Jesse Engebretson, President of Green Edge Sprinklers
Irrigation systems 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.
- Inspect your system monthly. Check for leaks, broken or clogged sprinkler heads, and other problems. Clean clogged screens and microirrigation filters as needed.
- 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 system efficiency.
- Inspect the system for leaks. Leaks are a huge water waster. A licensed contractor can perform regular maintenance checks for leaks, broken or clogged spray heads, and other problems. Ask them to show you common problems to watch for between visits.
- Install a rain shutoff switch. These inexpensive sensors can be retrofitted to almost any system and help compensate for natural rainfall by turning off your system in rainy weather.
- Consider “smart” technology. Climate or soil moisture sensor-based controllers evaluate weather or soil moisture conditions and then automatically adjust the irrigation schedule to meet the specific needs of your landscape.
- Consider low volume, microirrigation for gardens, trees and shrubs. Drip (or trickle) irrigation, micro-spray jets, micro-sprinklers and bubbler irrigation all apply a very small amount of water, slowly and precisely, minimizing evaporation, runoff and overspray.
- Have your system audited. Hire a licensed professional to conduct an irrigation audit and uniformity test to verify areas are being watered evenly and appropriately, and make necessary adjustments. · Look for savings. Many water utilities offer rebates for certain water-efficient products. Before upgrading your new system, consult with your local water provider.
- Water only when needed. Saturate root zones and let the soil dry. Watering too much and too frequently results in shallow roots, weed growth, disease and fungus.
- Water at the best time. Watering during the heat of the day may cause losses of up to 30 percent due to evaporation. Prevent water loss by watering when the sun is low or down, winds are calm, and temperatures are cool – typically between midnight and early morning.
- Adapt watering to the season. Familiarize yourself with the settings on your irrigation controller and adjust the watering schedule regularly based on seasonal weather conditions or invest in a smart controller so your system can make the changes automatically.
- Consider soil type. Type of soil determines how quickly water can be absorbed without runoff. Watering more than soil can absorb causes runoff and waste.
- Water more often for shorter periods. For example, setting your system to run for three, 5-minute intervals lets soil absorb more water than watering for 15 minutes at one time, reducing runoff,
Information obtained by www.txia.org