Having an automated, in-ground sprinkler system is one of the many innovations that have made home ownership in Florida much easier, but it is easy to forget about seasonal sprinkler maintenance. The regular maintenance these systems require enables them to continue making life easier, instead of more complicated. Seasonal sprinkler maintenance will not only keep things running smoothly, it will also save you money. Continual maintenance allows you to avoid a large amount of repairs after years of neglect.
Why to Maintain Your System Seasonally
Studies have shown that lawn irrigation uses roughly 50% of all the water in a home. If you are not regularly inspecting and adjusting your watering schedule based on seasonal needs, you are wasting water. Wasting water also leads to overspending on utilities every month. If you do not properly maintain your system, it cannot function properly. More often than not, most the water will go to waste. (One thing to keep in mind is that an MP Rotator can save up to 30% on your water bill.) Water runoff and evaporation due to poor grading, improperly aimed sprinkler heads, and temperature and humidity changes will prevent the irrigation water from reaching the root system of your lawn and landscape making it ineffective. Another way to save money with poor soil conditions (such as clay or mucky soil) is to utilize the cycle and soak method – multiple run times through each zone with shorter run times, which allows water to slowly soak into the soil rather than run off. If you overcompensate by overwatering, you could cause more damage such as fungus, mold, root rot, and etc.
How to Maintain Your System Seasonally
In order to keep your system running at peak performance, you first need to make sure that there are no leaks or broken sprinkler heads. Check for any obvious signs of wear and tear. A broken sprinkler head is pretty easy to spot as the water turns your front yard into a geyser. A leak may be more challenging to notice, but if you periodically monitor your sprinkler system while it is running you can see if there are any changes to the flow rate or pressure, we advise that you call someone to have your system checked and repaired. In addition, there are a few other steps to take to make sure your system is running properly. (Tip: an average spray head produces 1 gallon of water per minute. With a broken spray head head you can lose up to 15 gallons of water per minute… cause a large water bill!)
- Examine the controller for any signs of wear and tear. Make sure it has not accidentally been unplugged or tripped a breaker. Also ensure that no pests have caused damage to the wiring.
- Verify that the date and time shown on the control box are correct. This helps to make sure that the system runs at the appropriate time according to your schedule.
- Make any necessary changes to the irrigation schedule based on your local climate. If you are in a rainy season, you may want to cut back on watering days, or vice versa for a dry season. Also adjust the watering time around the temperature as well.
- Check on the backup battery and change it out if needed.
- Make sure any external sensors like wind, rain, or soil moisture sensors are connected and working properly.
- Run the system for a few minutes in each zone to verify that all zones are calibrated properly and that all sprinkler heads are still aimed in the right direction.