Are you making any of these sprinkler mistakes that could cost you thousands in the long run?
We often come across homeowners who have bought a new home and have several questions about how to maintain a beautiful yard. One thing I learned when I bought our home was the amount of work and effort that goes into having a great looking yard. I wanted to create this article to help the average homeowner know what they can do to save money. Over time, if we are making little mistakes they can add up to a loss of thousands of dollars.
Mistake number 1: Overwatering your lawn and plants.
This is a very common mistake and a costly one as well. When I come to adjust sprinklers the main thing I always check is their watering times. Yes we do live in a desert and growing a lawn seems kind of odd, but we don’t need to water for 30-45 minutes (or hours like I have seen) per zone per day like most people set their system up to do. Usually people have the “set it and forget it” mindset when it comes to their sprinkler timer. A good rule of thumb for watering your lawn is to water for 25 minutes for pop up sprayers and 45 minutes for rotating sprayers. But you may ask, “how often do I water?” In the Salt Lake Valley those watering times are suggested to start watering Mother’s Day weekend until Father's Day weekend once every five days. Once we get to Fathers day weekend we are suppose to bump up our watering frequency to once every three days until Labor Day weekend. From Labor Day weekend until the end of October we cut down our watering to once every 5 days again. It makes sense that we water our lawns for different amounts of time as the weather changes.
Mistake number 2: Not blowing out your sprinkler system
Frozen pipes? Did you know on average it costs $800.00 to install one sprinkler zone in a typical quarter acre lot? If there is water left in your sprinkler line during the winter and the pipe bursts from the freezing temperatures it can cause the line to crack and cause a lot of problems. I am not saying that it would cost $800.00 to fix a cracked sprinkler line, but if the line is cracked and the valve is cracked, that can lead to a spendy spring when you turn your sprinklers back on. The best thing to do is to blow out all of your zones with compressed air at the end of the season regardless, even if they have drains installed. We have seen some sprinkler drains installed incorrectly and that can cause a leak if the line freezes and cracks as well.
Mistake number 3: Leaving or not draining your backflow preventer
On average to replace a simple reduced pressure backflow preventer it costs anywhere from $250-$400. A cracked backflow preventer is probably the most common call we get in the springtime. A few things can happen to cause a crack in your preventer: not turning your water off, (which causes water to build up in the backflow preventer), and not draining your ports after turning the water off. As an added precaution some clients like to take off the backflow preventer and store it in their basement.
Mistake number 4: Installing the incorrect parts
Home Depot and Lowes are great and all, but the parts they sell are overpriced and not the best quality. I learned this lesson early on when I started replacing people’s valves and sprinkler heads with quality parts. It is best to go to a sprinkler supply store and install the correct high quality parts. You get what you pay for rings true with this one!
Mistake number 5: Getting the wrong timer
We are in a day and age of smart technology. Isn’t it time to make your sprinkler system smart? I recently installed a smart timer on our home and I have really enjoyed it. They are about $100-200 depending on how many zones you intend to run and it comes with a 50% rebate. I have saved a lot of water, which also means money, by installing this timer. It connects to your WIFI and picks up your local weather to find out when you need to water your lawn and for how much time. Have you ever seen people water their lawn while it is raining because their system only knew to turn on at a certain time? Well this timer won’t water when it is raining. It works great and will save you money in the long run.
I hope you learned some valuable tips on what to do to save you some money on your sprinkler system. Although you may need to upgrade to better products which will cost some money in the beginning, you will save quite a bit of money in the long run by implementing these suggestions. I hope that your season is enjoyable!