Irrigation system

Time to turn the lawn sprinklers on!

You might ask why you need to pay a professional to turn on your lawn sprinkler system in the Spring.  That is a very good question and it all comes down to what services or irrigation expertise you are paying for.

Many irrigation contractors provide very little service for the fees they charge. If you are paying to have the water turned on, backflow reinstalled and the controller turned to the on position you need not pay anyone for that service; just do it yourself.

On the other hand a professional spring sprinkler activation and tune up should consist of the following items to ensure your system is operating at optimum performance and is not wasting water.

TriState Water Works provides the following system inspection and basic tune up.

  1. Recharge pipe system slowly to avoid pipe damage from water surge
  2. Inspection and cleaning of backflow to eliminate leaks.
  3. Pressure test mainline pipe to detect leaks
  4. Zone inspection to ensure each zone is operating correctly
  5. Straighten and raise up to five crooked sprinklers (additional sprinklers may incur added fees)
  6. Test and record ohms for each zone to detect potential system electrical problems
  7. Do a visual pressure test of each zone and note any pressure issues with recommendations for repairs or adjustments
  8. Clean sprinkler spray nozzles to ensure proper sprinkler coverage
  9. Inspect rain sensor for proper function and inform customer if repair is needed
  10. Replace batteries in wireless rain sensors
  11. Set a basic schedule for proper watering and to minimize excessive watering or run off
  12. Check and adjust sprinkler coverage to insure water is not being wasted on pavement

Not all spring sprinkler activations or irrigation start-ups are created equal. Ask your lawn sprinkler service provider for a list of tasks that are included with their sprinkler start up.

So how much should you pay for a sprinkler spring activation and tune up? If your sprinkler contractor is not providing most of the services listed above you are paying too much no matter what the price is because you are receiving no value for the money spent.

TriState Water Works has a base price for residential system with a 5/8 inch water meter of $80.00 for the first eight zones and charges $10.00 for each additional zone. If the system is in need of major repairs and has more than five sprinklers that need to be straightened or raised, additional charges may be necessary.

The difference in cost between what TriState Water Works charges and what others charge is usually recaptured in one water bill because we optimize the water use of your irrigation system.

When should you have your sprinkler system turned on? Usually any time after the second week of March is a safe bet for starting up your sprinkler system. I recommend calling early in the season to schedule your lawn sprinkler start-up; the best time to tune up your system is before you need it.

If you wait to call to schedule an irrigation Spring start-up when you need to run your sprinklers, you have waited too long. Your sprinkler company will have a back log and you might have to wait for a couple of weeks to get them out leaving your landscape to suffer because of a lack of water. If your system needs a major repair, which could also take some time to complete, there could be a delay of needed water for your plants.

Having your sprinkler system started up for the season early will eliminate thirsty plants when the rain stops. When the time comes that watering must begin, all you have to do is turn the dial on your controller to the on position and you will be ready to water, ensuring you have a lush green lawn and a healthy landscape.

For a free report on why your irrigation system could be wasting 30% or more of your water and what to do about it, click here for our free report “How To Save 30% or More on your Irrigation Water Cost”, and join our email list. We will send you a link to the free report.

Happy Watering!  Sean Mullarkey