September 5th 2019
Kamloops is routinely one of the hottest places in British Columbia! Our local desert-influenced temperatures can be very tough on your garden and other greenery, especially once watering restrictions set in! Culture Care’s landscaping blog is here with some tips on how to prepare for and troubleshoot underground sprinkler system problems to make sure your lawn and plants are getting the most benefit and keeping your water use down.
Before you can start diagnosing problems or finding issues with your sprinkler system, you should try to take stock of how the system performs when it’s working properly. Most grass/plants only need about an inch of water each time. Knowing how long your sprinklers need to run to provide this much water is a great start. Use a tuna can or a measuring cup somewhere underneath your watering area. Setting a timer that matches this requirement will help your sprinklers use as little water as possible.
Using a pressure tester, you can monitor the outcoming water pressure at various spots in your sprinkler setup. This becomes very important when you check for leaks or water loss, as you can start your search for the issue where the water pressure differs from normal. This can also help you identify sections of your system that need more pressure to make sure all your greenery is getting a drink.
Once you have some knowledge of what your system is supposed to perform like, regular maintenance becomes a repeatable, easy action. However, if your sprinkler system is not producing the usual amount of coverage or water pressure has dropped, you can usually assume you have a problem! Some examples of issues that can interfere with your watering efficiency include:
• Damaged sprinkler heads or piping
• Misplaced/misdirected sprinkler heads (don’t water your concrete!)
• Your system comes on even though its raining outside
• Grey water from your watering system is contaminating your house water.
• Using the wrong type of sprinkler head for the area it should cover
All of these issues have solutions that you can find at any nearby store that sells residential irrigation equipment! A rain sensor, for example, will stop your sprinklers from running if a preset amount of rain has fallen recently. Once the sensor dries up, it again allows your system to work. Rain sensors are very small and can be mounted inconspicuously in many places. To keep your underground sprinkler system from backflowing into your house water, back flow regulators or cross connection assemblies will do the job and can usually be installed yourself.
There are a few more things to always keep in mind when you’re installing or maintaining a sprinkler system on your property. Ensuring that you can always access your sprinkler system controls and main mechanical areas is a must! Many people build or purchase sprinkler valve boxes that sink into the landscape. These boxes typically house timers, valves and other equipment and keep it safe from external accidents. Keep these boxes or other areas free of interference or obstacles.
If your home or garden has an abundance of trees nearby, their roots can cause hair-pulling problems to arise when you’re installing your underground sprinkler system. Typically the best way to avoid root issues is to, well, avoid them. Brainstorm a plan or pipe layout that doesn’t interfere with the root system of your trees and other plants. There are certainly other options, especially one that involves a chainsaw! To save money and time the best solution is to not allow the problem to happen in the first place.
Installing and maintaining your own underground sprinkler system is not for everyone. It takes time, practice and a lot of hard work! If you need help building or fixing your sprinkler system in Kamloops BC or the surrounding area, give Culture Care Landscaping a call today!