A Sprinkler System Upgrade: Your Key to a Lush, Green Lawn
Have you ever looked at your lawn and thought, “Could this be greener?”
Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your water bills seem to be climbing, but your yard isn’t looking any better for it.
If so, it might be time to consider upgrading your sprinkler system.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of upgrading your sprinkler system for better performance, specifically tailored for our friends in Napoleon, OH.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to make your sprinkler system more efficient, effective, and environmentally friendly the next time you need irrigation repair in Napoleon.
Assessing Your Current Sprinkler System
Before you can upgrade your sprinkler system, you need to understand the current state of affairs.
Is your sprinkler system meeting your watering needs?
Is it efficient?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, it might be time for an upgrade.
Start by evaluating the performance of your current system.
Look at its coverage and water distribution.
Are there areas of your lawn that are getting too much water while others are parched?
Are your sprinkler heads providing an even spray, or are there areas of overspray and inadequate reach?
Understanding the limitations of your current system will help guide your upgrade decisions.
The best way to assess your current sprinkler system is to get an irrigation inspection from professionals like Simmons Landscape & Irrigation.
You can also view a quick comparison of different types of sprinkler systems here so you know which type will work best for your specific situation.
Signs Your Sprinkler System Needs an Upgrade
There are several signs that your irrigation system might need an upgrade.
For instance, if your water use has escalated without a corresponding improvement in your landscape, it’s a clear sign that your system could be more efficient.
Similarly, if the appearance of your landscape has deteriorated, or if you’re making frequent service calls for your system, it might be time for an upgrade.
Is your watering system in constant need of sprinkler repair?
Another sign is the cost to maintain the sprinkler system.
If you’re spending more on keeping your system running than it would cost to upgrade it, it’s definitely time to consider an upgrade.
Upgrading for Water Efficiency and Conservation
One of the primary reasons to upgrade your sprinkler system is to enhance water efficiency and conservation.
With advancements in technology and a focus on water conservation, upgrading your sprinkler system can lead to significant improvements in water efficiency, coverage, and overall performance.
Newer technologies, such as smart controllers, weather sensors, and precision nozzles, allow for precise water delivery based on weather conditions, soil moisture levels, and plant requirements.
By upgrading to these features, you can reduce water waste and optimize water usage, resulting in significant water savings over time.
Improving Coverage and Uniformity
Upgrading your sprinkler system presents an opportunity to improve coverage and uniformity.
Evaluate the placement and performance of your sprinkler heads.
Consider replacing them with more efficient models that offer adjustable spray patterns, allowing for better customization to match your landscape’s specific watering needs.
By ensuring even water distribution, you can avoid dry spots and overwatering, leading to a healthier and more balanced landscape.
Zoning and Drip Irrigation
Optimize Your Sprinkler Zones
Redesigning the layout of your sprinkler system can involve creating different zones based on the specific water requirements of different areas of your landscape.
This approach allows for targeted watering, with each zone tailored to the needs of specific plants, soil types, or sun exposure.
Try Drip Irrigation Systems
Additionally, incorporating drip irrigation in plant beds and garden areas can further optimize water usage by delivering water directly to the roots, minimizing evaporation and runoff.
If you currently have a drip irrigation system, you can find out how much drip system repair costs in Napoleon here.
Consult with irrigation system professionals, like the pros at Simmons Landscape & Irrigation, to plan your watering zones and ensure that all your different types of plants are getting the correct amount of water.
Integration of Smart Technology
You can also upgrade your sprinkler system by integrating smart technology that offers enhanced control and automation.
Smart controllers can adjust watering schedules based on real-time weather data, soil moisture levels, and plant requirements.
This ensures that your landscape receives the right amount of water at the right time, reducing water waste and eliminating the guesswork associated with manual scheduling.
Options for Upgrading
There are many options available for upgrading your sprinkler system.
Upgrading doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole irrigation system has to be abandoned and replaced.
Replace the Sprinkler Heads
It could be something as simple as changing the sprinklers.
The existing sprinklers could have stopped turning, don’t pop up high enough, or distribute water poorly.
Replace the Valves
An upgrade could also include replacing the valves because they are no longer opening or are stuck open, or maybe additional features such as flow control or pressure regulation are needed.
Additionally, the diaphragms could be worn, cracked, or dried out, or the solenoids past their life cycle.
Check the Wire Connections
The wiring could be bad due to construction damage or years of being underwater, especially if waterproof connectors were not used when the system was originally installed.
Replace the Controller
An upgrade could also consist of just replacing the controller.
This could be desirable to provide more flexibility in scheduling, to change to a smart controller to be more sustainable, by reducing overall irrigation water use, or because the controller just quit working.
The Lifespan of an Irrigation System
The length of time the complete irrigation system lasts can be a short time to a very long time.
Normally, the system doesn’t wear out; just the various components do.
There are two things that wear on the irrigation system: location and number of cycles.
The two are usually, but not always, directly related.
For example, an irrigation system in Phoenix, Arizona, is going to operate more often than an irrigation system in the Toledo area (including Napoleon).
Whereas the Phoenix system is operable and running on some type of schedule year-round, a system in Napoleon should be winterized and shut down during the cold Ohio winter.
The system in Phoenix is operating at least twice as much as the system in Napoleon, and because evapotranspiration (ET) rates are higher in Phoenix than in Napoleon, it is also operating longer each cycle.
So, generally speaking, a system in Phoenix would not be expected to last as long as a system installed in Napoleon.
On the other hand, the cycle of warm and freezing weather that we have in Napoleon can also take its toll on a sprinkler system’s components.
It all comes down to cycles. The more often the system goes on and off, the more wear there will be.
If you have a system that you use to water a little, let it soak in, and then water some more, that system will turn on and off more, and the components will also wear faster.
Technological Advances in Irrigation
As time passes, equipment ages, but technology continues to advance. Advances in technologies are good for irrigation.
Technology provides ways to better manage an irrigation system, enhances the system’s operation, and makes the system operate more efficiently.
As such, technology improvements alone may be a reason to upgrade the system.
This has been especially true with the introduction of smart controllers and soil moisture sensors.
Smart controllers are either climate-based or soil moisture sensor-based.
A smart controller is programmed with site characteristics that a conventional controller does not have, such as plant type, precipitation rate, root zone depth, and soil type.
These parameters are used to set up a base schedule, and then the climate data–normally evapotranspiration (ET) rates or the soil moisture sensor readings–are used to adjust the base schedule to apply the amount of water needed based on the existing weather or soil moisture conditions.
This type of controller doesn’t just come on the same day at the same time and apply the same amount of water.
Improved Sprinkler Heads
Upgrading the sprinklers, if they are more than five years old, will alone improve the uniformity of the water being applied.
In the last decade, manufacturers of irrigation sprinklers have greatly improved the sprinklers’ ability to apply water uniformly, as well as the reliability of the sprinklers.
Upgrading just the sprinkler heads will likely improve water distribution in both the uniformity and reliability of the water distribution.
Determining the Extent of the Upgrade Needed By Tracking Trends
So, how do you tell the difference between when a system just needs minor upgrades versus knowing when the system needs a complete overhaul/replacement?
The simplest way is to log the service calls and make sure you document what the service call was for: sprinkler pipes break, bad slip coupling, broken backflow device, bad sprinkler solenoid, etc.
Keeping a record allows you to look at trends.
If the trending is showing frequent component failures are occurring, the easier it will be to make the decision as to whether to continue to get a sprinkler repair versus replacing the entire system.
For example, how many pipe breaks have there been, and were they on the mainline before the valve or on the lateral after the valve?
Are the breaks always in the same place, or are they spread out throughout the system?
Pipe breaks are a sign of major issues with the system, such as high water pressure or excessive velocities.
High water pressure may not break the system like high velocities, but they will prematurely wear the components and make the system less efficient.
If pipe failures cannot be determined and continue to occur, that means it is time for a major overhaul.
Importance of Proper Installation and Maintenance
Importance of Regular Use of Irrigation Systems
An irrigation system is a mechanical system buried in the harsh environment of the ground.
Just like your car, it will not last forever, needs maintenance to keep running, and does not like to sit idle.
Systems that have not operated for several years will most likely need replacement sooner when compared to an operating system.
Spray heads like to pop up and down, and valves to open and close.
When that does not occur over several years, the system will be in very poor condition.
Importance of Proper Installation of Sprinkler Systems
The life of an irrigation system is dependent on not only when it was installed but also how it was installed.
Old systems (more than 20-plus years old) wear out as the equipment used does not have the lifespan of today’s precisely manufactured equipment.
Replacement parts for older equipment are often also no longer made.
Installation is the key, however.
Poor installation will cause a system to not last as long as it should or not operate properly from the very beginning.
For example, not using waterproof connectors, under-sizing wire or pipe, and oversizing zones will cause the system to operate poorly and cause it to not last its normal life cycle.
The initial installation will also be a large factor in how long the system will last.
A well-installed system will, needless to say, last longer than a poorly installed system.
Professional Consultation and Installation
While it’s possible to upgrade your sprinkler system on your own, it’s often best to seek professional help.
A professional can assess your current system, recommend the best upgrades for your specific needs, and ensure that the installation is done correctly.
This can save you time and money in the long run and ensure that your upgraded system performs at its best.
Upgrade Your Napoleon Sprinkler System for a Greener Tomorrow
Upgrading your sprinkler system is an investment in your property.
It can improve the health and appearance of your landscape, save you money on water bills, and contribute to water conservation efforts.
Whether your system needs a few minor tweaks or a major overhaul, the benefits of an upgrade are clear.
At Simmons Landscape & Irrigation, we specialize in sprinkler system upgrades and repairs.
We have the knowledge and experience to help you make the most of your irrigation system.
Whether you’re in Napoleon, OH, or the surrounding areas, we’re here to help.
Don’t let an outdated or inefficient sprinkler system hold you back.
Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call.
Let’s work together to create a greener tomorrow!