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We were able to repair a sprinkler system for a nice Homeowner’s Association this week that had been neglected, instead of having to totally replace it like some hadphoto suggested.  We love to help people save money!  But…as we finished it started to rain!  Oh well, I’m sure they will need it sometime soon 🙂

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water'dIrrigation systems are very reliable and need little care for the most part. There are a few things that will help keep your system up and running.

The first thing is make sure you water on the correct days and times. Odd address homes water on Wednesday and Saturday, even address homes water on Thursday and Sunday. All watering is to be done before 10:00 and after 4:00. Check when your system is on that all the heads are working and spraying where they are supposed to. Heads that spray onto concrete driveways or sidewalks should be adjusted. Check that no spray is hitting your home also. Check to make sure that all the heads clear your turf and if not you may need to raise them. Some systems will be fairly easy. Just take a shovel around the head and carefully dig next to it and if it is on poly pipe, a black hose, you can usually just lift it up and repack the dirt. If yours is not on poly pipe, you will need to either get taller heads or add an extension to clear the turf.

Be sure to run your system. The valves especially can have trash get in the diaphragm area and gum it up or the valves get sticky and want to not come on or stay on and will not shut off. This seems to happen more with reclaimed water, but can happen to any system. Try to run each zone for a little bit every couple weeks just to keep things working.

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The new watering guideline notice came recently changing the rules of the game for some of us. In the past there were no restrictions on how you irrigated your turf. The guidelines involved days of the week and times of watering. That has all changed. Starting November 1, only 50 % of the turf area may be irrigated with high flow irrigation which is defined as over 30 gallons per hour. The remaining turf area can not be irrigated. The other stipulation is you can only use micro spray or drip irrigation in your planting beds. High flow irrigation is just about every kind of spray head and rotor on the market. The new rules have been in force in the southern part of Florida for quite a while but it has finally started to work towards us. The new rules will not apply to existing systems or reclaimed water. The new rules will start in St. Johns county for now in our area, but it is only a matter of time before we all will be under the same or similar type of rules

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During the winter months irrigation systems typically do not get used as much. There are a couple of things you can do to keep your system in good shape and some easy things you can do to fix a couple of problems. One of the most common things to go wrong is the system not turning on. There are several easy things you can do to check it out and possibly fix. The one we see most often is the rain sensor. If it has rained, the sensor gets wet and causes the system to sense that the yard has been watered and shuts the system down. To check this, turn your timer on and lift up the rain sensor top. If the irrigation starts, replace the top and adjust it back. The other common thing is the timer is not set. Try checking all the settings. That is the day, time, start times for system and zone run times. There should be a booklet for your timer or instructions on the door. If not, you can usually call the manufacturer or download a copy of your manual on line.

Another problem may be that the wires get cut during some sort of digging in the yard. Be sure if you come across any wires that get cut, find both ends and fix them right away. If they get buried back, it is much harder to find them again to repair than when they are exposed. You may also have heads that don’t spray very well or none at all. The problem is often dirt or debris getting in the head and clogging the screens. The easy way to fix this is to open the head of the sprinkler and pull out the screen, clean it and replace the top to the head. this usually will fix the problem.

One last thing to keep in mind is to not water your lawn when it is going to freeze. It may look like a pretty winter wonderland but it is not the best thing for your yard and should no be done.

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