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Spring is the time to make sure your sprinkler system is working correctly. Maybe a lawnmower damaged a sprinkler head, or there’s an in-ground pipe leak. Perhaps an entire zone is not functioning. More than likely, you wouldn’t know about these issues, unless someone does an inspection. We suggest having an irrigation company do the initial spring turn-on, inspection, and repairs (if needed).

Believe it or not, we once saw a structural issue develop because of an inground sprinkler pipe leaking. The long-term water leak washed out the soil underneath one of the foundation footings and part of the basement slab. Unfortunately, substantial structural repairs were necessary. Nobody knew about the problem until after the damage occurred. Granted, this is a very rare case, but it shows that it pays to keep an eye on the irrigation system.

One of the most common issues with irrigation systems is they run too long. This keeps the ground soggy and causes issues with the lawn, and shrubs.  Running the zones for 15 or 20 minutes Is a good rule of thumb. By the way, we recommend setting up the sprinklers to turn on just after sunrise to reduce evaporation and save on your water bill.

Another recommendation: consider getting a Smart Irrigation System Timer. You can get them for well under $100. These enable you the convenience of operating your entire sprinkler system from your phone. There is a lot more information on the Internet if you want to learn more.

We hope you find these tips useful.

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Lawn Sprinklers

Lawn sprinkler systems are often part of our home inspections.  Some of them are small with only a few zones and some of them can have 30 or 40 zones (for larger luxury Properties).

As I’m sure you realize, lawn sprinklers have to be “blown out” at the end of every season in order to avoid freeze ups and broken pipes.  The blowouts usually happen in November in preparation for freezing temperatures in winter.  It’s usually fairly economical ($100 or less for average properties) to blow out sprinkler systems.

In the spring, it’s a good idea to have a sprinkler company turn the system on and check for proper operation on all of the zones.  This is also fairly economical.

We often find sprinkler systems running too long making the ground soggy and prone to disease.  According to the SCOTTS website recommendations, approximately 1 inch to 1 ½ inches of water every few days is a good rule of thumb.  A few days between watering can make the grassroots go deeper and be healthier.  In order to measure how much water your sprinkler system is delivering, you can put some cans at various locations in the yard the yard, then run the sprinklers until the water in the cans is 1 or 1½ inches deep and keep track of the time.  That is the amount of time you should set sprinkler system to run.  Of course, all lawns are different, some soils contain a lot of clay and some soils contain a lot of sand.  So water demands can be different.

Although it’s not code everywhere, it’s a good idea to have a backflow preventer on the sprinkler system.  A backflow preventer stops water from reversing its flow from the lawn and back into your own drinking water as well as the public water pipes.  A backflow preventer is typically installed close to the main water valve by a plumber.

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