Quick Tip: Troubleshooting Your Sprinkler System

A common call at this time of year is from people who are attempting to turn on their sprinklers and realizing they won’t work.

Ideally you won’t wait until summer to turn your sprinklers on and discover they aren’t working but if that’s what has happened to you, here are three things you can check before calling Village Green.

First, do you have water going to your sprinkler system? All sprinkler systems are required to have a backflow prevention device to prevent water from the sprinkler pipes running backwards into the water for your home. These devices have handles that allow you to turn off the water going to your sprinklers but leave the water on to your house. For most homes that will be inside a rectangular box with a big, green lid on it. If you open the lid, you’ll find two handles. Some older homes will have a device that sticks up out of the ground like a horseshoe. It will have a handle at the base of it. Sometimes those handles have been turned off and the water has been shut off to your sprinklers.

Second, check to see if your sprinkler controller has power to it. It’s not unusual for the outlet it’s plugged into to be on a GFI circuit and that circuit has gotten tripped. Try plugging something into the outlet like a hairdryer or a light to see if it has power.

Last, all sprinkler systems are supposed to have a rain and freeze sensor. Sometimes when those go bad they trigger and they won’t let the sprinklers run. Most of the time your controller will have an over-ride button on it for you to press and bypass the sensor.

If you check all of those things and still can’t turn your system on, it’s time to call a professional.

If you have questions or need help, give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com. You can also download our free watering guide that gives you our recommendation for year-round watering.

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Winter Watering Guide

Irrigation - ServiceIf you want to protect your landscape from freeze damage, don’t turn off your sprinkler system in the winter.  Granted you don’t need to water as much as you would in the summer, but watering a small amount during winter will make sure your lawn and landscape are ready for the spring growing season and protected against freeze damage.

In the winter your soil will lose on average, 1/4″ of water per week.  To help illustrate, imagine filling a gallon bucket with water and setting it out in your yard.  When you check your bucket a week later, you’re going to find it still has water, but you’ve lost about 1/4″ from evaporation.  That’s what happens to your lawn and landscape during the winter and if you skip watering for weeks (or months) you’re going to make the roots of your plants more susceptible to freeze damage.  Another reason to water regularly is that any pre-emergent treatments that are applied to your lawn need water to spread and push them into the soil.  This process is what creates the barrier in the soil to prevent the weed seeds from sprouting in late winter and early spring.  A pre-emergent can survive a couple of weeks without water, but after that it will disappear and not be effective.

Most plants in our area like water all winter long.  Take St. Augustine as an example.  It is a tropical plant so it hates the cold.  In fact, watering your St. Augustine lawn in the winter may be more important than your summer watering since the biggest killer of it is freezing.  Unless you have chosen a very sensitive plant, I rarely see any winter damage of any plants if they have been watered correctly over the winter months.  

Be sure and visit the Village Green Resource Center for helpful links to your city watering guidelines as well as our downloadable Village Green Watering Guide.  If you need more help please don’t hesitate to contact us at 972-495-6990, email me at ken@villagegreen-inc.com or fill out our contact form.  We’d be happy to help walk you through the process to make sure you are getting the most out of your winter watering schedule.  For those who want more advanced help, we offer affordable sprinkler system inspections, tune-ups, and sprinkler control replacement that will guarantee appropriate and adequate water coverage for your lawn.  If you contact us by February 15, 2014, you can get our early bird sprinkler tune-up special for only $59 (a savings of $45!.)

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Green Talks Video Blog: Drought Stress

 

Ken Hyatt, President and Founder of Village Green shows how you can tell if your lawn is showing the classic signs of drought stress.  During late summer many yards in our area experience drought stress, which is usually sprinkler related.  For more information on tuning up your sprinkler system visit:  http://www.villagegreen-inc.com/sprinkler-repair-dallas-plano-allen-frisco/  For information on watering, including the Village Green Watering Guide:  http://www.villagegreen-inc.com/resource-center/

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