Not all sprinklers are created equal. In fact, some are better suited for particular tasks than others. And, some use water much more efficiently than others. Find out more about types of sprinklers here or watch this Garden Time segment. Regardless of the type of sprinkler that you use, there are simple things you can do to ensure that the right amount of water gets where it is needed.
Spring is the time to start checking your watering system for peak summer performance. One of the most important things you can do to keep your system - whether it's a hose with a nozzle or a sophisticated underground irrigation system - operating efficiently. Watch this segment from KATU's AM Northwest to see how to test out your hand-watering or in-ground sprinkler system in the springtime.
Spring Sprinkler System Maintenance
- Close all manual drains (they were probably left open when sprinkler system was drained last fall).
- Slowly open the main valve, allowing the piping between it and the cross connection (backflow) prevention assembly to fill with water.
- Pressurize the mainline from the backflow prevention assembly to the control valves. Have one of the control valves open while you do this, so air trapped in the piping can escape through the sprinkler heads as the pipes fill with water.
- Have the cross-connection assembly, or back flow, tested by a state-certified tester. Contact your local water provider for specific information on rules and regulations - be sure to ask for the cross connection or back flow specialist.
- Run the entire sprinkler system, one zone at a time. As you do this,
- Check for signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping which could have occurred over the winter. Repair and replace as needed.
- Check for accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement.
- Make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.
- Clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads
- Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky - minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.
Spring Hand-Watering System Maintenance
- Remove your hose bib cover and store for fall.
- Inspect your hose, hose nozzle, and/or sprinkler for leaks and general wear and tear that will affect its performance. For example: is the metal end of your hose bent or covered in dirt or debris? Is the washer in good condition? If not, they could cause your watering system to leak.
- Put your system through a test-run. This will tell you if your connection are properly tightened and whether there are any holes that need to be repaired. Making sure that your hand-watering system is leak-free is one of the most important things you can do to use water wisely. This is because a dripping spigot or small hole can easily waste hundreds of gallons of water each month - over the summer, that can really add up to a lot of wasted water and money.