Maintain your system & consider high-value upgrades: Why & how often?
July is Smart Irrigation Month so we are focusing on irrigation systems in this blog. Irrigation systems are important for the health of your plantings and need regular maintenance to keep them working efficiently year after year. Damage from lawn equipment or improper winterization can cause leaks and other serious problems that can cost you a significant amount of wasted water.
Here are a few checks to perform on a monthly, yearly or periodic basis to make sure you’re maximizing your investment.
Adjust sprinkler heads. Remove or correct obstructions that prevent sprinklers from distributing water evenly. Adjust sprinkler head positions and spray patterns to avoid watering sidewalks or structures and to provide necessary clearance over growing plants.
Check the pressure. Pressure can change over time and negatively affect your system’s efficiency. Too high of pressure can result in too much water applied too quickly, causing runoff.
Inspect your system for leaks. Leaks are a huge water waster. A good contractor can perform regular maintenance checks for leaks, broken or clogged spray heads, and other problems. Ask your contractor to show you common problems to watch for between visits.
Winterize in colder climates. An irrigation contractor with specialized equipment will flush out water that could freeze and crack pipes, valves and sprinklers. It’s easy to overlook this type of maintenance but forgoing it could result in costly damage to your system.
Have your system audited. Hire a professional to conduct an irrigation audit and uniformity test to verify areas are being watered evenly and appropriately. Make necessary adjustments.
Rain/freeze sensors. These inexpensive sensors can be retrofitted to almost any system and help save water by turning your system off in rainy weather.
“Smart” controllers. Weather- or soil moisture-based controllers evaluate weather or soil moisture conditions and then automatically adjust the irrigation schedule to meet the specific needs of the landscape. These controllers take the guesswork out of watering your landscape, thus saving water over time.
Before you upgrade, look for savings. Many water utilities offer rebates for certain water-efficient products. Before upgrading your new system, consult with your local water provider to take advantage of any rebates in your area.
Source: Irrigation Association: irrigation.org