Landscape Literacy

Irrigation – Your Solution To The Summer Heat!

FAQ about Irrigation

Why do I need an irrigation system?

An irrigation system is a great way to make sure your landscaping investment is protected. Installing irrigation makes sure your lawn and plantings always get the right amount of water to keep them healthy, even when you are away from home.

It’s raining, why is my irrigation running?

With all of today’s advancements on irrigation systems, they run on extremely intelligent operating systems. These systems are even equipped with rain sensors. These sensors are able to detect rain and measure how much of the rain water is getting to the plants. Depending on the length of the rain shower, it does not always provide all the water the plants need and most of the water may be lost to runoff. If the rain is not a sufficient amount to water for the varieties of plants in your yard, the system will still turn on to ensure adequate water supply for strong plants.

What is a backflow preventer, and why do I need one?

In an irrigation system, water is under a constant pressure to enable water to flow from the sprinkler heads. There are instances that will cause the pressure in the system to fail, such as high demand on the water system, a burst water main, or a frozen pipe. When the pressure is reduced so suddenly it may allow contaminated water from the ground to be drawn up into the system and get into the clean water supply. This is known as backflow and a backflow preventer is required to avoid such an event.

Can I program the system to turn on and off automatically?

Yes. Today’s irrigation systems can be completely customized to suit the needs of your vegetation. They can be programmed to turn on at certain times of the day each day, a particular number of times per week, or however you prefer to schedule the watering of your plants. This, of course, will depend on the sun exposure and climate in your location. Your irrigation system will most likely be divided into zones and each zone can also be timed differently depending on the needs of the plant varieties in each zone.

When is the best time of day for my irrigation system to run?

It is best to run your irrigation system early in the morning. Running the system between 4:00am and 11:00am while the temperatures are still cool prevents water loss from evaporation. You should always avoid watering your lawn during the hottest part of the day, as well as late in the evening. If your lawn stays wet overnight it has a higher risk of developing disease.

What happens to my irrigation system in the winter?

Each year before the first freeze your irrigation system will need to be “blown out”, or winterized. This means any bit of excess water that could remain in the pipes needs to be completely removed before it has a chance to freeze. If there is water left in the pipes, even the tiniest amount, it can freeze, expand and crack the PVC. If there is water left in the backflow preventer, it too can crack the brass fixture. This can cause costly repairs or even an entire system replacement which makes it extremely important to have a professional winterize your system each year.

How does my irrigation system start back up in the spring?

Turning your irrigation back on in the spring is not as simple as flipping a switch. If it is not done properly it can severely damage the system, which is why it is best to call a professional contractor. They will turn the water back on gradually to ensure there is not uncontrolled water flow or a surge of pressure that can cause the pipes to crack. Next all of the zones shall be manually activated to guarantee proper operation. Each zone and individual sprinkler head will be checked for proper rotation, pressure and adequate coverage. If something is not right the filters will be cleaned and the sprinkler head will be adjusted accordingly. The controller will be reprogrammed for timed waterings and the rain sensor shall be cleaned for optimal reception.