As A/C season starts to wine down, you should start thinking of ways to make your sprinkler system more effective at conserving water & saving you money.
Conserving Water and Saving Money with Your Sprinkler System
You can conserve water and save money at the same time with a sprinkler system—if you install and program it correctly. Irrigation systems need a water-efficient design to avoid wasting water.
There are 10 ways to make your lawn sprinkler efficient. The common denominator in all of these ideas is you—you’re in control of your irrigation unit—its design, its installment and its programming:
- Install a rain/freeze sensor:A rain/freeze sensor turns off your irrigation system when it starts raining or when the air temperature falls below 32°F.
- Set up drip irrigation and bubblers for your flower beds, trees, shrubs and small yards:If you live in a city, your lawn is small. Drip irrigation works adequately to irrigate your lawn. No matter the yard size, driplines and bubblers are perfect for flower beds, trees and shrubbery.
- Know how much water your lawn needs to survive:Depending on where you live, you can only water your lawn on certain days due to mandated restrictions. Plus, if water is at a premium, you may need to allow your yard grass to get stressed. You can tell when your lawn is stressed when you walk on it and your footprint doesn’t disappear in seconds. Then you know it’s time to start your lawn sprinkler.
- Test your sprinkler system to make sure it’s working correctly:If part of your lawn is in full sun, it’ll have different watering needs than your yard grass that’s in the shade.
You can test the effectiveness of your system by placing tuna cans in different areas of your yard. Turn on your sprinkler system for 15 minutes.
After the time is up, measure the amount of water in each can using a ruler. Add all the measurements and divide by the number of cans used to find your system’s average output. Then, readjust your lawn sprinklers to deliver the right amount of water per zone.
Keep your irrigation system working efficiently by checking it every month. Sprinkler heads break, pipes burst and leak water, or you have a sprinkler head watering your driveway rather than your lawn.
- Direct water to the root zones of trees and shrubs: Don’t direct your sprinkler heads to hit the trunk, or worse yet, the leaves of your woody plants. Instead, go to the furthest point of your tree or shrub’s canopy—that’s the root zone. Adjust your system to hit the ground underneath the canopy.
- Use a rain gauge to measure rainfall:You can control the amount of water output when you use a rain gauge. If you get ¾ to an inch of rain on a particular week, you can turn off your lawn sprinklers for that week.
- Rearrange your landscape into hydrozones: You can plant a bed of native flowers, shrubbery and trees that don’t need as much water and then, plant another bed with plants that need more water. Next, you design and set your irrigation zones to provide the right amount of water for each zone. You’ll use less water that way.
- Adjust your sprinkler’s timer to meet seasonal needs: You don’t need your irrigation system or driplines to go off at the same time at the same amount all year round. Instead, reset the timers based on each season’s watering needs.
- Make sure your sprinkler gives your property “head to head” coverage:Design your irrigation system so that one sprinkler head delivers enough water to meet the next spray head. Stick with the same brand of a sprinkler system, like K-Rain, to accurately set up head to head coverage.
- Use rotary nozzles: Rotary nozzlesemit water more efficiently than spray heads because the nozzles deliver water at a slower rate, allowing water to percolate into the ground. Modern rotary nozzles are now available for smaller yards as well as large ones.