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Common Irrigation Problems And Simple Fixes

If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time when will you have time to do it over? We have all heard this quote by John Wooden or some variation
of this quote over the years.  Time is important for irrigation repairs. It is the foundation of how to charge for services, and customers are
extremely sensitive to time.  One challenge for common irrigation problems is – do you recommend a complex repair, or a simple solution. Often
the best solution is to provide the customer with all options and your professional recommendation and let them decide. The good news is there are
many situations where the simple solution is the best solution and below are several common irrigation problems and their simple solutions.

Broken Sprinkler – Hopefully at a minimum you are inspecting your irrigation system monthly for broken
heads. I recommend inspection after every mowing. Broken heads waste tons of water and everyone has a story of a broken head by a drain and the resulting
$40,000 water bill. An inspection is quick and easy to do and the result will be gallons of water saved each time you spot an issue.

Misting – Notice water misting everywhere when you turn the spray head sprinklers on. This is an issue
due to high pressure in almost all occasions. Most spray heads should operate at 30 psi and most irrigation systems have higher pressure than 30 psi.
You need to regulate the pressure down at the sprinkler or at the valve. You can purchase pressure reducers or pressure reducing sprinklers. This is
typically easy and inexpensive to do. Often this is the first and quickest modification to make to an existing system that provides the quickest return
on investment.

Irrigation Running When It’s Raining – There are many excellent
wireless rain sensors on the market today that can be purchased and installed for less than $200.  These connect wirelessly to your controller and  shut off irrigation
at the slightest hint of rain. This will keep you from getting those sideways looks from neighbors when your irrigation goes off and it is raining.

Run Off – When water runs off your landscape because you are applying water too fast a simple fix is to program your controller with multiple start
times. Instead of watering for 9 minutes a day try 3 different start times with 3 minute run times for a total of 9 minutes. Spread these start times
out to allow water to soak in to your landscape. Check to see if your controller has a cycle and soak feature built in, if it does the cycle and soak
feature will take care of this for you.

Mature Shrub Blocking Irrigation – When this happens it is a clear sign you need to switch to drip irrigation.
You can prune your shrubs back, but typically you won’t like the look of the shrub because you will need to trim so much back. Converting sprays or
rotors to drip in this situation will save water and money and reduce the amount of time you are spending weeding in areas that receive water but have
no plants.

Old Irrigation Controller – Irrigation controllers older than 5 years are not utilizing current technology
and are wasting water and money. Upgrade your controller to a new smart controller. I hope you can use these simple fixes to some common irrigation
problems.  I am also sure you have a few of your own you can share with readers.  Please feel free to contribute in the comments section.
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Comments

  • Steve_P ,

    Some of my valves are running at the same time and not shutting off unless I turn the water supply off. What is causing this problem?

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