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Sprinkler Audits Can Bring Buckets of Savings

June 10, 2013

Does this sound familiar?  You’re going along, watering your lawn like you think you should be and then one day you notice dry spots.  You verify the sprinklers are all working fine, and that it’s not disease, but not matter what you can’t get the spots to go away.  The likely answer is to be found in your watering uniformity.  Uniformity is the evening of water distribution.  See, as a sprinkler sprays the water pattern becomes thinner as is goes outward.  Hence the need for head-to-head coverage.  But if the heads may look good on paper, and you can’t see any problems when running them, there still might be major problems in the distribution.  This is where catch cups can give you some important insights.

Perform a Sprinkler System Audit

To perform a sprinkler audit, deploy the catch cups evenly and run the applicable zone.  While you watch how each head is spraying, the cups are gathering water.  Make sure the heads are popping up and are spraying correctly (being free from debris).  Also, make sure the water is getting on the lawn and not your sidewalk, patio or driveway.  Adjustments may need to be made.  Then, when the cycle is done (we recommend running the zone for at least 10 minutes), gather the findings.  Do you notice any areas getting disproportionately more or less water than the others?  These represent problem areas that should be investigated further.  You can enter the findings into wateringschedule.com and you’ll get a free, customized water schedule for your current layout.  You’ll also see valuable data, such as your uniformity.  You want this number to be as high as possible (though 100% uniformity isn’t realistically possible, anywhere above 80% is great).  You can even play around with the numbers to see how much improving uniformity would affect the amount of water needed.  Altogether this process will take you about 30 minutes (add 15 minutes for each zone), but can yield tens-of-thousands of gallons of water saved over the course of a summer; well worth the time.

 

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