It is not uncommon for landscape irrigation to be 50% of your water use and cost. We generally install irrigation systems to conserve water and save money, so keeping your system in top notch shape is vital to this savings. Routine checks should be done frequently but we know life is busy, so if you plan a thorough pre-season check-up and another halfway through the season you may still prevent major issues and wasted water and money.
For those of you in the colder northern climates, be sure the ground is fully thawed before turning on your irrigation system. Check the soil at least 12 inches deep.
Inspection of the Controller - The controller is the brains of your system. As technology advances so do controller capabilities making them more and more efficient. It may be time to update to one of the “smart” controllers for even more savings, see our large selection of major brand Controllers.
a. Assure controller power is active and the unit is functioning.
b. Adjust clock for correct time and date, if necessary.
c. Check wiring connections to valves and sensors.
d. Replace backup battery (annually), if applicable.
e. Check zone schedules and update as needed for seasonal change.
Inspection of Valves, Sensors and Components - These components are necessary for optimal operation of your irrigation system. Using valve boxes protects components from sun degradation and extreme weather exposure. We recommend using approved waterproof wire connectors, such as Ideal Silicone Filled Wire Nuts and Direct Bury Splice Kits, found in our Electrical Accessories section. Many irrigation valves can be rebuilt, contact the valve manufacturer or our Customer Support staff for information regarding parts availability.
a. If valves are located in a valve box, clear any mud or debris that may have accumulated in the box over the wet winter season.
b. Check all wiring connections to solenoids. Repair/replace as needed.
c. Check that all manual drain valves are in the closed position before turning on the water to your irrigation system.
d. Check for any leaking or damaged valves. Open valves slowly to prevent damaging pressure surges. Repair/replace as needed.
e. Check sensor wiring. Repair/replace as needed.
f. Assure rain/freeze sensors are in a clear open location. Move or trim any tree branches or vegetation that may have grown over these units. Relocate if necessary.
g. Inspect and clean the filter. Replace filter screen element if needed.
Inspection of Sprinklers and Operation - Sprinklers are exposed to lawn equipment and foot traffic that can damage or alter installation. Even grass clipping build up in the lawn can hinder optimal operation. Arc (degree of pattern) and radius (the throw or reach) adjustments are pretty simple to do and often do not require any special tools. See manufacturer instructions for how to adjust or contact our Customer Support for assistance. Here is a short video showing how to adjust a Hunter sprinkler rotor: https://youtu.be/jJCN3HtpCRE
Before operating, check all sprinklers for missing or damaged heads or nozzles; and for any sunken or tilted heads from settling over the wet winter season. Make repairs as needed.
Inspect operation of sprinklers by running each zone and watching for any problems that need attention.
- Clogged nozzles with little or no water flow. Clean or replace as needed.
- Leaking from the top (pop-up) when system is not operating is a sign that debris may be stuck in the wiper seal and may have caused damaged. Clean or replace as needed.
- Inadequate coverage can be corrected by adjusting the arc and radius of the rotary sprinkler or changing to a different spray nozzle that better fits the area.
- Possible pressure issues such as, too high of pressure causing misting; too low of pressure reducing sprinkler coverage and stopping unit from popping up fully. Be sure you know the optimal operating pressure for your sprinklers and install or replace a pressure regulator in you system when necessary.
- A quality pressure gauge is a good investment for keeping your irrigation system in optimal operating condition. See our selection of easy to use Pressure Gauges.
- Walk your property. Look for any soggy spots in the lawn, this may be a sign of leaking within your system. This will also allow you to monitor your plants health and correct any over or under watering before it’s too late.
- Keep an eye on your water bill. An abrupt increase from previous month or year may be a sign of a leaking issue.
- Sprinkler heads installed on swing pipe assemblies have a safety cushion by allowing slight movement without breaking and flexibility for slight repositioning of the sprinkler head if necessary.