Tips to Perform Irrigation System Maintenance

Across Louisville, irrigation systems keep many a lawn filled with green grass and lush landscape features during the spring, summer season, and fall. A home irrigation system and sprinklers are especially helpful when the weather conditions don’t bring much rain to the area. If you install irrigation equipment at your home, regular irrigation system maintenance will keep water lines, valves, and heads working right and in good condition.

The process of maintenance for your irrigation and sprinkler head system isn’t complicated or time-consuming. To keep things working properly, Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing shares tips to help you maintain heads, test spray range, and detect leaks and broken or missing parts that you need to repair or replace. When professional repairs are necessary to resolve leaks below ground and other more complicated issues, call us to schedule a service visit.

The Right Time to Maintain Irrigation Systems and Sprinkler Heads

Louisville homeowners use irrigation systems most during the spring, summer, and fall. Before watering season starts in the late spring, you want to inspect the system and make improvements or repairs. The spring season is the best time to have a professional out to inspect your irrigation system. Your plumber will check for leaks and damage to repair, replace missing or broken heads of sprinklers, and fine-tune the system to reduce water waste and save you money.

In addition to professional inspection of your irrigation system and sprinklers in the spring season, you need to perform maintenance throughout the spring, summer, and fall to keep irrigation and sprinkler equipment in good shape. Irrigation system maintenance also allows you to continuously adjust heads for better performance and reduced water waste.

Tips for Irrigation System Maintenance

Overwatering season, make irrigation system maintenance part of your routine. This maintenance keeps irrigation and sprinkler parts in good working order while ensuring your yard receives enough water to keep grass green and landscape plants healthy. These maintenance tips will help you save money with your irrigation system!

1. Test and Check Irrigation System

Run your irrigation system at least once per month, even if there has been enough rain and the weather hasn’t made it necessary to use the sprinklers much. As the irrigation system and sprinkler heads run, you have a chance to test the performance of the system and check parts for problems in need of repair.

  • Watch out for dry spots in a zone – dry spots tell you the head isn’t delivering water to that area. This could be due to a clogged head or misaligned sprinkler.
  • Check for saturated soil and soggy ground spots – too much water pooling in an area often results from leaks in heads or water lines buried below ground.
  • Check the sprinkler heads individually for damage, clogs, or missing heads. Repair and replace problematic heads as necessary.

2. Adjust Heads of Sprinklers

It is often necessary to adjust heads in order to keep all grass and plants in a zone properly watered. Sprinklers and heads can be easily knocked out of position by lawn tractors, landscaping equipment, and even people walking or playing in the yard. Irrigation systems for homes use spray heads, rotary heads, or a combination of both. Spray heads are typically used in a small zone and deliver a consistent spray of water. Rotary heads change position to spray water across a zone that is larger in size.

  • Check each zone for dry spots and to identify where water lands. Adjust heads to minimize or eliminate overspray onto driveways, streets, and sidewalks, and to reduce water runoff from the yard.

  • Homeowners can adjust spray heads by turning them in position, pointing the nozzle to the zone, or landscaping features it is meant to water.

  • Adjust rotary sprinkler heads by angling them 90 degrees from the soil or ground surface.

  • If sprinklers and heads are stepped on or ran over, they can move lower into the ground under the soil level which blocks the head. Lift up any heads that have nozzles under the soil so that they are high enough to be positioned over the tips of grass blades.

  • Misting is another head issue that is usually caused by water pressure issues but can affect each zone from receiving ample water. If mist forms from heads, it evaporates easily or can be carried off by windy weather. If you install a pressure device, the pressure device controls water pressure to prevent misting from heads of sprinkler systems.

3. Calibrating Irrigation Systems

Too much water or too little can kill a green lawn, but many homeowners do not know exactly how much water their sprinklers or irrigation systems deliver. Calibration allows you to determine the watering rate so you can adjust the system’s run times accordingly. Calibrate irrigation systems one zone at a time.

  • Place 5 to 10 cannisters throughout the zone. The cannisters should have straight sides and be 3 to 6 inches in diameter.

  • Allow spray heads to run a minimum of 15 minutes; at least 30 minutes for rotary heads. Keep track of run time and turn off the irrigation system once most cannisters have collected at least 1/4th inch of water.

  • Take a ruler and measure the depth of water in each cannister to the closest 1/8th of an inch. Add all totals and divide by the number of cannisters to find the average depth.

  • Divide run time in minutes by 60 to find run time in hours. Divide average depth by run time in hours to find the irrigation rate in inches per hour.

4. Adjust the Controller

Irrigation systems and sprinkler systems run off a controller, which is like a timer or clock that schedules the operation of sprinkler heads. The controller should be adjusted throughout the season as watering needs change due to rain, weather, temperature, and other factors. These adjustments allow the controller to conserve water and save you money.

  • Adjust the controller to water more heavily when it is hot and less when it is cool, as plants and grass normally need less water as temperatures drop.

  • During the summer season when rain is frequent, you could shut off the controller and operate the irrigation system manually to avoid water waste. It’s also helpful to install a rain shutoff valve that will automatically detect rain and turn off irrigation sprinkler heads to avoid double watering.

Irrigation System Service in Louisville and Neighboring Communities

Taking care of sprinklers, valves, and water lines through irrigation system maintenance reduces water waste, will save money, and keeps your grass green – just how you like it. When you suspect leaks, broken heads, and other issues, call Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing for professional irrigation system repairs in Louisville and the surrounding areas.

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