Routine maintenance is your ticket to peak performance and efficiency.
Having a sprinkler system in place is a huge help here in South Jersey, especially when our summer days hit their hottest and driest. You can rest easy knowing that your grass is getting the water it needs to stay healthy and lush.
It’s critical though that you have a regular maintenance routine in place, just to ensure that everything is working as it should. Catching issues early can protect you from the need for larger repairs and subsequent sprinkler downtime, plus make sure you aren’t wasting any water.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet to keep in mind.
Check your sprinkler system’s water pressure and delivery
Your water pressure should be in the neighborhood of 40-65 PSI, and deliver about 1 inch of water per week. This can be adjusted to match seasonal needs. High heat of summer will demand a bit more, while cooler, moisture-rich spring weather won’t need quite as much.
To test your irrigation system, set out a few shallow containers in your watering zones, then run the system for 15 minutes. If you get an inch of water, you’re right on target.
Adjust your irrigation system’s zones for different seasons and conditions
One easy way to keep your efficiency high (and water usage low) is to make sure you’re factoring in seasonal demand and environmental conditions. As we touched on above, you’ll need more water in the summer than you will during spring and fall. Adjust accordingly. You can also adjust zone-by-zone, delivering less water to shady areas around your property, and more to the sun-drenched portions where your grass will scorch more quickly.
Any missing or damaged sprinkler heads?
You need to have all the right heads in all the right places! If any are missing or damaged, you run the risk of having some spots of your lawn get too dry, while others might be oversaturated. Both are major problems and lead to uneven growth and potential grass damage. With that in mind, check the heads themselves, but also keep an eye on the spray patterns.
Adjust sprinkler heads – angle is everything!
Dog paws, running kids, a zig with the lawnmower when you should have zagged… There are a LOT of ways that your sprinkler heads can get knocked out of whack. Routinely checking their angles and water delivery is super important, ensuring that your landscaping is watered evenly. Otherwise, especially during summer, those dry spots will become very apparent very quickly.
Watch your utility bills
Leaky valves can be a sneaky issue… Watching your water usage is a good way to tell if water is being lost somewhere in your irrigation system, and the most common culprit is a leaky valve. If you’re using a normal, or potentially increased, amount of water but are seeing brown spots in your lawn, check to see if your valves are losing water.
Flush your irrigation system and change the filter
Routinely flushing your water lines is important, making sure that there’s no build-up impeding water flow. At the same time, clean your filters by giving them a stout washing (fully submerged), or use a natural, vinegar-based solution for an extra level of clean.
Don’t forget to winterize your sprinkler system in NJ
Water, water lines, and freezing temps are never a good mix. Don’t forget to drain your sprinkler system in the fall, making sure that no water is left when the temps dip below freezing. Depending on your specific system, this can be done by simply shutting off the water source, then opening the valves to let the trapped water escape (manual draining), or you can hook up an air compressor to your sprinkler system to force the water out. Please note: this “blow-out draining” method is only for systems specifically designed for it. If you do this to an irrigation setup built for manual or automatic draining, you run the risk of damaging the components.