The Importance of a Local Rain Sensor
One big way to save water and money is to install a rain sensor with your irrigation system. For example, in central Virginia in 2013, effective rainfall (water that reaches the plant root zone) totaled more than 1/3 of the water required for the growing season. Make sure your rain device has been installed properly. It should be located somewhere completely open to natural rainfall. It will not register and react correctly when it is installed under the canopy of a tree or on the side of a building. If it is a wireless device, confirm the transmitting unit is communicating consistently with the receiving unit. Verify all batteries, if required, are in good condition and the rain override setting is low enough to react quickly to a rainfall event (typically set at ¼”). In 2013, a system in central Virginia operating without a fully functional rain sensor which used $1,000 of water could have saved as much as $333. Take these steps to prevent this mistake with your system!
Flow Test at Meter
Most irrigation systems consist of multiple zone valves and hundreds or thousands of feet of pipe. A small pipe leak or a weeping zone valve can go undetected for days, weeks, or even months. This can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. One quick way to check your system is to look at the water meter when your controller is not operating sprinkler zones (manually or automatically). Most meters have a triangular dial that spins whenever there is any water moving. If you check the meter when no irrigation is occurring and this dial is spinning, you will know that there is a problem. You can turn the water off to your system before you incur any additional unnecessary expense. Checking your water meter on a regular basis can save you water and money. Remember that your irrigation system is not like your house. It is all out of site. You might not notice a small problem until it becomes a major one. Other steps can be taken to automatically prevent this from happening. Contact us today to find out more.
Getting Water to the Root Zone
Much of the water you are applying with your landscape sprinkler system is not going where it’s intended. It is probably not reaching the root zone because the rate at which it is being applied exceeds the capacity of your soil to receive it, especially if you have clay soils or slopes to deal with. As a general rule of thumb, it will always benefit you to split your run times into multiple cycles, especially for spray heads which have a high precipitation rate. So take that 12 or 15 minute run time for your spray zones and split it up into 2 or 3 cycles with a sufficient soak time between cycles to allow your landscape to absorb it. You will most likely find that this will allow you to reduce the total run time because more of the water you are applying is reaching the root zone.