Irrigation maintenance extends the life of your sprinkler system and saves you money on water costs. Simple tasks like adjusting your irrigation controller seasonally can improve the health of your lawn, trees, and shrubs.
Cleaning your sprinkler heads is essential for maintaining your system’s efficiency. Leaks and clogged heads can lead to uneven lawn development, with dry patches marring its appearance.
Check for Leaks
Irrigation system leaks can waste a lot of water and result in high utility bills. Checking for leaks in your landscape irrigation system is one of the most essential parts of regular maintenance.
The first thing to look for is an unexplained spike in your water bill. There may be a problem with your controller settings, or there could be a leak underground.
Other signs of a leak include wet spots on your lawn that don’t dry up. You may also notice that grass is taller in a specific area than in other yard areas. A puddle of water near a sprinkler head is another sign of a leak.
To check for a leak, shut off the water to your lawn irrigation system. Next, check your water meter. A broken pipe underground can cause a slow rotation of the flow indicator on your water meter.
Clean the Sprinkler Heads
As the irrigation season progresses, you’ll want to check each sprinkler zone for clogged or damaged heads. Even small clumps of dirt or grass can hinder the performance of spray and rotary heads. Look for dry spots in a zone that indicate a head is clogged, damaged, or knocked out of position. You’ll also want to observe where water sprays to see if it’s hitting the pavement, such as a driveway or sidewalk, which can waste money and water.
Clogged heads can also cause uneven water distribution, leading to patchy lawns. It would be best to clean each sprinkler head at least twice a year to prevent clogs, maintain water pressure and ensure consistent irrigation coverage. This usually entails turning off the water supply and removing and soaking each sprinkler nozzle in a solution of warm water and CLR (or other approved cleaner). You’ll want to consult your system’s manufacturer for detailed instructions.
Check the Sprinkler Valves
Valves are the plastic parts that help direct water from the primary system to the individual sprinkler heads. They’re located in either a central valve assembly or each sprinkler head. Valves that need to be fixed can lead to consistent irrigation and wetter or drier lawn areas. Signs that a valve isn’t working correctly include uneven watering, low or inconsistent water pressure, and leaks.
In addition to ensuring that the nozzles are clean, checking and adjusting the sprinkler head positions is also essential. This helps ensure that the entire landscaping is being properly watered. Often a sprinkler head’s position is changed by people, mowing equipment, or debris.
Some other essential maintenance steps include observing the system to ensure that it turns on and off correctly, checking for signs of excessive pressure in the pipes, and performing semiannual pump system maintenance. For more extensive maintenance, such as de-winterizing and spring turn-on or winterization services, it’s best to hire an experienced irrigation professional.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Like an automobile, an irrigation system requires regular maintenance to prevent breakdowns and keep running smoothly. Irrigation systems can save businesses significant money and time in hand watering and help protect the environment by conserving resources.
The irrigation system must be appropriately adjusted to the specific needs of your landscape. For example, if your soil has a high clay content and doesn’t retain water well, you may need to water the lawn more often than in sandy soil that quickly absorbs and drains water.
If you notice areas of the yard with pools of water, yellow or brown grass patches, or unexpectedly high water bills, it’s time for a home inspection with an irrigation expert. Irrigation maintenance reduces water waste, prolongs the life of your system, and keeps the lawn healthy. Irrigation experts can also design and install drainage systems that prevent water damage.