Don’t get soaked by your sprinkler system

Whether they stop working or run non-stop, irrigation systems are susceptible to failure. And that could mean astronomical water bills.

Just like appliances and devices in our homes, irrigation systems are susceptible to failure. In fact, the older they are, the more likely problems will arise.

Typically, these problems simply mean the system stops working, which is much better than the alternative — when the system won’t stop running!

If the average irrigation zone uses about 15 gallons per minute, imagine how much water would be wasted if a zone gets stuck open. Every hour the problem goes unnoticed or unaddressed results in 900 gallons of water being sprayed out onto your landscape. And if the problem persists for more than a day, you’re looking at more than 20,000 gallons of water each day!

That not only results in enormous water bills, but it can also lead to property damage. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid these costly issues or at least have early warning before they happen.

  1. Periodically check for problems. Routinely run through each zone of your irrigation system and visually inspect for any problems. Tip: if you notice a zone with low pressure that’s often a sign of a broken head or pipe.
  2. Make sure you have a master valve. A master valve only allows water to enter your irrigation system when your irrigation controller is on and running. For example, if your controller is set to run 45 minutes every Wednesday at 7 a.m. and there’s a stuck valve, the valve would only run at the set time. Without a master valve, the faulty valve would run around the clock until someone shut off your water. You may qualify for a Residential Irrigation Design rebate to have a master valve installed if you don’t have one.
  3. Install a flow sensor. Flow sensors monitor the rate of water flowing to your property. Modern smart flow sensors constantly monitor your water use and alert you to any leaks or problems (like a stuck valve) and send alerts to your smart phone allowing you to correct the problem before it becomes a huge water bill.
  4. Know how to turn off your water. Leaks are inevitable. Knowing how to quickly shut off water to your irrigation system can help prevent bigger loss. Make sure you know where to shut off the water and ensure the valves are free of dirt and debris so you can shut everything off with minimal effort. Tip: If you’re out of town and not planning to run your irrigation system, consider shutting off water to it until you return.

For those with older irrigation systems — especially if you don’t use it often — be extra careful and aware of failure. In fact, if you’re not using it, consider taking advantage of the Residential Irrigation Design Rebate and get paid to remove the system completely!

Either way, SAWS is here to help. Call to schedule a FREE Irrigation Consultation and one of our expert technicians will stop by and help you identify problems as well as give you recommendations for your system and landscape.

Picture of Seth Patterson
Seth Patterson
A naturalist by nature, Seth spent his early childhood crawling through creeks and caves of the Hill Country before moving to South Texas where he found his passion in nature photography. Now an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer, Seth follows the water wherever he lands and truly takes to heart his role as a conservation consultant for San Antonio Water System.
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