Installing and maintaining a sprinkler or irrigation system for your lawn and/or garden is a convenient and efficient method to keep your property healthy and green! It’s one of the best investments you can make for your home.
When properly designed, installed, and programmed, an irrigation system will help take the guesswork out of watering. It will also ensure your landscape gets the water it needs while conserving water, time, and money.
Irrigation systems need regular maintenance to keep them working efficiently year after year. Following are important tips for residents of central and eastern Virginia for making sure your irrigation system is working effectively for you during the growing season.
Irrigation Optimization Checklist
Irrigation Installation and Upgrades:
- Irrigation installation: Hire a professional to make sure your irrigation system is designed and installed properly. A reputable contractor will ensure your system operates correctly and efficiently.
- Look for savings: Many water utility companies offer rebates for certain water-efficient products. One efficient option is to have your system installed on a separate water meter. If you have plans of upgrading your system, a reputable contractor will give you a complete and honest analysis of your existing irrigation system.
- Program your irrigation system: Set timers to water early in the morning to reduce evaporation rate, water waste, and fungus issues in the summer. Program each zone individually and adjust settings as conditions change, e.g., change in seasons or landscaping.
- Install a rain shut-off 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
In the Spring:
- Spring tune-up: Damage from lawn equipment, normal wear and tear, or improper winterization can cause leaks and other serious problems. Check for leaks, broken components, or other problems.
- Check your soil: Use a shovel to make sure your soil is thawed to a minimum depth of 12” prior to turning on the system for the growing season.
- Check water pressure: Pressure can change over time and negatively affect system efficiency. Make sure the water pressure is within the suggested operating range, typically 40-65 PSI.
- Have your irrigation system audited: At least once a year, hire a professional to conduct an irrigation audit and uniformity test to verify areas are being watered evenly and appropriately. Make any necessary adjustments. Catching potential issues can result in significant savings on your water bill.
During the Growing Season:
- Inspect and adjust your irrigation system regularly: Check for leaks, broken, or clogged sprinkler heads and other problems on a regular basis. Clean clogged screens and micro irrigation filters as needed. 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. Replace broken or worn components such as nozzles, valves, and pipes.
- Inspect the irrigation system for leaks: Leaks are a huge water waster. Maintenance checks for leaks, broken or clogged spray heads, and other problems should be performed on a regular basis.
In the Fall:
- Winterize your irrigation system: An irrigation contractor with specialized equipment will flush out water that could freeze and crack pipes, valves, and sprinklers. The key is having higher volume of air verses higher water pressure. High pressure will resolute in damage to the system.
Need help from a professional?
Home & Turf has knowledgeable staff that can work with you to install and maintain an irrigation system that will work efficiently for your commercial or residential property. We offer a full-range of landscape, hardscape, design, and maintenance services in the Richmond – Hampton Roads – Northern Neck triangle of Virginia. Contact us to discuss your irrigation needs!
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