When sprinklers are well-maintained, they keep your lawn green and help your plants thrive. However, when they're not properly cared for, they can waste water, cause extensive damage to your lawn, and potentially void their warranty.
Fortunately, you can do a few simple things to keep your sprinklers in tip-top shape. So, to help you out, here are 10 sprinkler maintenance tips that landscapers swear by.
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1. Inspect Your Sprinklers Regularly
The first step to properly maintaining your sprinklers is to inspect them regularly for any signs of wear and tear. By catching problems early, you can improve the lifespan of your appliances and prevent minor issues from becoming major ones.
Be sure to check for cracked or broken sprinkler heads, corrosion, and clogs or blockages in the system. If you see a problem, such as cracked heads, it could be that you winterized your sprinkler system the wrong way. Or, you could’ve accidentally nicked it with your lawnmower.
2. Know When to Call a Professional
There are some repairs you may not be able to do on your own. For example, if you suspect a break in your sprinkler line, it's best to call a professional for help. Trying to fix the problem yourself could further damage your system. Landscapers typically offer a wide range of sprinkler repair services, so be sure to ask about their rates and services before deciding.
While it's important to do your own regular maintenance, some repairs should be left to the professionals. If you're unsure how to fix a particular problem, or if the repair is outside your scope of expertise, it's always best to call a professional for help. This will ensure that the job is done correctly and that your sprinkler system is back up and running in no time.
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3. Keep Your Sprinkler Heads Clean
Over time, dirt and debris can build up on your sprinkler heads, causing them to lose efficiency. To keep them clean, remove the heads and flush them out with a hose regularly. Then, reattach the heads and be sure to check for any leaks.
It's helpful to clean your sprinkler heads at least once a season or anytime you notice build-up.
4. Adjust Your Sprinkler Settings as Needed
The amount of water your plants need will vary depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. Be sure to adjust your sprinkler settings accordingly so that you're not over- or under-watering your lawn. Signs of overwatering often include yellow or brown patches on the grass, while signs of under-watering include wilted or dry leaves. It is also helpful to have a soil moisture sensor installed to ensure your plants are getting the right amount of water.
According to some landscapers, your sprinkler system should deliver about an inch of water per week during the spring and summer months. But in the fall, you might need to cut back on watering to prevent your lawn from developing diseases.
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5. Check for Leaks
Household leaks can waste up to 9,400 gallons of water per year. Not to mention, it can cause your water bill to go up. Yet, leaks are another common problem you must be aware of with sprinkler systems.
To check for sprinkler leaks, turn on your system and observe it closely for any signs of water seeping from underground. If you find a leak, it’s most likely at a connection point. Be sure to have it repaired immediately so that it doesn't cause further damage to your lawn or the environment.
6. Test Your System Before Turning It On Each Season
Before turning on your sprinklers for the season, test their individual components to ensure that they're still in good working condition. This includes checking the valves, pipes, and connections for any leaks or blockages. Spotting any signs of damage early on can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
» More: Here are the best plumbing tips for the home.
7. Invest In a Smart Sprinkler Controller
Smart controllers are a great way to automate your watering schedule and save water in the process. By investing in one of these devices, you can program it to water your lawn only when necessary, saving you both time and money in the long run.
A smart sprinkler controller works like this: you set it to your desired schedule, and then it uses sensors to detect when your lawn needs watering. This means you don't have to worry about manually adjusting your sprinklers every time the weather changes.
8. Use a Hose Timer
A hose timer is another helpful device that can automate your watering schedule and help you conserve water. These devices attach directly to your hose bib and allow you to program how long it should run for each cycle. You can buy a hose timer at most hardware stores.
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9. Mulch Your Lawn
Adding a layer of mulch around your plants can help retain moisture and reduce evaporation rates. This will ultimately help reduce the amount of water your plants need and keep them healthy all season long. Mulch can be found at most garden centers or home improvement stores.
To mulch your lawn, all you have to do is spread it around your plants and gently rake it into the soil. Then, add a fresh layer every few months to keep the benefits going all season long.
10. Check Local Watering Restrictions
Many municipalities have restrictions in place during certain times of the year to conserve water resources. For example, according to a New York Times report, some residents in Southern California can't use their sprinklers more than once a week. So, remember to check local watering restrictions before turning on your system each season.
All In Good Order?
By following these 10 simple tips, you can keep your sprinklers in good working order all season long—saving you time, money, and headaches down the road. While you're at it, don't forget to review your home warranty policy to see if sprinkler system repairs are covered.
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