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Maintenance Tips for Your Irrigation System and Sprinkler Heads

Many Central Indiana homeowners use irrigation systems and spray heads to maintain the home’s yard and landscape, avoid dry spots when rain is minimal, and keep the lawn lush and green over the summer season. When you install this equipment, irrigation system maintenance is a must to keep irrigation system lines and sprinkler heads working properly.

During the process, inspect and adjust heads and valves, repair or replace broken, missing, or clogged heads to prevent leaks, and test and check for signs of leaks so that repairs can be made by a professional to help you save money and water waste. Williams Comfort Air shares maintenance tips to help you keep your system and all of its components in proper working order. If you need professional repairs for your system due to poor water pressure or other issues, give us a call.

When to Perform Maintenance for Irrigation Systems and Sprinklers

Irrigation system and sprinkler use in the Indianapolis area varies by season, with these systems seeing the most action in the summer and some use during the spring and fall. During the spring season, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with your home plumbing professional. A plumber will inspect all water lines, valves, and spray heads as he or she checks for leaks, damage, and missing components. The plumber will check water pressure and adjust the spray of heads as necessary to deliver proper watering coverage in each zone of your yard.

In addition to having a professional inspect your irrigation system and sprinkler system before the start of watering season, system maintenance needs to be performed throughout the season. Test and inspect the system about once per month throughout the spring, summer, and fall as the irrigation and sprinkler system is in use.

Irrigation System Maintenance Tips 

Throughout the season, perform irrigation system maintenance to ensure all parts are in good shape. Maintenance alerts you to the need for repairs to improve the function of the system or replace missing and broken heads. With proper maintenance, you can save money, reduce water waste, and gain better performance from irrigation systems and sprinkler systems.

1. Test and Check

Each month, run your irrigation system even if there has been ample rain and the weather hasn’t forced you to water the lawn often. This test allows you to observe the performance of the system and its heads.

  • Look for dry spots of grass that aren’t receiving water from the heads, which can indicate a clog.
  • Check for soggy ground and soil which could indicate leaks or broken lines.
  • Observe the spray of each head to determine if you need to adjust the head for more accurate spray in the zone.
  • Check each of the sprinkler heads to see if they are clogged or damaged, and repair or replace as needed.

2. Adjust Sprinkler Heads

To ensure grass in each zone of your lawn is properly watered, you may need to periodically adjust the spray of sprinkler system heads. It’s easy for heads to be unintentionally moved as you work to maintain your landscape, or by people traveling through the yard. Home irrigation systems often use spray heads, rotary sprinkler heads, or both – a spray head delivers a consistent water stream to a small zone while rotary heads move to deliver water over the larger zone.

  • Observe the spray of each sprinkler in your irrigation system to see where water hits. Water from the heads should be directed at your landscape or yard only – you want to avoid sending water to the street, driveway, or sidewalk. Look for excess water runoff which indicates a zone is receiving too much water.

  • To adjust a spray head, twist the head to position the nozzle so it is aligned with the landscape or grass it is intended to water.

  • Dry spots are common when rotary heads are tilted. Adjust a rotary sprinkler so its head is at a right angle to the ground and soil surface.

  • Heads may be depressed into the soil, affecting their water pattern. Pull up heads so they sit above the top of your grass.

  • Make sure heads are not misting, which can cause waste and prevent grass from receiving water. Misting is caused by high pressure – install a pressure device to control water pressure and avoid this waste.

3. Calibrate the Irrigation System

Ensure your yard receives the right amount of water and avoid over or under-watering your grass when you calibrate the irrigation system. This process shows you how much water is applied by heads over a certain time period. Knowing the rate at which your sprinklers deliver water will help you better time watering to maximize savings and limit waste.

  • Calibrate your irrigation system one zone at a time, placing 5 to 10 straight-sided containers that are 3 to 6 inches in diameter throughout the area – old coffee cans are good for this test.

  • Run the irrigation system long enough to gather ¼-inch of water in most of the containers. For spray sprinkler heads, run the system at least 15 minutes; run the irrigation system at least 30 minutes if using rotary heads.

  • Measure water depth in each container with a ruler to the nearest 1/8 inch. Average the depth by adding the total from all containers and dividing by the number of containers. Divide the number of minutes your irrigation system ran by 60 and divide the average depth by this number – this will give you the irrigation rate, stated by inches per hour.

4. Set Controller Schedule

The irrigation system controller is a timer or clock that is programmed to deliver water based on the needs of your lawn. Adjustments are required each season due to temperatures, rain, and weather patterns. Setting the right schedules avoids your sprinklers spraying too much water in areas, causing waste and other issues.

  • Seasonally, set the controller to deliver the proper amount of water for your grass and plants. Less water is typically needed when it is cool, while more water is necessary when it is warm.

  • During periods of heavy rain such as the summer, you could opt to turn off the controller and forego regular use of the irrigation system to save water and money.

  • Install a rain shutoff device that will automatically turn off your irrigation system during rain to save water and avoid delivering too much water to the lawn.

Irrigation System Repairs in Central Indiana

When you perform regular irrigation system maintenance for water lines and sprinkler system heads, you’ll be able to keep this equipment in good shape and save money while ensuring your grass and plants are properly watered. If you suspect leaks, have pressure problems, or notice other system issues, call Williams Comfort Air for professional repairs and inspection of your irrigation system.

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