Irrigation Vocabulary Everyone Should Know

When it comes to irrigation, it can be really overwhelming trying to keep up with all of the vocabulary and different parts involved. Most of the time, an irrigation tech will say words you’ve never heard before! Understanding what’s going on is nearly impossible when you don’t know how to identify parts of an irrigation system. If you want to learn some basic things about irrigation to help you the next time you have a sprinkler problem, read the article below!

Valves, Heads, and Controller

The valves, heads, and controller should definitely be things that you can identify in your home’s own irrigation system. 

The Controller

A controller is the device that tells your sprinkler heads when to turn on, and how long to spray. Most of the time, it’s located on the inside of your garage. You should walk around your property and make sure you can identify where it is and that it’s functioning properly. A lot of the time people leave their controller settings the same all year, which can lead to serious overwatering. If you don’t have a smart sensor, your sprinklers will turn on even if it’s raining out and even if the yard doesn’t need it. Knowing where your controller is how to change the settings if necessary can help you make sure you’re not watering too much or too little.

The Valves

Within an irrigation system are usually several different “zones”. Each zone is made up of an area of the property that is similar in watering needs such as several drip beds or a section of turfgrass. Each zone is controlled by a valve. The valve gets water from the main line and directs it to the proper zone. You should know how many zones you have in your property and you should make sure that each valve is working properly. Sometimes having too many zones or too little sprinkler heads in each zone can lead to pressure loss and ineffective watering. You can ask an irrigation technician to take a look at your pressure and make sure you’re getting good coverage and that you have the right amount of valves and zones.

Sprinkler Heads

These are usually the parts of an irrigation system that people are most familiar with. While all sprinkler heads usually look pretty similar to one another, there are actually many different kinds that you can get. Some are really effective at getting good water coverage, and some are known to waste a lot of water. How good a sprinkler head or nozzle is at putting down water is called the “precipitation rate”. If you bought a home without knowing what kind of heads your irrigation has, now is the time to take a look! It might be a good idea to upgrade the typical spray heads to a rotor nozzle. These typically have better coverage and better yard results. These are great things to ask a professional irrigation technician about!

Questions to as an Irrigation Technician

Once you know the basic components of your irrigation system, you’re more equipped to ask the right questions! Here are some questions you should be asking:

What kind of irrigation system do I have?

While the basic components are usually the same, there are a few different kinds of irrigation systems you can have. Most likely, you have either a “smart” or a “traditional” irrigation system. There are pros and cons to both, so you should ask your professional which would be better for your home. A lot of the time a smart system is the way to go for saving on your water bill and keeping your yard in the best shape. 

How good is my sprinkler coverage?

In the irrigation world, there’s usually a standard for having “head to head” coverage for the best looking results. This means that the distance between the sprinkler heads is just enough that all areas are reached. While this isn’t always perfect or possible, you can usually get pretty close. Ask how good your coverage is, and if there are any changes you should make.

How often should I be watering?

Irrigation professionals usually have a good idea about how often properties in a certain area need to have their sprinklers on. However, each home can be different based on precipitation rates and other factors. Ask your professional, based on the precipitation rates and coverage of your sprinklers, how often you should water and for how long.

If you need assistance with your irrigation systems or have more questions, feel free to give our landscaping professionals a call today to set up an appointment!

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