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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

Lawn Sprinkler Systems Require Know-How

A lawn sprinkler system is one area around the house that many homeowners think they can easily adjust and repair when things go awry. What is it to fix? A broken sprinkler head, busted pipe, or malfunctioning timer appear easy to fix because the homeowner has seen irrigation technicians repair broken parts in just moments. This is the know-how trap that gets many homeowners in trouble because they fail to realize that repetitive work in these areas makes these technicians experts at what they do.

Just think about all the parts to a sprinkler system. First, you need water and an understanding that the source of the water is vital in the state of Florida. Some developments require reclaimed non-potable water, and if you are not familiar with the water sources, you could have a real problem especially if backflows are required. Then, you need a timer, water pump, water valves, valve box, pipe, sprinkler head, and a proper layout to ensure the irrigation is doing what it needs to do to properly water your lawn.

Even more confusing, the homeowner must know what the best parts are to buy for their home. Timers come in many styles and complexities and must be compatible with the valves and valve box. The type of irrigation system you use will determine if your lawn looks beautiful or if you are just wasting water.

The biggest mistake made by most homeowners who try to irrigate their lawns is they use the same sprinkler head throughout the system, and end up watering sidewalks, sides of exterior walls, and underwatering the plants and grass. There are several types of sprinkler heads such as fixed, rotary, rotary gear drive, large turf, micro/misty, and pop-ups. In addition, there are drip and bubbler systems which are becoming more popular in Florida as water conservation becomes a larger issue. There is not a one size fits all sprinkler head or system for any yard, but a well thought out irrigation plan will save water, enhance your lawn’s beauty, and most of all, require less maintenance.

Before trying to fix or install an irrigation system, know what you are doing. A few 3–5-minute YouTube video tutorials are not enough to make you an expert but could cause you to waste a lot of money. Next, have a plan and save yourself a lot of extra work and disappointment. Do not be that guy or gal who goes to the lawn with a shovel and hacksaw not understanding what your next move will be. Then, understand and research the various pieces and parts of your irrigation system to ensure you purchase the correct items. There is nothing more frustrating than spending 30 minutes on your knees installing a sprinkler head that does not reach a section of your lawn. Finally, research how to adjust the timer and sprinkler heads to maximize performance. The adjusting part of the process is normally where most homeowners fail in sprinkler repair projects. It can be comical to see a homeowner in the middle of the yard for hours, getting drenched, because they do not understand how to adjust their new sprinkler head.

Florida requires licensing for irrigation companies and due to the complexity of systems, conservation elements, as well as potable water issues, you can expect the state to tighten regulations in the next few years. Fresh water is the life blood of Florida, and most officials understand that sprinkler systems in the state are wasting millions of gallons of water each year.

Irrigation systems look easy to repair but ask any novice and they will tell you it can be very frustrating trying to repair a system. If you do not have the know-how, hire a professional and save yourself both time and money. Keep in mind a bad irrigation job will not only cost money to repair but could cause thousands of dollars in damage to your lawn and landscaping with inadequate watering.

Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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