Two Ways To Prevent Water Waste From Your New Irrigation System

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If you've had a professional install your irrigation system, you want to keep that system running in top condition so you can continue to use the most efficient amounts of water and keep your landscaping looking gorgeous. While most irrigation systems require very little upkeep -- just set the schedule you want and let it automatically take care of the watering for you -- you should keep an eye on two main things.

Check for Leaks

Leaks are the number one way to turn an efficient irrigation system into a money waster. And, contrary to what you might think, leaks can happen any time -- even right after the system has been installed. Leaks can result in thousands of gallons of lost water; an average system can lose more than 5,000 gallons a year from a break in a drip line or almost 11,000 gallons from a damaged sprinkler head.

Why do leaks happen? Often, they are the result of mowing or driving over a sprinkler head. You may not even realize you've done damage until you see water puddling up around the sprinkler head. And if you're not keeping an eye on your irrigation system, you might not even notice that. Other causes of leaks include:

  • Broken fittings. It's rare, but even new fittings can have cracks.
  • Broken pipes. Underground pipes can develop cracks over time, but more likely, they're hit by a shovel or otherwise disturbed as you work on your yard. 
  • Damaged seals. Seals in valves can wear over time and allow more water than necessary to be used. 
  • Damaged drip lines. Drip lines are supposed to deliver consistently small amounts of water over time to a garden or flower bed, but a hole can send lots of water into the ground.

How will you spot a leak? If there's no obvious puddle of water around your sprinkler heads, you may see that the system is no longer sending out the same amount of water pressure. As a result, some plants may be missing the proper amounts of water, and you'll see them start to wither or under perform. 

You may also identify a leak by watching the sprinkler work and observing a heavy spray coming from one or more sprinkler heads. This is likely an indication of a worn seal that is letting an excess of water through.

Watch for Misalignments

Sprinkler heads can become improperly positioned, which can result in inefficiencies in your water delivery. You may see this happen because some of your plants will get over or under watered. You may also see standing water on the ground in places where you don't need to water, such as pathways.

Sprinklers that over spray or spray in the wrong places can cost you between 20 and 40 percent extra water, so it's important to identify issues and either realign the sprinklers yourself or have your landscaping professional come out to fix any issues.

To make sure that your system is working properly, it's a best practice to have a professional check the system at least once a year. You should also plan to observe the system for any leaks or problems at least once a month. That way, you can prevent loss of as many as thousands of gallons of water. For more information. talk to a company like Steeplechase.

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21 November 2015

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