Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips - Irrigation water savings, landscape water, water conservation and control irrigation systems.

Water Saving Tips for the Landscape

"Water Saving Tips For the Landscape | Irrigation water savings, landscape water, water conservation and control irrigation systems.

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Since over 50 percent of household water is used for yard and garden purposes, getting these systems to operate optimally should be a top priority. Here are some water conservation tips for you to follow in maintaining and upgrading your irrigation system.

Water Saving Tip #1

Change Controller Settings: Set zones (or stations) so that they apply the correct amount of water. One of the major reasons for water waste outdoors, it watering too much.

Group Plants Together With Similar Watering Requirements

Water Saving Tip - Group Plants Together With Similar Watering Needs

Water Saving Tip #2

Group Plants That Have Similar Watering Requirements Together: Change your controller to adjust for seasonal changes. Some of the more sophisticated controllers have a seasonal change in percentage reductions for lower demand months.

For instance during cool months your grass could only require 0.6 to 1.0 inches of water per week. During the heat of the summer that number could change to 1.25 to 1.5 inches per week.

This can amount to a substantial amount of water each week. Spending a bit more on a controller that does this automatically can amount to big savings for you over the lifetime of the controller.

Make Seasonal Adjustments On Your Controller

Water Saving Tip - Make Seasonal Adjustments

Water Saving Tip #3

Make Seasonal Adjustment On Your Controller: Seasonal adjustments not only conserve water, they also promote healthier plants and turf because applying the proper amount of water promotes healthier root growth.

Adjust your controller zones for differing sun and wind exposures. A shady northern exposure can reduce the required amount of water by up to 1/2 of what's required in a sunny area.

Likewise, a west or south-facing slope can consume up to 2 times the water of a typical level area that receives full sun.

Deep and infrequent watering is the rule. This encourages deep root growth and more drought tolerance for most plants. Plus, you'll end up using less water overall.

If you have a heavy clay soil and water runs off the surface soon after the irrigation systems starts, consider "cycling" your system to 2 or 3 different times.

If you need to irrigate an hour to get the required amount of water in the soil, divide this into three 20 minute watering periods. After each cycle allow the water to soak into the ground before starting the next cycle. Again, this can easily be set with a good quality irrigation controller.

Water Saving Tip #4

Maintain Your Irrigation Control System: As irrigation systems age, they develop problems and require pro-active and preventative maintenance to keep them running properly.

Every spring, as you you start up of the irrigation system, cycle through all the zones and make sure that:

All heads and nozzles are in place and not missing.

Replace missing heads and nozzles. This is very easy to do and you can purchase replacement parts online or through a local distributor.

Check For Puddling Water On The Surface

Water Saving Tip - Check For Puddling Water

Water Saving Tip #5:

Check For Visible Leaks: Most leaks can be attributed to a loose fitting or connector, such as a hose clamp that needs to be tightened or a split connection. This will require you dig up the area where you note the water coming up through the lawn or bed.

Check for pooling of water around all sprinkler heads. This is an indication that the seal went bad on that particular head. This wastes a lot of water and can be fixed by using a seal retrofit kit or simply replacing the entire sprinkler.

Check to make sure that patterns of the spray head are not altered due to wearing or age. As these plastic parts become aged in the sun, they will need to be replaced every few years. This is as simple as unscrewing the nozzle and screwing on a new one.

Check to make sure that all heads within one zone are the same type. Like type heads should be used together. Do not install rotor heads and spray heads on the same zone. Group your spray heads, rotor heads, and drip irrigation systems together.

Maintain Your Irrigation System

Water Saving Tip - Look For Clogged Nozzles

Water Saving Tip #6

Look For Clogged Nozzles: Remove nozzle, clean out filter and run system for a couple of minutes and replace the nozzle. If you still have problems, replace the nozzle.

Clear Away Turf Blockage:

If your heads pop up above the turf, make sure they clear the turf and no grass blades block the spray. Consider cutting out the turf immediately around the perimeter of the head.

If you have short riser heads (3 inches or less) consider replace with a higher rise head. If you practice lawn water conservation by cutting long in the summer months, you need to be assured your nozzles are clearing the grass blades.

Check to make sure your system is not over or under-pressurized. Ideal system pressure is about 40 psi (pounds per square inch). If you are over this, install a pressure reducing valve in your main irrigation line that feeds the system. If you are under that you may already have a reduction valve and it may simply require adjustment.

Any rotor heads that will not rotate should be replace with a new sprinkler. This indicates a worn condition or corrosion. You can buy retrofit kits but a new head may be your best bet.

Look for leaking at the controller box. If you have a leaky zone or controller valve and it is not a connection issue, replace the valve. A leak at the control box will waste a large amount of water if not replaced.

Check Your System For Even Coverage

Water Saving Tip - Check  For Even Coverage

Water Saving Tip #7

Check Your System For Even Coverage: You can do this by placing shallow tubs or coffee cans around different areas of your yard and running the system for 20 to 30 minutes.

Compare the amount of water in each container to determine where adjustments need to be made to even-out the coverage. If there area areas where you are not getting good head-to-head coverage you may need to add a head.

Head-To-Head coverage means that the spray from one sprinkler head will extend to touch the next spray head. If you do not have this kind of coverage, you cannot achieve even coverage.

Also make sure your are not sprinkling a non-lawn area such as a drive or walk area. Make your head adjustment precise as you can get a lot better efficiency out of your system with these adjustments.

If you have a small out of the way area that is difficult to cover with overhead irrigation consider changing out the turf to a landscape bed or other hardscape area. If you change to a bed, you can more effectively water it with a drip irrigation system.

Monitor Current Weather Conditions

Evapotranspiration Systems Will Detect Weather Patterns

Water Saving Tip #8

Watch For Advancements In Controller Technology: New advancements in controller technology will revolutionize watering technology and assist greatly with water saving. Evapotranspiration ET systems will take all guesswork out of programming watering times.

These systems will monitor current weather conditions from weather broadcast stations. If the information is not available the controller will use historical data.

Water Saving Tip #9

Check Out These Efficiencies Of Different Systems: Here's a good water savings tip for you. Have you ever wondered just how efficient your irrigation system is? Here are some efficiency calculation for different systems:

    Sub-surface Drip Irrigation: 90% efficient
    Surface Drip Irrigation: 85% efficient
    Large Overhead Rotors: 70% efficient
    Small Overhead Rotors: 65% efficient
    Spray Heads: 50% efficient

Note that these numbers are based on systems operating at optimum performance with no leaks, wind or sun exposure factors.

But, if you are using all spray heads throughout your lawn and landscaped areas, you could save a ton of water, and money, my switching to drip irrigation.

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