Did you know that 20 percent of homes in the United States of America have home sprinkler systems for landscaping and irrigation? Getting a sprinkler system is a great way to keep your lawn looking luscious throughout the year but there are certain things that you need to do when it comes to maintaining a sprinkler system.
Getting a sprinkler system is a big investment so it wouldn’t make sense not to take care of it by cleaning sprinkler systems and providing regular sprinkler maintenance. The tricky part is figuring out where to start and learning how to identify sprinkler system leaks.
If you’re a little intimidated by the maintenance involved with owning a sprinkler system then that is understandable. The good news is that you’re not in this alone. You’ve come to the perfect place for a trusty guide on how to maintain your sprinkler system.
Continue reading this article to learn about ten tips that will make maintaining a sprinkler system a breeze.
1. Clean Your Sprinkler Heads
Cleaning your sprinkler systems is vital if you want to get water to all of the areas of your yard and prevent costly waste. Sprinkler heads spend the majority of the time underground in the dirt so it is a matter of time before the head gets covered to the point that it is no longer efficient.
If you’re the owner of a sprinkler system then it is on you to check your sprinkler heads on a regular basis to make sure that they’re not clogged or covered in dirt. One way to notice if your sprinkler heads are having issues is by looking at your lawn. If your sprinkler heads need cleaning then you’ll find dry patches that have a yellow tint to them.
Keeping your sprinkler heads clear and clean of dirt and other debris is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a healthy, green lawn that is the envy of all of your neighbors. A good approach for maintaining a sprinkler system is to set reminders in your phone to check the sprinkler heads every few weeks.
2. Don’t Ignore Leaks
Another important thing to remember when it comes to maintaining your sprinkler system is to be on the lookout for leaks. Leaks are not normal and they’re a great way to waste a lot of water. Think of your sprinkler system like a plumbing system. A small leak might not seem like a big deal but it could become one down the road. It is often a symptom of a bigger issue.
Leaks could cause certain areas of your lawn to get too much water which will cause the grass in that area to drown and die. It will also cause the other parts of your lawn to not get the water that it needs to continue growing and thriving. You’ll also notice a bit uptick in your water bill each month because of the leaks.
Do your best to monitor the water flow of your sprinkler system to see if there are any leaks. If you have consistent water pressure then that is a sign that your sprinkler system is good to go.
3. Check Your Valves
Your home sprinkler system has valves throughout it. One of the major causes of the leaks that you could experience with your sprinkler system is bad valves. You need to check your valves on a regular basis to make sure that they don’t have any leaks and that they’re maintaining strong water pressure on the sprinkler heads.
These valves are all part of your system’s valve assembly. This part of the system is what helps to drive the water throughout to the sprinkler heads. The biggest sign that you have issues with your valve assembly is a lack of water pressure. It is never a bad idea to walk around your lawn after your system is done watering to check for areas that are drier than others.
It is a good strategy to check the sprinkler heads themselves and the valve associated with each. You should also be sure to inspect the main valve assembly. You’ll want to make sure that you know the location of the valve assembly as some systems have the assembly located above ground while others are buried in your yard.
4. Fix Faulty Pipes
Pipes are another important part of your sprinkler system and part of maintaining a sprinkler system is keeping the pipes intact. The pipes are used to carry the water throughout your system to the sprinkler heads. If you want your system to get the water flow that it needs to keep your grass fresh then you’ll want to check your pipes on a consistent basis.
Things like debris within the pipes can obstruct the flow of the water and keep the grass looking healthy. There are things like burst pipes that might happen and it is important that you catch these issues as soon as possible. If you notice issues with water pressure in certain areas of your yard then you should check your valves and pipes in that area.
5. Test Your System’s Voltage
If you own a multimeter then you should use this tool to check the voltage of your home’s sprinkler system. Doing these electrical tests will help you learn about how the electronic components of the system are working. It is important that these parts function in an efficient manner because this is what works the pumps to create water pressure.
There are many components that make up the electrical system. The system has a transformer, a controller, a solenoid, and wiring that carries the electricity through it. The system tends to run on 24 volts of electricity, though the voltage will range from 22 volts up to 28 volts at any time.
Be sure to start programming a sprinkler timer while you’re checking the status of the electrical components of your system. This will help your system automatically water your lawn at a set time each morning.
Using a multimeter is an easy and safe task but if you find any damage to the electrical components of your sprinkler system then you should get help from a trained electrician.
6. Maintain Your Transformers
When people think of maintaining a sprinkler system, most think about the pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads. Many forget all about the electrical components that keep everything running in a smooth manner. The valves and sprinkler heads won’t do anything for your lawn or your home without the help of the electric components.
Your transformer is a vital cog in the machine and it is what works with your sprinkler timer. If you want to set a designated time for watering your grass then you need to maintain your transformers and make sure that they’re in good condition. Using your multimeter will tell you about the health and status of your system’s transformers.
If your transformer isn’t in good condition then you’ll want to reach out to an electrician or a sprinkler system technician to schedule the transformer replacement. While you’re checking out the transformer, make sure to look at the other electrical components as well. If there are other parts that are damaged it makes sense to get them all replaced at one time.
7. Make Sure Your Connectors are Waterproof
Anyone that understands basic science knows that water and electricity make poor friends. It is important that you keep the wires of your electrical system dry when it comes to maintaining a sprinkler system. Each valve that makes up your sprinkler system has electricity running to it.
Make sure that these wires have waterproof coverings that will keep them from getting exposed to electricity. Keeping these wires dry will help to keep your sprinkler system running strong for years to come and prevent costly repairs. If you want to keep your investment working at peak performance then you should invest in waterproof connectors for your valves.
You shouldn’t have any trouble finding waterproof connectors for your system at the majority of home improvement stores in your area. If you’re having trouble finding them then you should ask a sales associate on the floor for help.
The good news is that these connectors aren’t expensive. You can get these waterproof connectors for as little as one dollar apiece. That is a small price to pay for proper maintenance of your sprinkler system.
8. Fix Damaged Wires
It might not be the best idea for you to handle this task on your own, but if you find any damaged wires in your sprinkler system then you need to get them fixed or replaced as soon as possible. This is a task that you should get help from a trained electrician for. Bad or damaged wires will keep your controller from sending signals through the wiring to the valves and the pumps.
This causes the valves and the sprinkler heads to not work when the timing mechanism is programmed to start watering your lawn. Wiring issues tend to happen over a long period of time through normal use though there are some things that destroy them in a more devastating fashion.
One of the big things to look out for is wires getting chewed through by rodents near your home. The weather conditions also play a big role in the health of your wiring. This is part of why winterizing sprinkler systems are so important for proper maintenance.
9. Look Out for Detached Wires
While not as bad for your system as damaged wires, you still need to keep your eyes open for detached wires. Detached wires cause a lot of the same issues that damaged wires do. Your pumps, valves, and sprinkler heads won’t work as they’re supposed to. Your lawn won’t get watered when it is scheduled to.
If you find a wire that is detached in your sprinkler system you should try to assess the wiring and determine what caused it to become detached. Then you can make the changes needed to keep it from becoming detached again in the future. If you find detached wires then it is important that you reattach them as soon as you can.
To determine what caused it to become detached you should check all of your connectors and valves in that area. Consult the manual for your system before you start reattaching the wires for your sprinkler system. That will ensure that you put everything back the way it is designed to be.
10. Replace Your Solenoid On a Consistent Basis
The solenoid is a vital part of your sprinkler system. It helps everything work together when it comes to the valves and pipes as well as the electrical parts of your residential sprinkler system. It is the electromagnetic component of the electrical system that communicates to the valves when to open and tells the pumps when to increase water pressure.
A bad solenoid is an issue because it causes issues like leaks and poor water pressure. This will not only cause your lawn to look poorly manicured but it will also cause your system to run in an inefficient manner. You’ll face other types of malfunctions that make it difficult to make the most of your investment in your home’s sprinkler system.
If you find that you need to replace the solenoid then you’ll need to take apart the valve assembly to install it. Then you’ll need to put everything back together the way that it is supposed to go. From there, your sprinkler system should get back to work to make your lawn look perfect.
Now You’re Prepared to Start Maintaining a Sprinkler System
Maintaining a sprinkler system is no easy task. It is important that you know what to look for when it comes to cleaning sprinkler systems and the causes of common issues like sprinkler system leaks. You should also make sure that you use waterproof connections for the wiring that attaches to your system’s valves.
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