Check irrigation system for problems

Some of you have already been running your irrigation system this spring with the above-average spring heat. Have you checked your system to make sure it is working correctly? If not, you should, as most people have them come on before they get up in the morning.

I have seen someone’s system with a broken sprinkler head for two straight summers while jogging during the early morning hours. I would be willing to bet $100 it is still broken but I have not seen it running yet this spring.

Doing a little preventive maintenance and running through the system can help conserve water and make sure it is running properly.

Look for the following as you run the system:

• Check the seals on the sprinkler head. A failed wiper seal at the base of the sprinkler is among the most common parts to wear out, regardless of the brand. You will see water bubbling around the edge of the head if the seal is worn out.

• Are all the heads adjusted properly? Are sprinklers throwing water on the house, the deck or out in the street? I have someone in my neighborhood that has sprinklers throwing completely across the street.

• If you don’t have time for a spring sprinkler check-up, or who is not mechanically inclined, you might want to consider to maintenance contract. Let a professional keep the system operating year-round.

Generally, a maintenance contract doesn’t include parts, just labor. The contractor would also adjust the settings on a controller for spring, summer and fall, as it needs to be adjusted for the seasons. It makes no sense to water the same way in July as you would in November. Contractors will usually make two to three trips to your house to do this run-through. That contract is probably a pretty good one if you are a busy person.

Most often, irrigation contractors have other businesses like landscaping. So their commitments might determine when they can tune up your system.

As a rule, maintenance contracts are not profitable for contractors. Many do it for good customer relations. The best overall advice is to just make sure you run the system through its cycle.

Be familiar with the controller if you have an automated system.

Know how to adjust it. Make sure the current time on it is correct.

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