Common Problems with Irrigation Systems and Simple Solutions
1. Run off – once irrigation water starts to run off from the landscape onto drives and sidewalks the soil has reached the saturation point and can not absorb any more water. The amount of time this takes to occur varies based on head type, soil type, compaction and slope.
SOLUTION: Use a “cycle and soak” feature where the zone runs for a shorter amount of time, but may run more than once per watering cycle.
2. Misting – next time your service provider conducts a wet check of the irrigation system, watch your fixed spray heads to see if there is a misting effect. Misting is a result of high pressure and as much as 50% of your water is evaporating into the atmosphere before it can get to your landscape.
SOLUTION: Install a pressure reducer on the mainline to control the pressure. If installing new heads or upgrading a system, use pressure regulating heads for even better control of pressure resulting from grade change. (Water pressure at the bottom of the hill is higher than the top of the hill)
3. Irrigation System Running when Raining – If it is raining for more than 5 minutes the irrigation system does NOT need to be running.
4. Broken Irrigation Heads – at a minimum a broken nozzle will emit 4 gallons a minute. If the zone is on for 10 minutes you wasted 40 gallons. If the zone runs 3X a week you wasted 120 gallons.
SOLUTION: Make sure your irrigation service provider is conducting monthly inspections by asking for the reports and look for signs of a broken head like mulch or dirt on walks or drives after the system runs.
5. Shrubs Block Irrigation Spray Pattern – When an irrigation system is first installed a 12” pop up head is usually tall enough, but as the plants mature they block the spray pattern. A shrub (or sign) blocking the spray pattern means a higher concentration of water in one area and creates a “rain shadow” where no irrigation is reaching the plant material in another area.
SOLUTION: If the irrigation head is next to the building it may be able to be changed to a fixed riser, a conversion to drip irrigation may be possible or if the plant material is well established and is in an area with ample rainfall a well established shrub bed may be able to be weaned off of irrigation.
10 Reasons didn’t fit on this blog so, TO BE CONTINUED…