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Analyzing the Efficiency of Your Denver Sprinkler System


February 11, 2016

It is estimated that more than 50 percent of the household water usage comes from outdoor watering.  Water bills, especially in the summer months, can be costly in Denver.  Much of the country is struggling with water shortages at this time so it is crucial to eliminate as much waste as possible.  In drier cities such as Denver, automatic sprinkler systems are the most efficient method of irrigation.  Hoses often leak from the faucet or from connectors, compromising foundations and wasting water.  Well maintained sprinkler systems on the other hand keep your lawn looking green and healthy while saving money and water.

Catch Can Test -  While it is sometimes a good idea to have your system audited by a professional sprinkler company, you can perform some tests on your own.  To perform the catch can test, get 4 cans or jars and place them in different areas of the first zone in your sprinkler cycle.  Water for 15 minutes and measure the water in each container.  The levels should be about even.  Adjust the sprinkler heads accordingly and re-test for accuracy.  
Once you are satisfied that the water levels are consistent throughout the zone, pour all of the water into one container and measure.  This would be the amount of water in that zone for an hour.  Based on this calculation, you can come up with how long a lawn should be watered, such as 2 – 3 times per week.  The amount that Denver Water suggests per week varies each month.  Their suggested levels per week are as follows:
  • May - 1.2”
  • June - 1.5”
  • July - 1.5”
  • August - 1.2”
  • September - 1”
  • October - .67”
Of course levels can be adjusted for particularly rainy weeks, but this is a good guideline to use.  When setting the time for each zone, remember to split the time and water the zone twice instead of once, i.e. watering twice for 6 minutes instead of once for 12.  This allows time for the water to soak into the ground and prevents runoff.

Inspect Your Sprinkler Heads - When mowing, sprinkler heads sometimes get damaged or knocked out of alignment. Be sure to visually inspect your sprinkler heads and repair damaged components right away.  When your sprinkler is watering, look for misting or bubbling as this indicates a broken head.  After watering, if there is an area of the lawn that is mushy or seems to be bulging, this could be an indication of a below surface leak and will need to be checked by a professional sprinkler service.  Cracks in the pavement near sprinkler heads can indicate underground leaks as well.

Examine Your Sprinkler System’s Timer - Ensure the timer’s accuracy throughout each zone.  Remember that some systems have a battery backup, so be sure to change the battery at least once.  Some systems are also equipped with a water-saving rain shut-off sensors.  Clear any debris from the sensor and with the sprinkler running, pour water on the sensor to ensure that it does in fact shut the sprinklers off.

Taking an hour to perform a simple audit on your sprinkler system at least once every season will save you money and keep your lawn and garden healthy and beautiful.  Here at Water Solutions, we have been providing high-quality Denver sprinkler installation and repair services for your neighbors.  Contact us today for a free estimate and to find out more about how our Denver sprinkler services can help you have the most efficient system in the neighborhood.  
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