Test Your Sprinkler Like a Home Inspector
We are moving into Spring, and soon it will be time to turn on the sprinklers. If you have a sprinkler system at home, now is the time to test your system to make sure it's functioning properly. This is particularly important this year after the extreme temperatures we had in February.
To test your system, first walk around your yard to look for broken heads. This is extremely common, and you can easily replace them yourself.
Look inside the control valve covers in the yard to see if there is water accumulating in them.
Run each zone for at least 2 minutes. Make sure each sprinkler head is spraying on only grass or vegetation. Spraying the house or fence not only wastes water it damages the exterior wall or fencing material.
To check for leaks or water line breaks, look for any areas not getting coverage. If you see an empty spot, or water bubbling up or forming on the sidewalk, you may have a break in the underground line. A lot of systems have underground soaker lines. One of the reasons to run the system for at least two minutes is to see if you're getting more water in one area or another.
Look for low water pressure on heads, or a change of pressure between heads (one is spraying hard and fast, but the next is just trickling). Make sure rotating heads are actually rotating after being dormant for a few months.
After running the sprinklers, check for soil erosion or sinkholes, another sign of an underground broken line.
If you find any problems, most of these are relatively easy to fix. You can find a YouTube video and get parts at your local hardware store. The biggest problem is that it's just a pain in the butt to dig down and find the lines. If you're not into DIY, call a sprinkler irrigation company.
This summer, make sure you go to your city website under water conservation for tips and directives on making the most of your watering, what days to water, how long, etc.