Pro-Flow timer works just like the original, similar to an egg timer with the twist top timer design.  The timer still has the same 15-120 minute run duration and requires no batteries to operate.  And it also still has the manual override.  But we’ve improved it with the heavy duty metal construction and grippy, oversized dial.  The internal design allows for up to 20% greater flow.

If you’re in need of simple, easy to use timer for your hose faucet, check out new Pro-Flo Mechanical Timer.

B-hyve App Makes Programming a Breeze

bhyveapp1The new B-hyve Wifi Smart Timer is making waves and customers are discovering the ease of setup and use.  We love hearing from them about their experiences and thoughts.  One commonality of many users is that they are barely scratching the surface of what the app and timer can do.  So, what can you do with the app?

Most importantly, you can set up zones.  Within the app you’ll be able to tell the B-hyve about each of the zones within your yard.  Apart from giving the zone a picture and a name, you can tell the Smart Watering feature certain details about the zone, such as soil and plant type, what kind of sprinklers you have there and how many, as well as shade and slope angle.  All this will combine to tell the timer the best way to water this particular zone.

If you’d rather tailor the program yourself, you can set that up through the app as well.  The B-hyve is capable of three separate programs, but can save up to dozens of programs, which you can activate interchangeably as the seasons and plant need fluctuate.

The calendar function will give you a visual representation of when the watering is going to take place.  It will show you when each program will be watering and/or when smart watering will be in effect.  Because smart watering runs based off of weather patterns, you will only see a few days out at a time.  But rest assured, the timer is constantly evaluating the situation to give your yard the water it needs. bhyveapp2

Under the settings tab you’ll be able to see information about your timer and B-hyve account.  There you’ll also have a record of past timer performance, so you’ll know when your timer has watered.

Finally, you’ll be able to see watering status in real time and even activate the zones manually.  So if a rain delay in in effect, you’ll know about it.  Or, if you want to test a zone, you can do that too through the app.  This makes turning on your system in the springtime very simple.  No more going back and forth to the timer.

Announcing Orbit B-Hyve Wifi Smart Timer

Spring is almost here, and that means the watering season is fast approaching.  And what better way to kick off the season than by launching new, cutting edge products?  Orbit is excited to announce the new b-hyve Wifi Smart Timer with WeatherSense Technology.

57946_01This timer has too many features to cover here, but we wanted to highlight some of the most impressive ones, all of which we’ll be covering in further detail over the coming weeks.

The b-hyve is a new timer, built from the ground up by our engineers, to use the latest technology.  The aim of this timer is simple: make programming and control easier than ever before and to save you water (and, by extent, money).  To do this we integrated the timer with WeatherSense technology that receives regular, real-time updates about weather conditions in your area.  The timer will know when rain is approaching and know to delay or suspend watering, resulting in a 25-50% savings in water use.

Each timer is programmable from our new b-hyve app (available for iOS and Android devices), as well as a web portal.  You can create detailed and customized watering schedules, see what your timer is doing and what is scheduled to do, and what weather is approaching that might affect watering.  You can turn on/off your timer and activate zones all from your smart phone.  So whether you’re five-feet, or five-thousand miles away, you have total control of your timer.

As opposed to other smart timers on the market, the b-hyve has full controls at the timer, so you can control it there to.  It also has our industry leading large screen to see exactly what’s happening.

It comes in a lockable, weatherproof cabinet for indoor or outdoor mounting, battery backup, hinged front panel for easy wiring and is Made in the USA.

Oh, and one other thing, the price.  $99 for the 6-station and $119 for the 12-station, making the b-hyve more than half the cost of the competition!  The b-hyve is available today at Home Depot and Lowes, and will be in other retailers in next few weeks.

Car Stuck in the Snow? Get Unstuck.

Many parts of the country are getting hit with heavy snow (while others have avoided it so far).  If you live in one of these heavy snow areas, you know how quickly it can come on and how it affects your commute.  If you’ve ever had the experience of being stuck in the snow, you know how frustrating it can be.  Your wheels just spin and spin, not gripping the road.  Well, here are some tips to remember if you ever find yourself in that situation.

Don’t overreact

When cars get stuck in snow, the first reaction is often the wrong one.  Hitting the gas and spinning your tires can have a negative effect.  It’ll just dig you deeper until you reach a slushy and icy base layer that has absolutely no grip.

Use the low gear and slow speeds

Put your car into a low gear and don’t hit the gas too hard.  If you have an automatic car, you may not need to hit the gas at all, the car will move forward at a nice slow speed.  The key here is to let the car roll over the snow, not dig in for traction, of which there won’t be any in snow.  If you’re in a manual/stick-shift, you may want to choose second gear, because the tires won’t spin as hard when you release the clutch.  You may also want dapoxetine.

shovelRock the car

If you can’t get out going the direction you want, maybe you just need a little room.  Try backing up your car and then putting it into drive, repeating this action multiple times, to get some wiggle room.

Use artificial traction

You might be able to get yourself out using Orbit’s Trunk Shovel, digging out the snow around your tires.  Another option is using sand, cat litter or other artificial means.  Some have used boards or even cardboard to get unstuck.

If all this fails, you’ll want to call for help.  It’s better to pay for a tow than risk making the situation worse through bodily injury or damage to your car.

Some Helpful Hints for Thermostat Install

Once you’ve purchased your new Orbit Clear Comfort thermostat, and confirmed it works (which we covered in our last blog post), how do you get it installed?  Our thermostat is similar to almost any other thermostat in terms of wiring, and the instructions are clear and simple, so we don’t expect you’ll have any problems.  But there are a few tips we want to emphasize, just to make sure you don’t run into any problems.

First, before removing your old thermostat from the wiring, take a picture with your smartphone.  This will give you a clear reference of where every wire went and can be easily referenced in both the new wiring or if you ever had to put the old one back in.  It would also be helpful to any professional help needed.  You could simply send them the picture and most HVAC professionals would be able to assess the tools and time needed for the job.  Furthermore, it’s good to have on hand if you ever have heating or cooling issues and need to consult a technician.  The wiring tells a lot about your system.

Next, before touching any wires, make sure the breaking to that area of your house is turned off.  Even though it’s low, those wires still care voltage and could give you a shock.  This may require artificial light depending on the lighting of the area.  We recommend a headlamp so you can work with both hands.

In addition to taking a picture of the wiring, you may want to label them as well, using the included label stickers that come with every Clear Comfort thermostat.  Though it’s not always necessary, it’s a nice backup.

Finally—and we cannot stress this one enough—make sure you secure the wires somehow between removing the old thermostat and installing the new one.  We’ve heard too many horror stories where those small wires slipped into the wall and were hard to retrieve.  This potentially turns a simple, ten minute job, into a long, expensive task, full of punching excess holes in drywall (which then have to be patched and painted), moving furniture and just overall frustration.  Perhaps use a strip of duct tape to hold them in place, or some other method.

From here it’s simply about following the included instructions, attaching some wires, and programming your thermostat.  As always, let us know if you have any questions.  We’re happy to help.