10 Practices to Maintain Your Sprinkler System

Monday, June 25, 2018
Congratulations, you invested in a smart sprinkler system.

Now, that your system is up and running, you need to maintain it, so it continues to save your money on your water bills as well as conserves this finite resource.

To get a return on your investment, you need a summer maintenance plan to keep your water sprinkler working its best.
Sprinkler System

10 Practices to Maintain Your Sprinkler System
Since your lawn sprinkler system is open during the spring, summer and fall months, it makes sense that you employ good maintenance practices to keep it working when you need it the most.

Here are those 10 practices to maintain your lawn sprinkler system:

1.  Know how long it takes for your sprinkler to water an inch of turfgrass: For optimum health, your lawn and landscape need one inch of water per week. Typically, an efficient sprinkler system should deliver 1” of water in 15 minutes.

To measure how much water your sprinkler delivers in 15 minutes, set out tuna cans in different watering zones. Then turn on your sprinkler system for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes are up, take a ruler and measure how much water is in the zone’s cans. If it shows only a quarter of an inch, you may need to readjust your system, look for a leak, or unclog a sprinkler head.

2.  Adjust your watering schedule based on the season: In spring, your lawn and landscape don’t need the same amount of water as they do in the middle of July. When the temperatures drop in the fall, you need to readjust your system to deliver less water or lower the frequency of your output.

 Additionally, different parts of your property have varying watering needs. For example, your lawn that faces northward and is in the shade has half the watering needs as the part of your yard that’s in full sun all day long. Adjust your zones to meet each areas’ watering needs.

 3.  Regularly inspect your entire watering system for leaks, broken lines or misdirected sprinkler heads: Leaks, broken lines and misdirected sprinkler heads waste water and dollars. If one area of your lawn has puddles and another zone is completely dry, it could indicate that there is a leakage or a misdirected sprinkler head. Investigate to pin down which one is the problem and fix it.

4.  Install a rain or rain/freeze sensor to save more water: When it starts to rain or when the air temperature falls to 32°F, a rain or rain/freeze sensor will shut off your irrigation system right away to avoid wasting water.

5.  Repair or replace damaged and clogged sprinkler heads: A monthly inspection of your sprinkler system allows you to find and replace damaged sprinkler heads.

6.  Clear obstructed or blocked lawn sprinklers: If your sprinkler heads are shooting water directly onto an object, such as a car or a tree, then readjust the heads to the areas that you want to water.

7.  Check for sprinkler run-off: If one area is getting too much water or your sprinkler is watering your driveway, you want to adjust your sprinkler heads. Sprinkler run-off not only wastes water, but it potentially sends pollutants into storm drains.

8.  Fix your sprinkler so there’s no high pressure misting: When your lawn sprinkler has high pressure misting, the  water turns to tiny droplets and gets carried by the wind or forms a cloud of mist at the spot it’s supposed to be watering. You can fix this problem by installing a pressure device to regulate water pressure.

9.  If you have clay soils or your sprinkler is set on a slope, then change your sprinkler timer to cycle and soak: It takes water longer to percolate deep in the soil when the sprinkler is on a slope or you have heavy clay soil. To remedy that problem, set your system to go off in 7-minute intervals to determine if that’s the right amount of time before the water starts to run off. You can adjust that time based on how long it takes for run-off to start.

Afterward, you can set your sprinkler timer to go off every seven or so minutes to allow water to soak deep into the soil. Then after the seven minutes are up, your lawn sprinkler turns off for seven minutes, and then, on again for another cycle.

10.  Hire a contractor to audit your system once or twice during the summer: A contractor who’s certified to inspect irrigation systems should check your system one or two times during the summer to make sure everything’s in working order.

How K-Rain Can Help You with Your Monthly Maintenance Checks

At K-Rain, we carry replacement sprinkler heads, rain/freeze sensors, sprinkler valve parts, and other irrigation system supplies.

It’s best to stay with the same company as your current sprinkler system. So, if you installed a K-Rain sprinkler system, we have all the parts you need to make any repairs or replacements.

Our irrigation products are sold at Lowe’s and The Home Depot. If it’s time for your lawn sprinkler system’s audit, we can connect you with a K-Rain contractor.

If you need help finding the right part to repair your sprinkler, call us today between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT at 800-735-7246 or email us at customerservice@krain.com.

ConserveH2O.org, “Sprinkler Maintenance Tips.
Ibid, “Irrigation Maintenance.
Wilson, C.R. and D. Whiting, “Operating and Maintaining a Home Irrigation System.”