Though your plumber doesn’t handle the actual irrigation system — that’s up to the irrigation company — we do take care of all the water lines that tie in to that system. And we can also tell you what seasonal maintenance you need to do before starting the system up for the summer!
Maintenance and Prevention
Before every watering season (right about now), you should test the timer on your irrigation system. This is as simple as setting it and ensuring it comes on when it should. Watering at the recommended times of day is an important part of water efficiency and checking the timer will ensure that your sprinklers aren’t coming on in the middle of the afternoon.
You will also need to turn on the water to the entire system using the main valve. Look for leaks — not so much inside the house, but where the pipes exit the exterior wall of the house.
Next, find the header box. It will be in the ground, and it’s green with the lines that lead to the sprinkler heads coming out of it. Lift up the lid and check to make sure that the heads aren’t cracked, something that can happen if the system wasn’t properly blown out in the fall.
To have this done in the fall, you’ll want to call a company that specializes in irrigation system maintenance. They can override your system’s timer and blow out the lines with compressed air to ensure there is no sitting water left in the system for the winter.
We can help to prevent potential drinking water contamination by installing a cross connection control device on the irrigation line. If a main water line ever breaks out at the street, it will create suction and suck anything in the line back to the city lines. This means that if your sprinklers are on at the time and you have fertilizer in the ground, the fertilizer could be pulled back into the main line which supplies drinking water. The City requires cross connection controls to prevent this.
Just Considering Irrigation?
A couple of key things to consider before looking at having an irrigation installed are the lay of your land, and the condition of your basement.
An unfinished basement is ideal for the installation of an irrigation system, because your plumber needs access to the pipes to run a line outside and install the cross-connection device, and then make it accessible to the specialist doing the annual maintenance check. It might not be worth it to you to rip out drywall in order to achieve this.
If you’ve got this point covered, next you can have someone in to map the site, estimate how many sprinkler heads you’ll need, how much line they’ll need to run and how much ground will need to be ripped up.
An irrigation system involves a lot of work to install. But if it turns out to be the right option for you, make sure you’re doing the proper maintenance to keep it running in top condition!