A lot of home owners have choose and are starting to choose to have irrigation systems or sprinkler systems permanently installed in their lawns. On top of that most newly constructed residential housing and commercial buildings come with sprinklers installed. What a lot of first time irrigation system owners don't realize is they require a certain level of maintenance to keep them running properly.
Often times problems in the irrigation system can lead to wasted water or property damage. If you don't fix a leak fast enough gallons of water can be lost an hour. If you leave a sprinkler head broke it can wash out an entire area of your lawn. Also your lawn can appear brown as if its not getting enough water if the system isn't working correctly or start to wilt due to over watering.
Most irrigation problems are easily resolved, but the issues have to be found so they can be repaired. The easiest way to maintain your irrigation system is to regularly turn on each zone and watch it for a minute to make sure everything appears to be working correctly.
Types ofIrrigation Problems
Sprinklers become clogged over time by dirt and debris that is trapped in the filter or nozzle of the sprinkler. When a sprinkler is clogged, little or no water is able to exit the nozzle while the system is running. Two of the main types of sprinklers are sprays and rotors.
Leaks can occur in sprinklers when seals become worn over time. Leaks in the irrigation system can lead to significant loss of pressure, which causes dry areas in the landscape. Unchecked water loss results in high water bills and overly wet areas in the landscape near the leak.
Sprinklers require adjustment to ensure water is properly applied to the right areas. If a street or house is wet after an irrigation cycle, the irrigation system should be evaluated and modified so that water is applied only to the landscape. A common problem is incorrectly positioned sprinklers. They can be slightly tilted so that the irrigation is not directed towards the target area.
Landscaped areas can change over time, and it is important to take into account the irrigation system design when modifying the landscape. For example, in the picture the rotor is located behind a large shrub causing water to pool right next to the sprinkler. This system could be modified to have a spray type sprinkler on a riser in order to irrigate the entire area.
Nozzles from spray type irrigation systems can become detached from the sprinkler body over time or cut off by mowers. When a nozzle is missing, the pressure to the rest of the system will be decreased, causing poor coverage and possibly dry areas. The area directly around the sprinkler will be wetter than usual, possibly leading to weed growth and/or fungus.
It is important to check for pipe leaks while the irrigation system is operating. These will likely be buried underground and may result in visible pools of water or large wet areas. If no wet area appears, but the zone has low pressure, look for an area of grass that is significantly greener than the rest and that may be where the system is leaking. Large leaks cause water to be seen above the soil.
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