Give Your Irrigation System a Checkup

Spring is just around the corner and it’s almost time to start barbecuing and to get your irrigation system in good working order.

An irrigation system checkup should be done at least twice a year, once in the spring and again in the middle of the summer. This is simply a visual inspection to pinpoint any problems with the system.

Here’s what to look for when doing an inspection:

  • Controller: Change the schedule according to the seasonal requirements of the landscape. In general, irrigation requirements are lower in the spring and fall than in the summer. Also, install a new battery for power back up in case of a power outage. The battery location is on the inside of the controller panel. Get familiar with your controller, if you don’t have a user’s manual, most manufactures provide an online PDF version.
  • Rain sensor: All irrigation controllers existing or new within the city limits are required to have a functioning rain sensor. If your controller doesn’t have one, you’ll need to add that to the checkup list. Technology has made it easy to install a wireless rain sensor and they’re available at most home improvement stores. You can test the rain sensor just by holding down the prong while the system is running; if the sensor is working properly the system will stop running.
  • Sprinkler heads: Run a one-minute test program on the controller so you can visually check each zone. Look for broken heads, cracked nozzles or clogged nozzles. Watch especially for misaligned heads that overspray onto sidewalks, driveways and the street.

Another thing to check for is high pressure. If you see a fogging or misting effect while the heads are spraying it’s because the system is running way over its design pressure. This is a simple fix. Just install a pressure regulator at the irrigation system’s water connection.

Picture of Adolph Garcia
Adolph Garcia
Adolph ‘Marty’ Garcia is SAWS’ numero uno, top dog, the go-to guy for all things irrigation and has the experience (that would be 35 years) and professional memberships to back up such a stellar reputation. Not only is he a SAWS senior conservation consultant, but he also holds a Texas irrigators license, in addition to a plethora of other credentials. (Did we mention he’s a licensed plumber, too?) Teaching people about water issues is his passion, second only to America’s pastime – baseball – and the hot dogs, pretzels and beer that go with it.
Dig Deeper

Find expert advice on garden basics, landscape design, watering and year-round maintenance.