Category Archives: FAQ’s

Sprinkler System FAQ’s

Why does my sprinkler system run when it is raining?
Although most municipalities require rain sensors, most systems either do not have one installed or simple maintenance is not performed annually to ensure that the device is working properly.  If the sensor is older than 5 years, consider replacing it.

Why does my sprinkler system continually run?
We have found that one of two scenarios is happening when a system runs continually.  1)  Human error in programming the controller.  Many customers get confused by the Start Time functionality and accidentally program in multiple start times – forcing the system to continue to re-start its program.  2)  Failed valve(s).  A zone valve can simply wear out or have debris caught in it, allowing water to continually run through it.  Flush the valve or replace it with a new valve.  Additionally, consider installing a master valve on the system, which only allows the system to be charged when it is supposed to run thus limiting the amount of time that the failed valve can continue to water.

Why does my street or driveway get wet?
Watering the street or driveway is not only wasteful, but it can lead to asphalt or concrete damage.  It is common that rotor and spray heads can move over time with the freeze/thaw cycle.  Simply adjust the head (which may require a key) to spray correctly.  If the head is damaged or unable to be adjusted, replace the head.  Your professional service provider can easily adjust or replace the head for you if necessary.

Why do I have a dry or brown spot in my yard?
It is common that rotor and spray heads can move over time with the freeze/thaw cycle.  Simply adjust the head (which may require a key) to spray correctly.  Additionally, the head may have debris lodged inside of it causing it to become plugged.   If the head is damaged or unable to be adjusted, replace the head.  Your professional service provider can easily adjust or replace the head for you if necessary.

Why do I have a soft or wet spot in my yard?
A soft or wet spot in your yard many times indicates that there is a system leak.  It may be a lateral (zone) line that is leaking or is damaged, or it may be the main line (indicated by constant leaking – even when the system is not running).  Have your professional service provider diagnose the leak and fix it before a lot of water is wasted or your turf becomes damaged.  You can turn the water supply to your system off until your service provider can arrive on site.  A leaking or damaged head may also be the culprit.  These can easily be replaced.  Likewise, a valve manifold may be leaking (usually inside of a green box buried in your yard) and will have to be diagnosed and fixed by your service provider.

How do I program my controller?
There are many different types of controllers on the market today.  Reference the manufacturer’s manual, if available.  If not, many manuals are found online in a pdf format and can be downloaded for your convenience.  Your professional service provider is also trained to program most controllers, and can show you how to make the necessary changes.  If the controller is outdated, consider updating it with a Smart Controller that is far more efficient and many times more intuitive than older technology.

What is the best time to water my grass?
Choosing the best time to water can save a lot of water and may even save your grass.   The best time to water your lawn is determined by several factors: rate of evaporation, temperature, wind, humidity (including dew), lawn diseases, and municipal laws (watering restrictions).

The best time to water is early in the morning (somewhere between 2 and 5 a.m.) when the wind is minimal. This helps to prevent water from evaporating, plus you get added moisture from dew. Watering in the morning helps to prevent lawn disease because this gives your lawn a chance to dry as the day progresses.

How much water does my grass need each week?
Without getting too technical with run time formulas (T= 60 x Eto x Kc / Pr x DU) a good rule of thumb is to give your lawn (cool season turf) 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, less rainfall.  Fewer, longer soakings are preferred and will train the grass roots to grow deeper.  You can run your system with a series of catch cans (Tupperware or tuna cans).  Record the average depth of water versus how long the zone ran and this will tell you how long to run that zone each week.

Why do I need a vacuum breaker / anti-syphon device on my sprinkler system?
An anti-syphon valve is a device that prevents liquid from returning to the line from which it came if a syphon action occurs.  An anti-syphon device is frequently required on outdoor irrigation systems to prevent possibly contaminated water to be drawn back into the water supply lines if water pressure decreases in the water supply line. So, to reduce the risk of allowing this contamination, many municipalities require that a vacuum breaker is installed correctly and per code.

Why does my city care about which day or what time I water my lawn?
In an effort to more efficiently distribute fresh water from a municipal well, city water managers have established “watering bans” to regulate when large amounts of water are most commonly used.  Daytime commercial water use accounts for much of the water used each day, therefore citizens are encouraged, or required, to only water during “off peak” times.  Additionally, other factors for efficient watering of your lawn are taken into consideration.  For example, mid-day watering is less efficient due to evaporation from solar radiation and higher wind speeds.  Therefore, many municipalities only allow watering in the early morning or later evening.

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