Irrigation Maintenance During Winter

If you have an irrigation system, now is a good time to check for any irrigation maintenance issues.

Walk around your yard when it’s dry and look for any unexpected wet spots. If you find any, mark them because there may be a leak. Next, run each zone and check for broken or blown spray heads. All spray heads in a zone/station should pop up when turned on; if not, there might be low pressure in the system or a leak somewhere along the system. Check for leaning and/or misaligned sprinklers that are misdirecting water. Remember, there shouldn’t be any runoff into the street. This is prohibited per city ordinance and can lead to a fine. If you’re handy, you might try making the repairs to your irrigation system yourself. Otherwise, contact a licensed irrigator.

This is the time of year when your landscape doesn’t need much water. Most of your landscape, particularly your lawn, is dormant, and many evergreens require very little water and usually get enough from winter precipitation. For plants that need additional water, consider spot watering. If you decide to run your irrigation system, significantly reduce the run time on your controller to about four minutes per station, once per month. Completely shutting it down for three to four months is not advisable since stagnant material could accumulate and contaminate the water pipe.

Please do irrigation maintenance in winter because if there is a leak in the system, water runs into the street and if we get a freeze, the water from your system is likely to freeze in the street and could cause an accident.

Picture of Juan Soulas
Juan Soulas
Juan Soulas is a conservation planner for San Antonio Water System. Since joining SAWS in 2007 his duties have focused on residential water use. He works with his Conservation colleagues to help customers find ways to reduce outdoor usage without compromising the health and aesthetic quality of their landscapes. Juan also coordinates engaging outreach efforts with SAWS’ conservation partners -- Bexar County Master Gardeners, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, San Antonio Botanical Garden and Mitchell Lake Audubon Center – to increase community access to vital conservation information.
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