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Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

Drip Irrigation – How to find out if your drip irrigation is working

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Sometimes it is hard for homeowners to determine if their drip irrigation is working.  One common mistake is looking at the surface of the mulch or rock and panicking because there isn’t any sign of water. It is very easy to over water and drown plants, too much water can be just as deadly as too little water.  It is best to leave the clock set for a watering time determined by either the landscaper or the irrigation technician.  If the plants seem like they are not getting enough water follow these steps to see if the system is working.

1. Let the system run and then go outside after it is finished.

2  Pull back the mulch, or rock near the plant.  Preferably a 1′ by 1′ area.

3. Using a spade or your hand, dig down a couple inches in the dirt in several areas.  Is the dirt moist?  If so it is working, remember there shouldn’t be standing water around the plant because you may be over watering the plant.

4.  If the ground is hard or completely dry then your drip might not be working.  There could be several reasons for this and it is best to call an irrigation professional to examine your drip irrigation.

5.  If it is moist but you feel it isn’t getting enough water, it is best to call a landscaper or irrigation specialist and let them determine how much extra water you need.

How To: Check and Remove Start Times (Video)

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a high water bill.  Sometimes people do not realize they are over watering until after they get a large bill.  There can be many reasons for a large bill and one of the reasons is two start times in your controller.  Having multiple start times can also cause your system to run all the time.  This is a handy You-tube video on how to check and remove start times from your controller.  NOTE: This is for Hunter brand Pro-C controllers.

How to Reduce Your Sprinkler System’s Water Usage

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

This past Summer a landscaper ask me to look at a sprinkler system at a Minneapolis residence. His customer was concerned about the environment and conserving water. Each time she looked at her water bill she was concerned at how much water her household was consuming.  Over the course of one Summer, the sprinkler system was using 170,000 gallons of water.  While that is a large amount of water it isn’t unusual for a sprinkler system.  My goal was to decrease her water consumption and maintain the same beautiful landscape.

Here are the water saving methods I recommended.

  1. Replace the sprinkler system controller.  In the last few years there have been some innovative new controllers coming to the market.  Old controllers should be replaced with these new weather based controllers.  The new Weathermatic and Hunter Solar Sync adjust sprinkler run times based on the weather.  The controllers take in a number of factors, warmth, precipitation, wind speed, time of year and type of sprinkler system.  This allows for a very tuned system that allows the sprinkler system to only put down as much water as is needed.
  2. Replace traditional spray head with Hunter MP Rotators.  This is a new product can be retrofitted in existing spray heads.  It can save 30% more water than traditional spray heads.  The MP Rotators, create multiple streams of water that rotate, this means larger water droplets, no more mist, less wind drift, less evaporation, and less runoff.  This is an easy retrofit and one I recommend.
  3. Replace flower and vegetable gardens spray heads to Hunter drip tubing.  Drip tubing have emitters ever 12″ to 18″ and slowly drip to saturate the ground at the root of the plant.  Water is put only where it is needed, eliminating evaporation and water waste.


This customer in this example saw water savings of 60% from the Summer of 2009 to 2010.  This saved 120,000 gallons of water, this saved a valuable resource and money for our customer. 120,000 gallons equaled a savings of $500 dollars for this Minneapolis residence.

The devices pay for themselves at different rates.  Your quickest payoff is from the controller which usually pays for itself in one to two years. Replacing spray nozzles with MP Rotators and drip tubing, usually sees a payback in four to five years.

Winterization – Part 2

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

A friendly reminder, don’t wait until it below freezing to get your sprinkler system winterized.  It is important to try and schedule your winterizing at least a week before the temperature drops.  If you are unable to get your system winterized before the first hard freeze, wrap the vacuum breaker with a blanket or towel.  This will help prevent the copper pipes from freezing and breaking.