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I'm pretty sure Jim is spot on. Had they turned that first elbow they would have eliminated half the fittings, but the head would have been lower.

That's what I saw, it looked like a street ell could do the same thing if you lifted the feed an inch, but I don't know much about sprinkler systems. I didn't want to mention it, but it was a union retrofit.

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I'm a union pipefitter now........... well, I'm union, and I do a lot of pipe work.

Street elbows are known to be problematic, and would have been a bad choice. Our company policy is to not use them at all, and from my experience of running around fixing leaks day in and day out, they shouldn't be used.

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