High efficiency sprinklers, annual maintenance help keeps spring water usage in check

High efficiency sprinklers, annual maintenance help keeps spring water usage in check

Most of us are spending a little extra time at home right now, making it the perfect time to spruce up your sprinkler system. And doing so could save you some money this spring and summer.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), residential outdoor water use accounts for nearly 9 billion gallons of water each day, mainly for landscaping. Of that, as much of half can be wasted due to evaporation, wind or inefficient irrigation systems.

Fortunately, there are some quick and easy ways to avoid excessive water use:

  1. Regular maintenance is a must. Just like anything else, your irrigation system needs regular attention and care. Take time to check it thoroughly each spring to make sure everything is working properly and be sure to winterize it each fall. The EPA recommends a four-step plan: Check, Inspect, Connect and Direct.
    • Check to make sure connections are tight and won’t leak.
    • Inspect sprinkler heads and other irrigation piping for leaks.
    • Connect high efficiency WaterSense nozzles to your garden hose or outdoor faucets. Click here for a list of WaterSense labeled sprinklers and irrigation controllers.
    • And direct sprinklers so they are watering plants, not the driveway or street.
  2. Know your irrigation system. Whether your new home came with an irrigation system or you’ve added one over the years, most current irrigation systems run on automatic timers. Make sure you know how often they run, for how long, and at what delivery rate. If you don’t have a timer, consider adding one that is labeled as a WaterSense partner.
  3. Watch the weather. While timers or controllers can be helpful, it’s important to pay attention to the weather. If it’s raining, turn off your timers so you avoid wasting water.
  4. Timing is everything. In addition to watching the weather forecast each week, it’s important to know what time of day is best to water. Generally, it is best to water in the early morning and evening, when the sun isn’t too hot, to avoid wasting water through evaporation.
  5. Ask a pro. Irrigation consultants can help install, maintain or audit your irrigation system to make sure water isn’t wasted.

Homeowners with piped irrigation system must also have an approved a backflow prevention device installed on the system. These devices are required by the state of Tennessee and help keep unwanted water from entering the public water supply.

For other simple, yet effective ways you can ensure efficiency in your irrigation system, and with outdoor water use in general, visit our Outdoor Water Use page.