Nov 4, 2016 9:42:33 AM / by Claude Kershner IV

It’s almost completely buried underground. You see some working parts of your irrigation system, such as sprinkler heads or the controller. But what lies beneath is carefully engineered infrastructure that is designed to deliver water at the right times, in the right quantities and to the right locations of your South Florida property. The irrigation systems on our properties work hard to maintain plant and turf health, but we don’t think a lot about whether they’re in optimum working condition.

At the end of the day, your irrigation system protects your landscape investment. You dedicate dollars and landscape maintenance resources to caring for your Florida grounds. The irrigation system preserves the time, money and effort you spend.

The problem is, many property owners install an irrigation system and never bother to maintain it. Then, they end up spending more on water and potentially harming plants by over- or under-watering. Plus, many systems are decades old and require ongoing monitoring, maintenance and repair.

irrigation maintenance

We know that properties with an irrigation system will use 35 percent more water than those without irrigation. If those irrigation systems are not automated, the property could use 47 percent more water, according to the American Water Works Association.

This underscores the importance of a properly functioning irrigation system, and monitoring is the key to keeping water use in check. By responsibly operating your irrigation system, you will reap the benefits of a long-lasting, vibrant landscape that attracts visitors and tenants, improves property value and offers a better overall experience.

So, how can you be mindful of water use and maximize the efficiency of your irrigation system? How can you ensure that the irrigation system on your South Florida property is doing its job to deliver a most vital resource to your landscape.

The answer is actually simple: Ask your landscape provider to perform monthly irrigation checks to ensure the system is functioning properly. These checks may or may not be included in the standard landscape maintenance contract. At Reef Tropical, some clients’ contracts do include irrigation system monitoring.

Here is what to expect from an irrigation check, what maintenance points an experienced irrigation technician reviews, and how these regular check-ups can maximize your landscape investment.

Is Your Irrigation System Leaking Dollars?

dollars and bills.jpgAn inefficient irrigation system, or one with broken components or leaks, can drive up your monthly water bill. During a typical run cycle, an irrigation system will use about 3,500 gallons of water for a typical South Florida home. That equates to about $30, based on the cost of water in Monroe County, Fla. If a system runs three to five days per week for 20 to 30 minutes per zone, then it could cost $90 to $150 per week. It could actually cost you less to replace 500 feet of sod than to pay a water bill if your irrigation system is not working properly. (We often find water waste because rain sensors are not working properly.)

Irrigation system checks are critical for ensuring that you do not spend more than you should on watering your South Florida landscape. It’s all about optimizing the money you do spend on irrigation.

That said, if you want a healthy, vibrant landscape—especially given the hot, dry weather in South Florida—you must properly water turf and plants. And, the reality is, water can be expensive. During hot, dry times of year in South Florida, you will see an increase in your water bill. And this is necessary. But a landscape partner that performs irrigation checks will ensure that the system is working properly and the water is well used. We keep an eye on water usage to be sure no resources are wasted.

What To Expect During An Irrigation Maintenance Check  

The majority of an irrigation system exists in an ever-changing environment underground. Roots grow and can disrupt or even break pipes and valve boxes. Rocks can shift and cause system malfunctions. You can’t anticipate what’s going to happen next—because you can’t see the inner workings of your irrigation system.

That said, the activities happening above ground on your property are also a major contributor to irrigation system problems. For example, irrigation boxes are electrical systems and susceptible to power outages, which will reset and disrupt programming. Also, golf carts and landscape equipment can trip up sprinkler heads and cause components to break. Visitors, homeowners and employees walking on the property—sheer foot traffic—can cause some upsets to the system if a part is popped out of alignment.

irrigation checksAn experienced landscape provider knows how to monitor an irrigation system for potential problems. The common issues Reef Tropical sees during monthly irrigation checks include:

  • Broken rain sensors
  • Damaged sprinkler heads
  • Insufficient water pressure
  • Broken pipes
  • Improper ground coverage
  • Irrigation system leaks
  • Damaged rain sensors
  • Programming errors (often from too many people operating the controls)
  • Misaligned equipment (spray nozzles, drip heads)

An irrigation maintenance check includes reviewing these key components to be sure all parts are functioning properly. The Reef Tropical team is well versed in irrigation systems and functionality—we serve as the eyes and ears on our clients’ properties. And, we subcontract with trusted, licensed irrigation technicians who make timely repairs if we report any problems. This seamless communication from monitoring to identification and resolution keeps an irrigation system up and running cost-effectively.  

Protecting Your South Florida Landscape Investment

At Reef Tropical, we care for vacation homes and resorts—condo associations and retail/commercial properties. Property owners who spend a season or two here in South Florida are not on site to detect potential problems in the landscape. Monthly irrigation checks can ensure that systems are running smoothly while they are gone. We know that property managers with full plates are overseeing entire grounds operations and may not recognize if a sprinkler head is broken or an area of the landscape is getting too much or not enough water. Here again, monthly irrigation checks provide an extra layer of monitoring and peace of mind. You’ll know that the system is always monitored.

This is why we recommend monthly irrigation checks as part of an overall landscape maintenance program. So, let’s talk more about the value this monitoring will deliver to your South Florida property. Click here and fill out a form to sign up for an irrigation system check. And, don’t hesitate to call us any time at 305.367.2005.

Request Irrigation Check

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Topics: Landscape Maintenance

Claude Kershner IV

Written by Claude Kershner IV

President Reef Tropical • Pool & Landscape

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