Typical Maintenance for Your Irrigation System
You may think that having a sprinkler system is a set-it-and-forget-it process. However, there are many things you’ll need to do to keep your lawn irrigation system running well, and many homeowners find that hiring a professional to handle it is the best solution for their peace of mind.
Examine the Heads and the Water Pressure of Your Lawn Irrigation System
Any changes, whether sudden or gradual, in the water pressure of your irrigation system can indicate an issue. Someone will need to make regular checks for damaged and missing spray heads and leaking lines. Check each head to see if they have become impeded by plant growth, are clogged, or malfunctioning in any way. Broken heads need to be addressed immediately, and all the heads need to be cleaned periodically to remove small clumps of dirt and grass.
Evaluate Your Lawn for Dry and Wet Spots
After your system runs, you should check out your lawn. If there are areas in your landscaping that seem too wet or too dry, you may need to adjust your irrigation system heads to see if that evens things out. If the heads are positioned correctly, you will need to inspect the system to see where the problem is coming from. Dry spots can be caused by low water pressure, a plugged nozzle, a failing rotor, or a leaky line, and wet spots can be due to system drainage, a leaky valve, or heads that have been mispositioned.
Check in on Your Lawn Irrigation Schedule
Simply setting and forgetting your sprinkler system defeats the purpose of having a system at all. If you run your irrigation system constantly, you will waste water, wear out your system, and can damage your lawn. During a rainy spring or fall you don’t need to run the system as much as you will during the hot, dry days of summer. Keep an eye on the schedule and adjust as necessary. Installing a sensor or a smart system can help you make sure you aren’t over or under watering your property.
Check Your System Throughout the Season
Regular maintenance prevents failure and repair. Inspections, cleanings, and upgrades are all ways to catch small issues before they become big problems. Many homeowners value only do this once a year, when they are shutting down the system for winter or turning it on in the spring, but regular checkups will make sure that your system is running efficiently. If you are not confident in what you are looking for, having a professional for regular maintenance is a smart idea.
Flush the System in the Spring
After a long winter, you will need to get the system ready for spring. Make sure all the heads are clear, undamaged, and positioned correctly. At the beginning of the season, you need to flush the system. This will push out any debris and dirt that has build up in the pipes over the winter. Turn on the system and run it until the water runs clear. If this takes a long time, this may mean that there is a problem in the system.
Winterize Your System Properly
This should be left to the professional. Small homeowner air compressors do not provide enough CFMs to properly flush the lines. The backflow preventer needs to be properly winterized as well. Damaged backflow devices are very costly to repair and replace.
Hire a Professional to Maintain Your System
In theory, all the maintenance can be done by you, if you have the time and take the care to do everything thoroughly and correctly. But in reality, maintaining your irrigation system can be another chore that you don’t need to add to your list. Irrigation systems are easy to maintain when everything is running smoothly, but small flaws, mistakes made by someone who doesn’t quite understand the system, or missing maintenance steps can cost you dearly. When you hire a professional, you know that your system will be operating at optimal capacity and won’t need expensive repairs.
Having a professional maintain your system throughout the year – not just for beginning and end-of-season maintenance, will give you the full value of your irrigation system. You will know that your system is functioning well and giving your lawn everything it needs.