New Homeowner? 5 Things to Know About Sprinklers
When buying a new home, an essential part of caring for its exterior involves keeping your lawn watered. Many homes already have sprinkler systems installed for that specific purpose, though you might want to install some new sprinklers once you’ve settled in. In either case, learning about the best practices for using and caring for a sprinkler system will help you ensure its proper operation.
1. What to Consider in Choosing a Sprinkler System
If you buy a home that doesn’t already have in-ground sprinklers installed, you might want to install a system before sprinkler season begins. Choosing the right system is especially important, as there are two main types of systems you should know about before you begin shopping for the right one for your home:
A fixed sprinkler system consists of small heads that rise from the ground to spray water in a fan-shaped pattern. These heads don’t move, resulting in the water reliably covering the same area each time, but that also means you may need to install more heads to cover your entire lawn.
Rotary sprinkler systems also consist of small heads that rise from the ground, but these heads rotate in a set pattern to cover a wider area. The most apparent benefit, therefore, is that you’ll likely need fewer heads to cover the same area.
Additionally, rotating heads reduce mist, which tends to evaporate before it can moisten the ground. As such, rotary systems reduce water waste and ensure more soil is appropriately watered.
2. How to Use Your Sprinkler System
Once your sprinkler system is ready, you need to plan for its use, which is more complicated than it seems. You’ll want to avoid oversaturating your lawn, trees, and foliage. To that end, a good practice for checking the water volume is to run the system for 30 minutes. Use measuring cups or emptied cans to collect the water and measure its volume.
Since your lawn, trees, and plants require different watering volumes, that process will help you determine the correct settings for your sprinklers. Your landscaper, local florist, or some online research will tell you how much water each type of plant requires, so use the information you gather to create appropriate watering zones.
3. Know When to Water Your Property
The time of day you water your property is also an important consideration. If you water your lawn during the late morning or afternoon, most of the water will evaporate before it can benefit the grass and foliage. Therefore, the best times to water your property are early morning and after sunset.
4. Practice Good Sprinkler System Maintenance
Sprinkler systems are purposefully designed to be durable to ensure they can withstand rugged outdoor use. Even so, taking care of your sprinklers does require some form of maintenance.
Once per year, remove the sprinkler heads and soak them in a cleaning solution to remove the soil and grass lodged in the sprinkler’s ports. The system’s manufacturer will provide information regarding the specific cleaning solution type.
In addition, throughout the year, keep an eye on the sprinklers’ water pressure and measure the water output volume as previously described. These steps will help you detect leaks in the underground hoses, and if you suspect one, you’ll be able to schedule repairs immediately to avoid unnecessary water waste.
5. Recognize When Your Sprinklers Need Repairs
Aside from leaks, there may be other reasons that you require sprinkler system repairs. Keep in mind that your system relies on the use of electricity alongside a steady supply of water. Since combining water with electricity is always grounds for a hazardous situation, the system’s wiring and connections will have waterproof casings. With that in mind, if you see exposed wires, call for help immediately.
A sprinkler system will also connect to a transformer. Before the system’s installation, an electrician should check the voltage and capability of the transformer to ensure it can handle the new energy requirements. If you suspect a transformer or electrical component problem, turn the system off and call for professional help.
Create a Sprinkler System Maintenance Plan
Using the information provided here will help you develop a plan for taking good care of your sprinkler system. A consistent plan will help you use water efficiently to avoid waste and ensure your sprinkler equipment has a long lifetime, helping to reduce the costs and inconvenience associated with the exterior care of your new property.