If your irrigation system is more than a few years old, chances are there is room for some improvement in its overall efficiency!
Improving the efficiency of an older sprinkler system is not as difficult as it may seem. The irrigation industry is constantly working to create better more efficient products that help save water by distributing it more effectively and cutting back on excess watering. By replacing the more dated components of your sprinkler system with advanced components, you’ll use less water, keep your lawn and plantings healthy – and extend the life of your irrigation system.
#1 – Install a Smart Controller
The number one method to improve sprinkler system efficiency and reduce water usage is to upgrade to a smart controller. These advanced controllers are packed with helpful technology, like calculating moisture levels, tracking hyper-local weather conditions, providing automated seasonal watering adjustments, advanced leak detection sensitivity – and the ability to remotely control your sprinkler system from your smartphone.
These controllers use multiple data points, gathered automatically via home wi-fi, and analyze this data in real-time, providing a vivid analysis of your lawn’s current and future irrigation needs – as well as the state of the health of your system itself. Real-time data point analysis enables the ability to determine the exact amount of hydration needed for each zone in your irrigation system.
Check out Heinen’s top picks for smart controllers:
#2 – Check Valves
If your system does not have properly functioning check valves, you are potentially wasting a large amount of water each time your sprinklers shut off. Check valves are installed along the length of your sprinkler system to keep water moving in one direction. Check valves also allow water to stay in the pipe system after your system runs a session – allowing quick startup when the system’s zones cycle on. Without check valves, each time your sprinkler stops, the water within the pipes will flow downhill to the lowest point of your system and all remaining water drains out through that last sprinkler head – usually creating a muddy pool of water out on a sidewalk or driveway. With check valves, the water is held in place within the pipes at cycle end – allowing your system to turn on much faster.
#3 – High-Efficiency Nozzles & Sprayers
Your system’s sprayers and rotator nozzles play a large part in the amount of water dispersed, where it is dispersed, and how far the water “throws” from the sprinkler head. All of this can influence how effectively water will be absorbed by your grass and plantings. Older, less efficient sprinkler heads tend to spray water out at a faster rate, resulting in water being wasted as runoff.
While older sprinkler heads are spraying out water, they also send out droplet sizes that are typically very small – almost a mist. The light weight of the mist allows even the slightest of breezes to blow water off course, away from the targeted watering area. When water is not properly absorbed by the zone it’s intended for, homeowners begin to notice dry spots and often think this means they need to run their sprinklers longer.
New high-efficiency sprayers and nozzles ensure water is reaching its intended destination – the roots of your grass and plants – much more effectively. Advanced rotary-style sprinkler heads deliver water in larger droplets, which fall faster, and disperse them at a lower rate, which allows the soil time to adequately absorb the water – preventing overwatering and pooling. And, the range and variety of today’s sprayers and nozzles allow for more precise zone customization and better overall lawn coverage.