For jobsites with 50 zones or more, two-wire irrigation systems are a no-brainer, says Mitch Heiner, Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply’s National Irrigation Product Manager. They’re simple, effective and have a variety of benefits for commercial and large residential sites.
“They’re only two wires in the ground,” said Heiner. “But with those two wires, you can go up to six miles with the right gauge wire, because you can start with one phase and tap into existing wires in the ground.”
You can also include sensors and decoders to help manage and maintain the system, making it simple to spot problems and keep the system running and landscapes healthy.
That all sounds great, but if you’ve never installed a two-wire system, they might seem intimidating, but Heiner says it’s actually the opposite. In order to install a long-lasting two-wire system, you need to get two things right: the design and the connections.
Designing two-wire irrigation systems
An irrigation system’s design is its foundation. Without proper design and preparation, the benefits a two-wire system could have for your jobsite won’t be seen.
To start, use the proper products from the beginning. The wires should be double-jacketed, insulated copper wire coated in polyethylene to prevent cracking. Use waterproof connections to protect wires from weather.
Then, map the area, but account for future growth. Two-wire systems are made for large sites and have the potential to last for many years. If you design your site with the future in mind, you’ll get more years out of the system.
Installing two-wire connections
Ensuring proper connections is the best way to keep a system running. Once you’ve designed and mapped your zones, take your time installing the proper connections. Here’s how:
- Remove the rubber sheaths about two inches off the wire.
- Braid the wire with a simple twist to keep them together. Braiding the wires will help keep a solid connection.
- And finally, include silicone-based capped connections to make it water and weatherproof.
When it comes to installing a two-wire system, preparing your site with proper design and ensuring the system has strong connections will help keep it running for many years.