Most of the main components of a sprinkling system are underground and most property owners are not around when it's being installed. That makes it very difficult to know exactly what you're getting for your money and whether or not the system has been designed and installed correctly. If an issue comes up, many times it can mean extensive repair work or even design changes, so it's important to get it done right the first time.
Here are some questions to ask your irrigation contractor before beginning the installation process:
- Have you measured the water pressure and volume of water at the source? Lawn sprinklers are completely based on water pressure and volume. If the system is not designed and built around the existing water pressure and volume of water, it will never operate properly.
- Does your design plan take the different sun and shade areas of my yard into consideration when separating the zones? Part of the reason that an irrigation system is separated into zones is because different areas of your lawn and landscape will require different amounts of water. It is important to take sun and shade into consideration when planning.
- Do you combine spray heads and rotary heads within the same zones? Generally speaking, sprays and rotors put out different amounts of water. We measure this in gallons per minute (GPM). If different types of heads are running together within the same zone, then the GPM will not be equal. This will mean that certain areas will not get even amounts of water which will create problems in the long run.
- What make and model of sprinkler heads, valves and timer do you install? Every irrigation manufacturer makes different lines of their products that range from low end to high end. Be sure to do a little research and be sure that your contractor is not proposing to use a low end sprinkler head or other key component. It's well worth a little extra money in the long run to use a higher end product that will not fail or cause other unforeseen issues down the road.
- Do you provide routine service after the installation is complete? What kind of warranty do you offer? The last thing we want to to have an unsatisfied customer or a product that continually fails. We want our new customers to keep calling year after year to have us maintain their irrigation system. If a contractor isn't willing to come back in the future or offer a strong warranty, that might be a red flag.
We see poor irrigation system installations all of the time. Sometimes a customer goes with the lowest bid or sometimes the contractor is just under qualified to execute the design and installation properly.
Repairing bad design issues or installations can mean extensive work and usually is more expensive than the initial installation. Don't get stuck with an inefficient sprinkling system or expensive repair bills because of choosing the wrong contractor.
Be sure to do your homework and ask a few key questions before the installation begins. Sometimes that cheap bid sounds enticing, but remember... you usually get what you pay for.