Installing a Lawn Sprinkler System – Always choose a qualified contractor

Installing a Lawn Sprinkler System – Always choose a qualified contractor

Posted by Jonathan Manning, CLT - B.S. Horticulture, Colorado State University in Uncategorized

Installing a Lawn Sprinkler System – Always choose a qualified contractor

By:Jonathan Manning, CLT
A Better Garden Maintenance, LLC
Denver, CO

Delivering water to a garden or lawn turf area seems like it would be a simple matter. Yet the installation and maintenance of a lawn sprinkler system requires a license and permit in some municipalities. The water which is supplied to the lawn being mown is connected to a public drinking water supply. This supply is mandated to be protected by city and state regulations. Water drop due to a connection by firemen to a local fire hydrant would cause a backflow of water to the system main line and potential health problems without the regulations. Besides the safety issues, there are items to be addressed for your personal residence to ensure you have a proper & effective lawn sprinkler system.

Sprinkler system designs are based on available water. Both pressure and volume influence the requirements of a lawn sprinkler sysem. Most municipalities require a backflow prevention device. Sprinkler heads are utilized depending on space and design requirements. Minimal systems can be installed at cheaper rates, yet a system should be installed to meet the specifications of the area being irrigated. To remain fully pressurized and functional, each zone should not exceed the maximum amount of water at a given pressure which is available at you point of connection.

Residential systems are usually installed by mean of an indoor tap off the main water supply. The tap off the water supply is usually isolated by use of an indoor ball valve which has a drain towards the backflow device. Gate valves are no longer used as they have a tendency to leak as the rubber gasket deteriorates over time. Ball valves are useful to shutoff the sprinkler system during the cold Colorado months. These valves feed into a backflow prevention device (usually RPA or PVB) which protects families and municipalities from contamination of pesticides and other chemicals in the lawn & garden.

Some systems require the use of a stop-n-waste valve connected between your water meter and the connection of your house. This can be beneficial if it allows a higher pressure or larger volume of water to be allotted to your lawn sprinkler system. The backflow prevention device must be utilized after the stop-n-waste valve as it is a point source for contamination.

All lawn sprinkler systems contain a mainline or in most residential situations a manifold. This is the water line which is constantly under pressure to supply the lawn sprinkler sytem. Zones, or isolated areas to be watered are supplied off this via an electric control valve. Each valve is controlled by an irrigation controller which can be installed indoors, in the garage, in a shed or outside if the component is manufactured for such use. The standard is that a similar grouping of sprinkler heads are included on a single zone.

Most zones are planned for a residential lawn sprinkler system to have a water flow of 10-12 gpm at an acceptable pressure. This allows for approximately 3-5 rotar pop-up heads and 4-7 stationary pop-up heads. The number of drip emitters availble are calculated by the total gallons per hour divided by the gallons per hour of the drip emitter being utilized. With drip systems the key is to realize what type of drip you are using (spray or emitters) and separate them. Also it is important to keep the annuals on a separate system as they usually require more water.

Remember a quality system shouldnt need replaced for at least 15 years. They will need to be maintained. This should include a yearly spring start up, periodic adjustment (heads, controller, etc), sprinkler repair as necessary, and in Colorado a winter shutdown. Contact us today if you wish to get an estimate to have a new lawn sprinkler system installed or if you need a qualified technician to service youre existing system.

05 Mar 2009 1 comment

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