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What Should I Know About Having A Sprinkler System Installed?

Q: How long will it take to install a sprinkler system in my yard?

A: Over the course of our many years in business, Lawn Sprinkler Services has developed procedures which enable us to install an average residential yard in one day. Not only does this minimize potential disruptions of your schedule, but it also gets water down on the yard quickly, thus minimizing potential stress to the turf grass and healing up any vibratory plow marks.

Q: Will installing a sprinkler system destroy my yard?

A: No.  In our area almost any residential sprinkler system can be installed using a vibratory plow. This advanced technique minimizes disturbances to the terrain by cutting a small slit in the ground and pulling the pipe about 12” underground. This eliminates the need for trenching. If a contractor proposes to trench your sprinkler lines for 1 ¼” and smaller pipes, get a second opinion! Trenching sounds simple, but it is not. Trenching will cause ground damage that can take YEARS to heal properly.

Q: What about the connections to the sprinkler heads?

A: Even though we may use a vibratory plow for lines, we still have to dig holes to attach the “T” fittings and sprinkler heads. For this we cut out a small section of sod, or dig a small hole at each connecting point. Once the plumbing is complete, we replace the sod or fill the hole. Any damage done will usually heal in the first 2 or 3 weeks after installation and be completely erased by a simple areate/verticut and overseed in the fall.

Q. Can I save money by installing my own system?

A. It will likely cost you more in the long run. Most building codes will require a trained and licensed professional to connect the system to the water supply and insure that backflow preventers are correctly installed. Our professional training, industry certifications and years of experience enable us to design and install the most cost-effective and energy-efficient systems possible in far less time than a homeowner. That means choosing and installing the appropriate equipment for your site while streamlining the maintenance required to keep your landscape in top shape.

  • We pay special attention to such important factors as sprinkler patterns (it is important to overlap the patterns so the outer edges receive
    sufficient water for healthy growth) and backflow prevention (necessary to protect your drinking water supply).
  • Our first-hand knowledge of local plumbing and electrical codes saves you costly mistakes in wiring or pipe installation.
  • We can do the job faster, with less disruption to existing landscape.
  • We guarantee our work.

    A professionally installed, automatic sprinkler system is one of the best investments you can make in your home. Just ask anybody who has one!

Q: When is the best time of year to install a sprinkler system?

A: A sprinkler system can be installed about any time of year as long as the ground is not too wet or too dry. In our area the optimal times are March through June, and September through December. If the ground is either too wet or frozen, it will take longer to install the system and require more cleanup and repair to the yard. Conversely, doing an installation in hot and dry conditions can cause turf grass to go dormant or die in disturbed areas. If there is no established turf such as at a new home site, hard ground can make the installation take longer. We can help you decide when the ideal time might be.

Q: How much water pressure do I need for a sprinkler system?

A: Most homes have 50 psi, which is more than adequate. Thirty psi is a minimum amount of water pressure for system operation. Use a pressure gauge at the garden hose faucet to measure pressure, or call your local water utility.

Q: I do not have enough water pressure. Can I still install a sprinkler system?

A: Yes. There are booster pumps available that can increase the pressure for the sprinkler system. We can help you correctly size the pump and provide the proper backflow prevention.

Q: What is a backflow preventer?

A: A backflow preventer is a device that keeps any water that has been in the sprinkler system from getting into your water supply. Backflow preventers are required by local building codes to protect you and the community from possible water supply contaminants that could enter through the sprinkler system.

Q: Can I install the backflow preventer myself?

A: No. Depending on where you live, a specially licensed and trained Backflow Test/Installer or Licensed plumber is required to install a backflow preventer. In the Wichita area, we are licensed to install the backflow preventer.

Q: Where will the backflow preventer go in my yard?

A: In the Wichita area, backflow preventers are not allowed to be installed underground or in vaults. We can install the device in an unobtrusive location such as along side your house near the gas meter, or in a shrub bed to keep it out of the way and unnoticeable.

Q: Where will my system connect to the water supply?

A: Whenever possible we connect the water supply to the sprinkler by the water meter out near the street. We do this for several reasons:

  • This will give you the best pressure for the sprinkler system and in your house when the system is running.
  • You won’t hear the rushing of water running inside the house when the system comes on.
  • You will not need to remember to turn off the water to the sprinkler system for winterization or have a Service Technician enter your home to turn off the water to your system.
  • If a leak does occur at the water shut off it happens at the street not near your basement wall.

Q: Do self-draining systems work? Should I get one?

A: If saving water is important to you DO NOT INSTALL a self-draining system. Actually, self-draining systems have several disadvantages. They rely on drains that open into small drain pits in the ground. Over time the drains begin to clog with roots and debris which eventually leads to trouble when a hard freeze hits. Because all the water is drained from the lines following each watering, self-draining systems require more water since the lines must be refilled each time the system comes on. Also, to install a self-draining system correctly costs 20%-30% more than a comparable non-self-draining system. It is much cheaper to purchase a small air compressor and blow the lines out once at the end of the irrigation season.

Q: What is a rain sensor and how does it work?

A: A rain sensor is a device designed to shut off the system once a predetermined amount of rain has fallen. Many cities require rain sensors on sprinkler systems. For best results the rain sensor should be placed in an exposed area where rainfall and evaporation are about the same as for the yard. (Keep in mind that a rain sensor is not activated by the threat of rain but needs at least some rain to be triggered. It is best to shut off your system if you expect rain during the night.) 

The accuracy and responsiveness of rain sensors have improved significantly in recent years; however, there are important differences in features, brands and models. For example, there are both wired and wireless models available. A wired rain sensor requires very little maintenance but has a wire running down the side of your house which may be noticeable. A wireless model is easy to install but requires changing the internal battery every few years.

We’ll be happy to explain the many features and options available to you.

Q: Why are the timers at home improvement stores so much cheaper than what irrigation contractors offer?

A: Often the controllers sold at retail stores are either obsolete or old designs that have been sold to second tier manufacturers. They do not incorporate many of the user-friendly and environmentally-friendly features like non-volatile memory, simple programming steps, pump circuits, large station counts, heavy duty transformers or surge/lightning protection. While warehouse store timers may appeal to the cost conscious homeowner, they sacrifice a great deal in the way of quality and features.