Green system. Green lawn. Green in your pocket. Can your Minneapolis irrigation system do that?

water conservation Minneapolis sprinklers lrIt’s odd to look at a water distribution system from a water conservation perspective. But we’ve done this on the inside of our homes. We look at our toilets, faucets and shower heads. They are designed to use water. We conscientiously think about making those more efficient to be environmentally friendly. We are willing to invest in low-flow toilets and shower heads, are happy to turn off the faucet while we’re brushing. Being conscientious about the environment is admirable and beneficial.

The reality is that, while this helps, it pales in comparison to the benefits of water conservation on the water used outside our homes. Here’s an example. Throughout the country, the price of water varies dramatically. Here in the Twin Cities the same holds true, with some cities charging as little at $1.90 per 1000 gallons – all the way up to over $13 per 1000 gallons. On average, we use about 100 gallons/day our homes for all our water use which includes running the kitchen sink, showers, and toilets.

Compared to that 100 gallons/day of water usage inside our homes, a 7-zone irrigation system uses about 2500 gallons of water to go around the yard just once. Assuming a $3.80/1000 gallons, that equates to about $9.50/day for a system that only waters once/day. You’re easily getting upward of $20/day for a 15-zone system which is common on 1/2 acre lots or a 7-zone system that goes off twice/day. This translates to $35 – $150/week on the low side. Imagine what you could purchase for $35 – $150/week if you weren’t spending that money on your irrigation system.

What if you didn’t need to turn off your irrigation system to dramatically reduce the water used in your system? What if you could reduce your system’s water use by 40-60%? You could have a “greener system”, a greener lawn, and would save quite a bit of green.

Conserva Irrigation – Twin Cities was founded on this concept. We value environmental responsibility. We provide that with innovative water conserving irrigation techniques using our Conserva system and top-of-the-line Toro® components. We do this in a professional manner by having highly trained and qualified Conserva Irrigation professionals work on your irrigation system.

Russ Jundt Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

Russ Jundt
Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

To schedule your FREE INSPECTION in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul community, we welcome your call. 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.

 

 

 

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Whatever you do, please do not fix your Minneapolis irrigation system

water conservation Minneapolis sprinklers lrWhen you had your irrigation system installed, you probably didn’t do it yourself. You probably had an irrigation company install it and set it up to run automatically. Flash forward a couple years and the birds of spring are chirping for some lawn watering. If you’ve turned on your system yourself, you might well have noticed some broken heads, gushing heads, geysers, leaks, and/or heads not popping up and have decided that your system is in need of repair.  If we can take a line from advertising… “Warning; do not attempt this at home!”

As a homeowner, it seems that there’s always something that needs to be repaired and there’s always something you would like to improve. Wouldn’t it be a lot better to spend our dollars on the fun stuff like home improvements and buckle down to figure out why one sprinkler head is dribbling and another is not popping up? After all, the guys at Lowe’s and Home Depot have all the parts and are well versed in helping pick the right ones. I cannot tell you how many times we’ve received a call from a homeowner to service their system only to find a handful of Lowe’s parts and a very frustrated homeowner when we arrive on the property.

Whether a proud DIY’er or a closet DIY’er, I can tell you that this is definitely a job you should leave to the professionals. Regardless of the type of DIY’er we are, we all have had that time when we spent more in a failed DIY attempt than in just calling the professional. The last thing we need to do is get gouged on expensive repairs.

System Efficiency Score seal 250At Conserva Irrigation – Twin Cities, we feel your pain. That’s why we created Flat Rate Pricing. We don’t want any of our clients to feel concern about overpriced servicemen to keep you from getting the quick, efficient, and quality service you need on your system as you turn on your system for 2015. Not only do we have Flat Rate Pricing with complete transparency, we also provide discounts for water efficient systems.

When we come to check your system, we perform a Free Inspection – a 12 point efficiency evaluation to determine your System Efficiency Score® (SES).  If you sign up for one of our seasonal packages you will receive 10% off all of your repairs.  Additionally, if your SES score is 75% or greater, we provide an additional 10% off our Flat Rate Pricing.  It is true; since we’re transparent, that adds up to a real 20% off your repair bill.

So, if you’ve chosen to turn on your system yourself, and you see something awry, just give us a ring.  Our Free Inspection is just that –  completely free.  We will give you your System Efficiency Score®, and if anything needs to be fixed, a published Flat Rate Price list for anything that needs fixing.

Russ Jundt Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

Russ Jundt
Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

To schedule your complimentary irrigation check in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul community, we welcome your call. Give us a ring at (763) 434-5414, email us at twincities@conservairrigation.com or visit our website athttp://www.conservairrigation.com.

Minneapolis Broken Sprinklers Leak More than Water

water conserving sprinkler systems MinneapolisSpring has finally sprung, and it may not be the only thing adding excess water to your lawn. Now is the time to look closely at your sprinkler system. Perhaps, like some of us, last fall you may have noticed a soggy patch, but since the season was nearly over, decided to wait before looking at it more closely. That wet patch in your landscaping could be coming from broken sprinkler heads or any number of small issues in your irrigation system. This is causing it to drain water in unintended areas, like your driveway, the street, or even your neighbor’s lawn.

Small Leaks Matter

Did you know that, according to the EPA’s magazine Water Sense, one small leak the size of a ballpoint pen’s head, can spill over 6,300 gallons of water over the course of just one month? That is 30 gallons of water every single day for just one incredibly small leak (1/32nd”). Consider that here in Minneapolis, based on a February 2015 Public Works estimate, an individual uses on average between 60 and 70 gallons of water per day inside their home. Suddenly, those small leaks add up to big money you are literally pouring it out on the ground.

Plugging the Drain in Your Landscaping

Minneapolis broken sprinklers leak more than water, and at Conserva Irrigation we can help. Our professional service technicians offer a free 12-point sprinkler system inspection. Based on our System Efficiency Score (SES), we will make recommendations on what you can do, in a prioritized list, to keep your sprinkler system from draining your wallet and into the environment. If repairs or retrofits are needed, many times, we can make those repairs during that same visit. This means even more savings, since there are no extra hidden fees caused by excessive trips back and forth. Finally, in our quest to be completely transparent, we offer flat-rate pricing. A broken sprinkler head costs $30 to repair. No surprises. Our flat-rate pricing gives you peace of mind. The bonus to all this is our 100% parts and service guarantee. We stand behind our word and our work.

Russ Jundt Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

Russ Jundt
Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

Another positive side effect of stopping sprinkler leaks and using a more efficient watering system is that many of our happy customers have reduced their water bill by over 40%! To schedule your complimentary irrigation check in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul community, we welcome your call. Give us a ring at (763) 434-5414, email us at twincities@conservairrigation.com or visit our website at http://www.conservairrigation.com.

Sources:

EPA/Water Sense
http://www.epa.gov/watersense/outdoor/watering_tips.html

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
http://water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-home-percapita.html
http://www.minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/water/water_waterfacts

Our Core Values Set Us Apart in the Minneapolis Sprinkler Industry

What makes Conserva Irrigation different from other sprinkler companies in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro? Why choose us over someone else? The answer is simple: it’s our core values of professionalism, innovation and responsibility that give us an edge. This in turn gives you peace of mind and long term savings.

Core Priority #1: Professionalism

With Conserva, a professional will show up to service your system.

With Conserva, a professional will show up to service your system.

When you make an appointment to set up a service call, who is going to show up? Professionalism in appearance and performance are job one. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. This is even more critical when a service person arrives at your house. Our trained technicians arrive on time in recognizable, branded Conserva Irrigation apparel. We arrive in fully-equipped service trucks, ready to run our complimentary 12-point sprinkler system analysis on your landscape. With our System Efficiency Score (SES), we can pinpoint exactly what irregularities are happening with your lawn’s irrigation system.

Performance is the second key with professionalism. Perhaps, you have sprinkler heads that need replacing. There could be a valve malfunction or some other issue creating wet or dry patches in your various landscaping zones. Whatever it is, there is no cost to you for us to assess your system. If you need work done, we give you a flat rate price quote. This flat rate pricing levels the field. There is no more guessing what the repair is going to cost or wondering if that cost was based on your zip code or neighborhood. Many times, we can make our repairs on the spot. Our trained technicians thoroughly understand the irrigation industry. Our work is 100% guaranteed. All the time. Every time.

Core Priority #2: Innovation

water conservation Minneapolis sprinklers lrWhen we think of technology, we seldom have issues with updating our computer equipment or cell phones to the most reputable or effective model. When it comes to our sprinkler system; however, we tend to think that there are no upgrades that are ever needed, save an occasional broken sprinkler head repair. You may wonder what type of improvements are available for a sprinkler system. Aren’t they just fancy nozzles that attach to underground hoses and save you work? If you’ve ever watched in dismay as your sprinkler system went off during a rainstorm, you know that isn’t true. Ultimately, an efficient irrigation system will let you have a healthy beautiful lawn while keeping the maximum amount of money in your pocket, instead of in the water company’s bank account. At Conserva Irrigation, we have teamed up with none other than the world leader in residential, commercial and golf sprinkler systems: Toro®.  The Toro Company works tirelessly to create the most efficient watering systems on the planet. Through this partnership, we gain access and inspiration on how to transform each Minneapolis sprinkler system to create optimally healthy lawns, with perfect watering processes.

Core Priority #3: Responsibility

Being able to conserve water saves you money every month on your watering bill. It also goes a long way toward being a good steward with our natural resources. The difficulties arise in how to successfully go about conserving water effectively versus simply throwing money at a problem. Did you know that even one very small leak can waste more than 6,300 gallons of water each month? The case for conservation is a simple one: we all need to do our part. At Conserva Irrigation, using water responsibly is at the heart of our business. That good consciousness gets passed to you effortlessly. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources quoted environmentalist Daniel Chiras, from his book Lessons from Nature, “…building a sustainable society does not mean reverting to a primitive existence. The challenge is to find a new synthesis that melds the wisdom of nature with human institutions and technologies and lifestyles.” Having an irrigation system that combines targeted watering with conserving is a win-win for you and the environment.

It takes the winning combination of professionalism and innovation, combined with conservation to create a company to efficiently service, install, and repair your Minneapolis sprinkler system and to guarantee your peace of mind. Our core values set us apart in the Minneapolis sprinkler industry. Another positive side effect of stopping sprinkler leaks and using a more efficient watering system is that many of our happy customers have reduced their water bill by over 40%!

Russ Jundt Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

Russ Jundt
Conserva Irrigation Co-Founder

To schedule your complimentary Twin Cities irrigation check-up, give us a call at (763) 434-5414, drop us an email at twincities@conservairrigation.com or visit our website at www.conservairrigation.com.

Sources:

EPA/Water Sense
http://www.epa.gov/watersense/outdoor/watering_tips.html

MN DNR
http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/education_safety/education/minnaqua/leadersguide/appendix_1/7_5_water_facts.pdf

Saving the planet 20,000 gallons at a time

Underwater rivers make up a vast freshwater resource for Minnesota. Called groundwater, these deep underwater rivers and aquifers supply over 95% of the world’s freshwater reserves, and over 69% of Minneapolis’ public water consumption (in the form of municipal and private wells). We tend to think of groundwater as a part of the water cycle, where rain, ice and melting snow “restock” the water supply. Under ideal water conditions, with sufficient rain/snowfall, this is true for the groundwater that hovers just below the surface. Deeper ancient stored groundwater, sometimes called fossil water or paleo water, is another matter entirely. Once those water stores are depleted, they are not renewable. More and more reports continue to emerge regarding the expanding usage and growing impact on groundwater reserves, even here in our state. Water scarcity, as seen by the recent droughts, and the lingering plummet in water levels at several of our area lakes, including White Bear Lake, make conserving groundwater something even we Minnesotans with our 10,000 lakes need to take to heart.

Where do we start? How can we, in the Twin Cities, be responsible with our water usage without it impacting our quality of life? Conserving water can take on many forms, from turning off the water while washing hands or brushing teeth, to taking a shower that is just a minute shorter than your personal “normal”. Even installing low-flow shower heads and toilets helps save gallons per use. However; the water savings from these well-intentioned measures are just a drop in the bucket compared to ensuring that your lawn’s sprinkler system is working properly. One broken sprinkler head can leak over 20,000 gallons of Minnesota groundwater during the season: that is practically a small pond! And if you have more than one damaged head: yikes! Can you imagine a city’s worth of leaky sprinkler systems and how much water that adds up to?

You can help prevent literally hundreds of thousands of gallons of water going to waste here in the Twin Cities. Conserva Irrigation offers a free 12-point sprinkler system inspection.  No matter who installed it or when, our trusted professionals will give your system a thorough check and make certain that it is running as efficiently as possible.  Stopping leaks not only helps conserve groundwater, it also puts money back in your pocket by reducing your water bill. The positive side effect of stopping leaks and using a more efficient watering system is that many of our happy customers have reduced their water bill by over 40%! To schedule your complimentary sprinkler system inspection in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul community, and do you part to saving the planet 20,000 gallons at a time, give us a call today at (763) 434-5414 or email at twincities@conservairrigation.com.

 

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.

Governor Dayton Proposes Increase In State Water Fees

March 28, 2013

Governor Mark Dayton proposed an increase in state water fees. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The proposal would raise millions of dollars for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  • The increase, if passed by the Legislature, would more than double the amount generated by permit fees – from $5 million annually to nearly $11.8 million annually.
  • The DNR would use the funds to study water levels of local underground aquifers.
  • The price increase will be in the form of Permit Fees – aimed at the heavy users:  Municipalities, Farmers and Industry.
  • Homeowners will only see an increase of approximately $1 annually, while an average farm would see an increase from $140 – $500 per year, according to state estimates.
  •  The increase in funds would allow state hydrogeologists to place additional monitors to track underground water levels.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 28, 2013, Brad Schrade