Irrigation systems need regular maintenance to keep them working efficiently year after year. While it is important that you, as the homeowner, to stay on top of routine maintenance, other care tasks are best left to an expert.
Do It Yourself
1. Inspect your System Monthly
While inspecting, check for leaks, broken or clogged sprinkler heads, and other problems, such as damage from lawn equipment or improper winterization. Based on your inspection, clean clogged screens and drip irrigation filters as needed.
2. Adjust Sprinkler Heads
While examining your 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.
3. Check the Pressure
Be sure to routinely check the pressure, which can change over time and negatively affect system efficiency.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Consider Low Volume, Drip Irrigation 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.
Do It With Help
1. Look for Savings
Many water utilities offer rebates for certain water-efficient products to save you money. Consult with your local water provider prior to upgrading your new system to learn of any savings that may be available to you.
2. Inspect the 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. While they are there, ask them to show you common problems to watch for between visits.
3. Have Your System Audited
Hire a professional to conduct an irrigation audit and uniformity test to verify areas are being watered evenly and appropriately, and make necessary adjustments.
4. Winterize in Colder Climates
An irrigation contractor with specialized equipment will flush out water that could freeze and crack pipes, valves, and sprinklers.