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What Should I Know About Operating And Maintaining My Sprinkler System?

Q: How often should I water?

A: For optimum results, we suggest you water less often for a longer period of time rather than frequently for shorter periods. Frequent watering keeps lawn root growth at a surface level. By watering infrequently you promote the expansion of deep-water sources that encourage deep root growth.

Q: How do I know how much water my lawn needs?

A: In normal irrigation season weather (80 to 90 degrees), most lawns need about 1 inch of water a week. When temperatures go up, so does your lawn watering needs because so much of the water gets evaporated. Windy and hot is especially hard on turf so watch for stress. Conversely when temperatures are cool cut back on your watering or shut it off entirely.

Q: How long should I water?

A: That depends on how quickly water is dispersed by your sprinklers. You can determine this by putting pans on your lawn when watering. After 15 minutes, measure the water depth and multiply by 4 to get the water sprinkled per hour. On average, you can expect about ½ inch of water in 15 minutes from sprayheads and ½ inch of water in 60 to 90 minutes from rotors.

Q. Is a certain time of day better for watering?

A. The optimal time for watering your lawn is early in the morning. If that’s not possible, evening watering is next best. Mid-day watering is discouraged, unless it is cool out or you have a new lawn that needs constant moisture. Do not water more than once a day unless heat is causing extreme evaporation. Heavy clay soil or hillside irrigation with considerable runoff requires shorter cycles more frequently to allow water to soak in. Disease is common in turf that is watered late in the day and where the ground stays wet in warm weather.

Q: Are there certain steps I should take to maintain my irrigation system?

A: Perform preventative maintenance once a month during the irrigation season:

  1. Check your timer settings and make any adjustments.
  2. Run system manually and check your rotors, sprays, and shrub bed drip lines.
  3. If you have a mainline filter, clean it out.

    If trouble occurs:
  4. Unclog sprinkler heads.
  5. Make sure installation levels of heads are adjusted to ground level.

Q: I keep getting plugged up heads. What should I do?

A: Sources of water contaminants include sand, particles, moss and other debris. Filters are available that can remove most of that debris. Call us so that we can observe the problem and recommend the proper solution.

Q: How do I adjust my sprinkler heads or set my controller?

A: Below is a list of all of the major manufacturers and their websites with the location of timer manuals and sprinkler head adjustment manuals.

Q: I have an older, presumably outdated system. Can I still get information for it?

A: Call us and we’ll do our best to help you find the information you need.

Q: I have water running from the sprinkler system that will not shut off.

A: Follow the checklist below to correct the problem:

  1. Check the controller to make sure there is not an indication that the timer is watering. Turn the timer to the “OFF” position.
  2. If you have experienced a lightning storm or power outage in the last few of days, the timer may need to be reset. Unplug the timer and wait about 60 seconds to reset it.
    If the water continues to run:
  3. Go to the backflow preventer and use the diagram below shut off the water.

  4. If these steps to do not solve the problem – if the valve will not shut off or water continues flowing before the backflow preventer -- you will need to shut off the water at the main sprinkler shut off, or CALL OUR 24 HOUR EMERGENCY LINE for Wichita, Kansas, and surrounding areas.

    Call (316) 303-1200 and we can come out and shut off the water for you. An emergency fee will apply.

  5. Basement/Interior Shut-Off: Usually located in a mechanical room facing the street or adjacent the gas meter where the water line enters the house.

    Streetside/Exterior Shut-Off: Located outside by the water meter, or up near the faucet in front of the house. To shut off the water these valves usually require a special tool which is about 4’ long and looks like a 2 prong fork. If you do not have the required tool (usually in your garage), you can purchase one at a hardware store.

Q: Is maintenance required on the backflow preventer?

A: A backflow preventer must be tested annually and a report filed with the water utility. Every 5 years the device has to be rebuilt and tested. Contact us for additional details about this service.

Q: When should I have my system winterized?

A: In Kansas, you should have your system shut down and winterized between October 15th and Nov 24th.

Q: Should I wrap up the backflow preventer to keep it from freezing?

A: It is a good idea to wrap your backflow preventer after October 15th. However, wrapping the backflow is not a substitute for winterizing/shutting-down your system and WILL NOT protect the backflow against an extended cold snap or guarantee it from freezing. Even if you have your winterization appointment scheduled, it is a good idea to wrap the backflow to keep it warm in case of an early or hard freeze.

Q: How do I wrap up the backflow preventer?

A:Wrap as below: (For a more aesthetically pleasing manufactured cover call us.)

Q: I just seeded my yard and I want to water later into the season. How do I keep my backflow preventer from freezing?

A: Wrapping the backflow as noted above will help. You can also put pipe heat tape around the backflow preventer or put an incandescent lamp under the backflow with a bucket (w/NO insulation) over the top. Be careful as these methods could melt the pipe, start a fire and cause an electrical short or flooding. BE CAREFUL AND CHECK THE DEVICE FREQUENTLY!!! We do not recommend these steps or take any responsibility for their suggestion.