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Everything You Need To Know About Sprinkler Systems & More
Installing a sprinkler or irrigation system for your lawn &/or garden is perhaps one of the few home improvement projects that actually makes your life much easier. Hand watering gardens, flower beds, or lawns-moving a lawn sprinkler attached to the hose every 20 minutes-is not most homeowners' idea of fun.
A sprinkler system automates this entire process while eliminating the concern of whether or not your yard is getting the proper amount of water it needs. Hand watering or using an oscillator, takes more time, wastes water, and leaves areas of your yard either over-watered or under-watered. And, generally speaking, only about 60% of the water you spray at your lawn actually does any good. A properly designed and installed sprinkler system addresses all these concerns.
Basic Sprinkler System OperationAt its most rudimentary level, a sprinkler system consists of a relatively few main components. We'll start with the controller. This is an electronic, computerized unit that is the "brains" behind the sprinkler system. The controller utilizes a timer that tells your system which set of sprinkler heads need to turn on when, and for how long. It is connected to a set of valves that regulate the flow of water into a specific "zone" in your sprinkler system. The valves are tied directly into your water system and act like faucets that turn off and on when told to by the controller.
These valves then feed water into the rest of the sprinkler system, which is typically composed of undersurface pipes that lead to the actual sprinkler heads. The sprinkler heads are normally placed near ground level when not in use, and then pop-up when the water pressure fills the pipes that feed them...so there you have it, the essence of a sprinkler system.
Although there a number of "do-it-yourself" sprinkler system kits on the market, the complexity of a properly designed, installed and maintained system, precludes the ability and expertise of the average homeowner. For instance, how many homeowners would know what the local regulations and specifications are? Are there permits required? Which backflow device is needed for the specific application; PVB, RP or double check? Is PVC or poly pipe called for? How many and what type of valves are needed? What type of rotor heads do you need; stream rotors, gear driven rotors or impact-style rotors, and where do you place them? And what about"spray" or "mist" type heads, drip irrigation, rain sensors, etc. etc.
A qualified, professional contractor will know the answers to these questions and many others. The contractor will also be able analyze everything from your soil conditions to which parts of your yard get the most sun and/or shade. The professional will also consider the slope of your property, the various types of landscaping you have and their water requirements as he plans and designs an efficient system for your home.
Zoning Your LawnIrrigation zones are an element of landscape irrigation design that allows your system to target water distribution with precision. The premise behind the landscape irrigation design concept of "irrigation zones" is a simple element of planning the system. Zoning basically ensures that Zone A of your lawn should get X amount of water while Zone B should only receive Y amount, and so on.
Establishing irrigation zones allows your sprinkler system to be programmed accordingly. This ability to discharge more precise amounts of water in a targeted area further promotes water conservation and costs savings.
Sprinkler System Water Conservation TipsDid you ever dream that you could actually save water through the use of an irrigation system? Perhaps not. But an irrigation system that is properly designed, installed and maintained, will help minimize the amount of water you use, while keeping your lawn and landscape looking good and healthy.
Here a few tips to help you have a lush, green landscape without draining the rivers and your bank account...
Approximate Cost of a Sprinkler SystemThe cost of an automatic sprinkler system depends mainly on two factors-the size of your lawn or yard to be irrigated (ie, how much pipe needs to be laid, how many physical sprinkler heads are needed) and the components you choose to build your system. For a 2500 sq. ft. lawn, you could expect a figure of around $2000-$2500 for an underground sprinkler system.
However, as you go up in size, costs do not increase at the same rate since you have already paid for the plumbing connection to the water system, the controller, etc. So a 5000 sq. ft. lawn might only be $3500. Another ballpark figure to use is $600-$700 per zone (a zone is an area where the sprinklers all operate at one time - due to water pressure and volume issues, normally 5-10 sprinkler heads operate at a time - a zone usually consumes 10-15 gallons of water per minute), so a 5 zone system would run somewhere around $3,000 to $3,500.
If you considered subsurface irrigation even a few years ago, you were probably discouraged by the expense and complexity of the installation. In the past few years, dramatic improvements have been made in both the materials used and installation techniques. These enhancements have reduced the cost significantly.
With subsurface irrigation, the water is applied at a slower rate but for a longer period of time. The slower application rate means that your sprinkler zones can be significantly larger. For example, a medium sized yard might need 8 zones with an above ground system where the subsurface irrigation system might only need 3 or 4 zones. Fewer zones mean fewer control valves, a fewer heads and a less expensive timer. All of these things can add up to significant cost savings.
Choosing a ContractorAny reputable contractor will provide you with a plan diagram and estimates on cost and time. Be certain to inquire about warranty, types of products used and service/maintenance issues, including winterization. Make sure the contractor can provide references and is insured, bonded and licensed.
It is in everyone's best interest to conserve water whenever possible. Since a subsurface irrigation system can save you from 30 to 70 percent in lawn water usage, it can benefit the environment as well as your bank account. So, if a new or upgraded sprinkler system is in your plans, contact a qualified contractor for more information.
This article originally appeared in Home Improvement Resource Magazine. Home Improvement Resource Magazine is a bi-monthly publication serving the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Home Improvement Resource's editorial content covers every issue of home improvement and design concerns for homeowners. Whether it's kitchen remodeling, bath remodeling, interior decorating, repair and maintenance issues, appliances, home theater...whatever! If it has to do with the home, we provide the latest information about it. Visit http://www.hirkc.com to learn more and to read other interesting articles. All of our articles are available for reprint with appropriate links to our site. For a free subscription to the print version of Home Improvement Resource, a full color, glossy magazine format publication, contact the publisher, R.J. Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=R.J._Scott
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