Whether they just stop working or run non-stop, irrigation systems are susceptible to failure. And that could mean astronomical water bills, especially if the problem goes unnoticed.
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.
- 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 somewhere.
- 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 was set to run 45 minutes every Wednesday at 7 a.m. and you have a stuck valve, the valve would only run at 7 a.m. on Wednesday for 45 minutes. Without the master valve that stuck valve would run round the clock until someone shut off your water. If you don’t already have a master valve, you may qualify for a Residential Irrigation Design rebate to have one installed.
- 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, such as a stuck valve, and send alerts to your smart phone allowing you to stop a problem before it becomes a huge water bill. SAWS offers rebates on several water flow sensors that help with this exact application.
- Know how to turn off your water. Whether that old oak tree in the front yard wraps a root around a pipe or an aging valve fails and gets stuck open, 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 shut off valves are free of dirt and debris so you can quickly 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 frequently — be extra careful and aware of failure. In fact, if you’re not using it and want some extra peace of mind, consider taking advantage of our 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 today 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.