Give Your Irrigation System a Checkup

Adolph Garcia

Spring is here and that means it’s time to start barbecuing — and getting 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 mid-summer. This is simply a visual inspection to pinpoint any problems with the system.

Here are the most important things to look at 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 summer. Also, install a new battery for backup in case of a power outage. The battery location is on the inside of the controller panel. Get to know 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, and cracked or clogged nozzles. Watch especially for misaligned heads that overspray onto sidewalks, driveways and the street.

It’s also important to check for 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.

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