Irrigation Hacks: Easy Solutions for Common Problems

There are many easy solutions for complex problems that don’t work. Fortunately for us, these irrigation hacks are simple solutions that work for the irrigation problems listed below.

Broken Sprinkler – Hopefully, at a minimum, you are inspecting your irrigation system monthly for broken heads. I recommend an 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. A visual inspection is quick and easy to do; the results are 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 on almost all occasions. Most spray heads should operate at 30 psi, and most irrigation systems have higher pressure than 30 psi.

Regulating the pressure down at the sprinkler or the valve would be best. 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 fastest return on investment.

Irrigation Running When It’s Raining – Many excellent wireless rain sensors are 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 rains.

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. For example, instead of watering for 9 minutes a day, try three different start times with 3-minute run times for a total of 9 minutes. Spread these start times out to allow water to soak into your landscape. Check if your controller has a cycle and soak feature built in. If it does, the cycle and soak feature will do 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 time you spend weeding in areas that receive water but have no plants.

Old Irrigation Controller – Irrigation controllers older than five years are not utilizing current technology and are wasting water and money. Upgrade your controller to a new smart controller. You can learn all about smart controllers here 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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