Category Archives: Common Sprinkler Problems/Repairs

Tales from the irrigation inspection crypt: buried sprinkler heads waste gallons of fresh water while leaving your lawn brown

“I don’t need an inspection of my irrigation system, it’s working just fine.”

Are you sure? With your Twin Cities sprinkler system being completely buried under ground would you know if you were having a problem? There are so many variables to running an efficient irrigation system from current weather, to what happened over the winter and who has been doing work in your yard lately. It is vital that you have a regular inspection to find anything that could be unseen underground wreaking havoc on your lawn, garden and your water bill. With Conserva Irrigation of the Twin Cities an inspection is completely free, so you have nothing to lose.

planting_a_tree_twin_citiesWhat you don’t know, can hurt you

Your system appears to be working fine. You don’t see any broken sprinkler heads above ground, so everything is great, right? Maybe not. Instead of telling you what could happen, let us tell you about hidden problems we have seen in the hundreds of free inspections we’ve done.

Underground lines are cut

Whenever your landscaping is changed by you or anyone else you should have us do a free 12-point inspection. We’ve found lines cut and leaking underground from a customer planting a tree nearby. This can cause high long term water costs as it may be impossible to detect with a naked eye. We’ve also discovered breaks in lines occurring from winter conditions beyond anyone’s control. The natural shift in the land from the freeze/thaw effect can and does affect your irrigation. Do you have any burrowing rodents? A mouse or ground hog can dig around causing sinking around lines that lead to breaks and cracks and leaky lines.

Night time watering can lead to unnoticed issues

night_irrigation_minneapolisLocal homeowners who run their sprinkler system at night (and they should) were unaware of an issue with their system until it had been going on for a long time. They noticed some brown spots in their lawn and were unsure of what could possibly be happening. When we did our free 12-point inspection we were able to identify that the 3 zones in that area of his yard were not working at all, find the reason why they were not working and fix them. If you’re system runs when you are not home or asleep, there could be any number of issue or inefficiencies that you are unable to observe.

The destruction, covering or burying of sprinkler heads

We recently went out for a free 12-point inspection and discovered that a sprinkler head had been concreted into a new fence post. When work is done on your property things like this can happen. We’ve seen fences put up with sprinkler heads ending up on the outside of the fence. We’ve seen patios and sheds placed right over sprinkler heads. Just the other day we found a sprinkler head buried in asphalt from a driveway expansion.

Natural maturation of landscape requires adjustments

mature_landscapes_need_water_too_Conserva_MinneapolisThink about the natural changes in your landscape. Did a once small bush spread out across the entire length of your fence over the past few years? Is part of that bush not getting the water it needs? Did a small tree grow very large? That now large tree has large spreading roots that can easily disrupt your irrigation system. Maybe you’ve added some more trees, bushes and perennials since your installation? We can retrofit and add micro irrigation to make sure your new plants and now matured plants are getting the amount of hydration they need.

With our free 12-point evaluation you can at the very least have the peace of mind knowing that there are no issues with your system. We’ll provide you with a System Efficiency Score from 1-100 along with a flat-rate quote for any repairs, so you will know right away just what it will cost with no hidden surprises later. While there might be nothing wrong with your system, you may learn about some new technologies that could be added to save you water and money. Most people over-water by 50%. By adding new technology you can reduce your water bill by 40-60% allowing you to irrigate responsibly and more affordably.

Russ Jundt Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

Russ Jundt
Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

At Conserva Irrigation, we want every irrigation system to be working at peak efficiency. Contact us to install your new Minneapolis irrigation system or to schedule your FREE INSPECTION on your existing system. Give us a ring at (763) 434-5414, email us at twincities@conservairrigation.com or visit our website at www.conservairrigation.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping make your irrigation system an efficient water conservation system.

Advertisements

Moving Heads

Have you been told to “Move Some Heads” on your irrigation system?

Why would an irrigation service technician suggest this?

As homeowners, our yards and landscaped areas change over time for a variety of reasons:

  • Decks, Screened Porches or Patios are added to our homes and yards
  • Borders change
  • Shrubs and gardens grow and expand
  • Swing sets, hot tubs and other fun toys are added
  • And so on….

The Solution:

A trained irrigation technician can move heads to accommodate the landscape change(s) so that the intended turf or landscape can more effectively and efficiently be watered.  Some systems are built with saddles and swing pipe while others are built with risers, and still others are built in a variety of unique ways.  A properly trained technician, coupled with a properly stocked service vehicle, can accomplish these head movements with relative ease.  More importantly, there is little or no damage to the turf and landscape while moving the heads, so in no time, the yard will recover and the irrigation system will perform much better.

Match Precipitation Rates

Does your system have “Mixed Precipitation Rates” in the same zone?  Meaning, does the zone have “mixed head types” (Rotor Heads and Spray Heads)?

What does this mean?

A standard Rotor Head (3.0 gal/min. nozzle at 45 lbs. of pressure) will deliver 0.37 – 0.42 inches of precipitation per hour.

A standard Spray Nozzle (RainBird 10′ radius, 180 degree at 30 lbs. of pressure) will deliver 1.45 gal/min. totalling 2.80 – 3.23 inches of precipitation per hour.

What does this mean?  The Spray Heads in the zone are delivering 6 – 8 times more water (precipitation rate) than the Rotor Heads.  Since controllers run your sprinkler system per zone, that means that you are way over-watering the smaller areas of the zone (spray heads) while more correctly watering the larger areas (Rotor Heads).  Or, if you change the controller to water less time to accommodate the Spray Heads, then you are way under-watering the larger areas (Rotor Heads).

The Solution:

Remove the standard spray nozzle from the Spray Heads and replace them with a Toro Precision™ Rotating Nozzle  (the nozzles can easily be swapped without digging our or changing the Spray Head) to more closely match the precipitation rates of the Rotor and Spray Heads.  A Toro Precision™ Spray Nozzle set at 180 degrees at 40 – 50 lbs. of pressure will deliver a precipitation rate of 0.56 – 0.64 inches per hour, which more closely resembles the rate of the Rotor Head.  Therefore, the zone can be watered more evenly – even though there are two different types of heads on the zone.

 

Broken or Inoperable Spray Heads

Upon inspection, a Spray Head may be found to be broken or inoperable. The most common observations include:

  • Broken Head – due to external forces – snow plow, lawn mower, vandalism, accidental damage by human or animal, driving over while operating.
  • Bad Seal – due to intrusion of sand or grit, aging/dried-out seal, external forces, such as stepping on or driving over while operating.

Ultimately, the easiest and most cost-effective solution is to replace the head. New spray heads (including the Precision™ Series Spray Nozzle or Precision™ Series Rotating Nozzle) come with a one year warranty on parts and labor and installation takes about the same amount or less time than repairing a damaged rotor head.

Broken or Inoperable Rotor Heads

Broken or Inoperable Rotor Heads

Upon inspection, a Rotor Head may be found to be broken or inoperable.  The most common observations include:

  • Broken Head – due to external forces – snow plow, lawn mower, vandalism, accidental damage by human or animal, driving over while operating.
  • Bad Seal – due to intrusion of sand or grit, aging/dried-out seal, external forces, such as stepping on or driving over while operating.
  • Not Rotating – due to wear and tear, sand or grit, damaged caused by external forces.

Ultimately, the easiest and most cost-effective solution is to replace the head.  New rotor heads come with a one year warranty on parts and labor and installation takes about the same amount or less time than repairing a damaged rotor head.

Clogged Spray Nozzles

Clogged Spray Nozzles

Upon inspection, a Spray Nozzle may be found to be clogged or inoperable. The most common observations include:

  • Clogged Nozzle – due to sediment or debris in the irrigation water.  This may occur immediately after installation due to construction debris or rocks and dirt being in the sprinkler lines, or may simply occur over time with sediment entering the nozzle after the system runs.

Ultimately, the easiest and most cost-effective solution is to replace the spray nozzle. New Precision™ Series Spray Nozzles come with a one year warranty on parts and labor and installation takes about the same amount or less time than repairing a clogged nozzle.