customers benefit from the knowledge of our Certified
Landscape Irrigation Auditor. When performing system audits,
we observe system operations, locate irrigation zones, check
pressure and flow rates, conduct water application
efficiency tests, and identify equipment that is worn,
broken or misaligned. We can prepare a point-by-point
checklist of items that need to be corrected or improved to
insure maximum efficiency. Irrigation audits are an
effective way to identify deficiencies in irrigation
systems. These problems can include, but are not limited to:
- precipitation rate sprinkler heads
sprinkler heads on a given circuit should be the same type
(e.g. rotors, pop-up spray, etc.) and have matched
precipitation rate (in inches per hour). Heads with
differing precipitation rates have widely varying operating
times, which can lead to the over-watering of one area in
order to sufficiently water another.
systems are designed to operate with head-to-head coverage,
where the spray from one sprinkler head reaches to the next,
resulting in necessary overlap. Precipitation rates, as they
pertain to the system’s efficiency, are based on the
assumption that one head hits the next (overlap). Areas
where the sprinkler's spray pattern does not overlap are
likely not getting sufficient water and may develop brown,
dry areas, or overly wet ones, promoting insect and fungus
attack. These dry or soggy areas indicate the system has low
"uniformity" of coverage (efficiency). To compensate, one
has to run the sprinklers for longer times to get adequate
water to the dry spots, while the rest of the lawn is
getting over-watered. This can also cause drainage
- Based upon
soil characteristics, water will soak into the ground at
differing rates. Sandy soils have high (fast) infiltration
rates, while clay soils have low (slow) infiltration rates.
If the precipitation rate of the sprinkler heads exceeds the
soil's infiltration rate, then runoff and erosion occur
(especially on slopes). On flat ground, this will also lead
to puddling and the percolation of water beyond the
effective root zone.
- If your
sprinklers' precipitation rate exceeds the soil’s
infiltration rate, lower precipitation rate heads can be
installed, or one can shorten the watering times and use
multiple start times (e.g. 3 start times at 5 minutes each
at 1-hour intervals instead of 15 minutes all at once) to
allow the water to soak into the soil.
sprinkler head is designed to operate within a certain range
of pressure. When water pressure is too low, the sprinkler
head will emit large drops and likely will not produce the
proper spray pattern or a radius that reaches to the next
head. If pressure is too high, the head will produce a fine
mist, which leads to water loss due to evaporation and
"fly-away" in even light winds. In addition, high pressure
can lead to over spray and a distorted spray pattern, along
with many other problems.
- If the spray
pattern of a head is distorted, browns spots may develop on
the lawn. This may be caused by blockage in the screen or in
the nozzle itself, and the head may need to be cleaned. If
this does not fix the problem, the nozzle may be worn and
needs to be replaced.
- There should
be no wasteful over spray onto sidewalk, patio, driveway or
street. If there is over spray, replace the nozzle with
another with the appropriate spray pattern (e.g. 180?
instead of 360? or relocate the sprinkler head.
- no obstructions
- Make sure that the spray from the
head is not obstructed by vegetation or other objects. Trim
back vegetation or raise the sprinkler heads as needed. This
will increase the system's uniformity of coverage.