Sprinkler Maintenance Tips For This Fall

sprinkler maintenance

If your home has a lawn/landscape irrigation system, regular inspection and sprinkler maintenance are key to keeping it operating efficiently and effectively. In addition to utilizing a professional service, such as Spring-Green’s Irrigation Maintenance Program, homeowners can take an active part in their sprinkler maintenance program periodically by walking the property and looking for visual cues to verify that their sprinkler system is working properly or that adjustments or repairs are necessary.

This can be done anytime you are out on the property, but a as a rule of thumb, the more traffic or use an area receives, the more often it should be checked.

What to Look For: Sprinkler Maintenance Tips

When something goes wrong with an irrigation system, the consequences generally fall into two categories: wasted water and plant damage or loss. Water is wasted if too much of it is applied or if it goes where it shouldn’t. Plant damage or loss, as the result of an irrigation issue, can occur if too much water or too little water reaches the affected plant(s). As you might imagine, these consequences can be quite costly.

Here are some things to note for sprinkler maintenance:

● Persistent puddling or saturated areas, even when the sprinklers are off, may indicate a line break. There are many possible causes for this, including winter damage, unusual activity, and ordinary deterioration.

● Misdirected water—i.e. a sprinkler head is watering the driveway or the side of your house instead of the lawn or bed—may mean the head requires adjustment or an obstruction needs to be cleared.

● Sprinkler heads and rotors are the parts that distribute the water to where it belongs. When these parts become worn or damaged or end up missing, the evidence is fairly easy to spot when the system is running, but may also be apparent while the system is off. Rotors that don’t rotate will cause over-watering in one direction and brown spots in another. Pop-up mechanisms that no longer retract are easy to spot, as are missing or physically broken heads.

● Leaks may occur many different ways. Water lines, valves, fittings, spray heads and rotors are common areas where sprinkler system leaks occur. Look for water squirting or streaming out from behind a sprinkler head or from anywhere water should not be coming.

● Dead zones—entire sections of a sprinkler system not receiving water—may be caused by a line break, mechanical issues, electrical issues, or some combination of these. Diagnostics will determine which of these is the case and what needs to be repaired or replaced in order to resolve the issue.

● Electrical gremlins in the form of failed sensors, faulty controllers, broken wires and more can also cause sprinkler systems, in whole or in part, to be on when they should be off and vice versa. Like any other electronic device, the “smart parts” of your irrigation system wear out. And just like smartphones and tablets, smart irrigation systems and controllers  require updates and upgrades from time to time.

End-of-Season Sprinkler Maintenance

It’s fairly easy to spend a lot of money on irrigation repairs. If you want to see a big repair bill next spring, all you have to do is ignore your irrigation system this fall. Proper winterization to remove all water from the irrigation system will help prevent freeze damage to the lines, valves, rotors and heads.

This is often done by introducing carefully controlled air pressure to individual zones until the entire system has been cleared. While this does not guarantee there will be no damage from shifting and movement of the ground during freeze and thaw cycles, it does remove the threat of freeze damage caused by water left within the sprinkler system components.

Fall winterization is a key component of Spring-Green’s Irrigation Maintenance Program. Do you have any questions or concerns about the current state of your irrigation system or sprinkler maintenance? Please do not hesitate to call on your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green. We will be happy to share our expertise with you.

5 Tips For A Successful Sprinkler Start-Up

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Most of the United States is experiencing a lot of rain so far this year. With the only exception (Spring-Green service area) being the Pacific Northwest. Just Make sure to not let all this rain  keep you from remembering to turn on your sprinkler system.  As it is said, out of sight, out of mind.

This is a perfect time to recharge your sprinkler system. There are numerous do-it-yourself YouTube videos that show different ways to get your system up and running again.

Remember these 5 sprinkler start-up tips:

  1. Depending on where you live, one of the first things you have to do is reinstall the backflow preventer, especially in the northern areas of the U.S. This may seem like a simple process, but unless you have the right tools, it can be a real challenge.
  2. If you are able to reinstall the back flow preventer, then you need to know the correct procedure to follow when recharging the sprinkler lines. When you watch the videos, it seems easy enough, but if done incorrectly, you could cause damage to your system.
  3. If you get past the previous step without incident, then you need to check each zone to make sure the sprinkler heads, nozzles and rotors are all functioning properly. Along with those parts, you need to make sure the valves are functioning correctly and turning on and off the different zones.
  4. If a valve is not functioning properly, there are re-build kits available. However, you run the risk of losing one of the 10 little pieces when taking the valve apart which can be frustrating.
  5. Remember to check with your state’s requirements regarding the start of your system.  In some states, like Illinois, you need a licensed plumber to start up your system.

Unless you have more than a working knowledge of how the system works, you could be spending a good deal of time going back and forth to the sprinkler supply store getting parts. It would be well worth the money to have a professional company take care of the start-up procedures of your sprinkler system. Contact your local Spring-Green to see if they offer irrigation services.

Smart Sprinkler Systems: Upgrade Today to Save Money and Water

sprinkler system tips

Saving water should be everyone’s concern. Water is a limited resource and its availability is becoming a greater concern every year. Unfortunately, as homeowners, we don’t think about water usage as frequently as we should. We turn on the faucet and water comes out, we turn on our garden hose or sprinkler system and water our lawns and landscapes without hesitation – Everything is good!

Being smart about how much water we use is going to become a greater issue in the future. This is especially true when it comes to watering your lawn or landscape. It is estimated that outside water usage can reach 70% of the total water used during certain months of the year. We want our lawns to be green and our landscapes and gardens to flourish. Being green is a good thing and growing healthy plants is good for the environment, but you may be using more water than necessary to keep your lawn and landscape green and healthy—that’s where smart sprinkler systems come into play.

How Do Smart Sprinkler Systems Work?

If you have a sprinkler system, you should have an automated irrigation controller. Most of these have a season adjust or water adjust feature to allow you to cut back on water at certain times of the year. Try decreasing watering by 10 % and then wait a week or two to see if your lawn or landscape becomes stressed. If not, you were over watering. Try reducing it by another 10% and see what happens. If parts of your lawn show signs of drought stress, but other parts of the lawn look okay, then you may have a problem with sprinkler uniformity, which is compounding the problem.

Investing in a new controller that has water-smart features or installing rain gauges and moisture sensors will quickly pay for themselves. These smart sprinkler systems are designed to automatically determine how much water your lawn and plants need and irrigate accordingly without wasting water. Rain gauges are also helpful to shut the system off when it rains. Even if you only replace your current controller with one that has water smart technology will help. Then, over time, add moisture sensors and rain gauges to become even more efficient.

Saving water should be everyone’s concern. Do your part and upgrade your sprinkler system. You will save money and water, which is a win-win.