The Do's and Don'ts of Sprinkler Systems

By Leslie Meredith
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What’s the largest irrigated crop in the U.S.? Coming in at number one with 32 million acres, our lawns must have a drinking problem. We indulge our lawns with 7 billion gallons daily, one-third of all the residential water used daily. Effective sprinkler systems can save time and money while doing something good for the environment. Proper installation and maintenance of your sprinkler system can help you conserve water without sacrificing a lush green lawn.

Do:

  • Use a sprinkler system. Watering by hose or with movable sprinklers wastes time and water. A properly maintained sprinkler system is well worth the investment in time and money.
  • Utilize timers. A timer for your sprinkler system can be purchased at any home improvement store.
  • Water early in the morning. Night-time watering can result in fungus. There is less wind, and typically better water pressure in the morning.
  • Utilize a drip-system for flower beds, trees, and shrubs. Drip systems get water directly to the roots, losing less to evaporation than traditional land sprinkler systems.
  • Install a rain shutoff device, soil moisture sensor, or humidity sensor in your sprinkler system to avoid watering when you don’t need to.
  • Install a freeze sensor to your sprinkler system. Preventing frozen and broken pipes is much easier than dealing with them.
  • Fix leaks and replace broken heads.
  • Use the right sprinkler heads for appropriate watering.
  • Blow out your sprinkler system before winter. Air pressure (don’t overdo it) through your pipes will release stagnant water that will freeze.
  • Check your sprinkler system’s water pressure. Too much pressure in your sprinkler system will waste energy and can cause damage. Toro, a landscaping tool manufacturer, suggests a gallons per minute rate running at 35-40 PSI. Use a flow & pressure gauge to set the sprinkler system and check regularly to maintain proper flow.
  • Energy Star suggests adjusting your sprinkler system controller at least once a month to account for changes in the weather.
  • Buy a few extra heads and parts for your sprinkler system. A few parts on hand will undoubtedly come in handy.
  • Call before you dig. Hitting power lines or other water systems can be avoided by contacting your city. Most will mark utility lines for free to avoid damage.

Don’t:

  • Don’t water the sidewalk or driveway. Design your sprinkler system to cover only the lawn and garden. Improper sprinkler systems can waste over 500 gallons a month on useless watering.
  • Don’t use your sprinkler system during any form of precipitation.
  • Don’t allow your sprinkler system to waste water by running off onto streets or into drains.
  • Don’t water during the day. It is recommended that you do NOT use your sprinkler system between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Don’t water every day.
  • Don’t run your sprinkler system on one valve. Pressure builds, and trying to locate any problems in the whole sprinkler system is a pain.

For more landscape tips and information, you’ll want to read our other articles: Landscaping on a Budget, Landscaping—Where to Start, Picking the Perfect Landscape Fence, and Green Landscaping: Eco-Friendly Ideas. You may also refer to the Landscaping Software Review which can be a great tool to plan your projects. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™

 
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