Landscaping, Irrigation, and More - R & R Sprinkler & Lanscape, Inc. of Cape Coral, Florida Blog

Landscaping, Irrigation, and More

R & R Sprinkler & Lanscape, Inc. of Cape Coral, Florida Blog

Start Training Your Lawn To Need And Use Less Water

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On October 25, 2012

Have you noticed just a hint of coolness in the air? Fall is right around the corner. We love the cooler weather (especially since we work outdoors all day!). We personally cannot wait to open our windows and sliding glass doors and let the Fall weather in.

Our grass, on the other hand, needs some preparation. As the rainy summer months are coming to a conclusion and the drier fall months arrive you need to take some steps to prepare your grass for the change in weather and levels of precipitation. The survival of your yard throughout the dry months depends on your proactive steps right now.

The summer months are plentiful with afternoon rains. Our irrigation systems have only had to run through cycles only as preventative maintenance because we have had adequate rainfall from Mother Nature. The afternoon rains are quickly disappearing and we need to prepare our grass accordingly.

In essence, it’s time to put your grass on a diet. It’s used to large amounts of rain. Less rain means less water for the yard. We should not compensate for the slow down in rain fall by allowing our sprinklers to run for long periods of time. We need to water (within watering restriction schedules) normally for the next week or so and begin to cut back on the time that each zone of your irrigation system runs on a gradual basis.

We will get drier and drier which means your yard will get thirstier and thirstier IF it’s used to getting large quantities of water. Scaling back gradually will help your yard adjust slowly without shocking it. Watering too much during the dry months not only puts a strain on water supply but also is prime breeding ground for fungus and weeds.

During the Spring months we use the guideline to water a zone that contains rotor (sprinkler) heads for 45 minutes. Your goal should be to move that zone to a watering time of no more than 30 mintues. An irrigation zone that contains mist (sprinkler)heads during the Spring months should run around 25 minutes. We recommend that your goal should be to get this sprinkler zone down to a run time of no more than 15 minutes.

Though your yard may not appreciate it, a little “diet” is good for all of us. If re-programming your sprinkler timer puzzles you feel free to contact our office. One of our experienced irrigation technicians will be able to show you how to do it.

PGP-ADJ Hunter Industries

There are a lot of products on the market both to a homeowner and to a business owner. Obviously the products that are sold in Home Depot or Lowes don’t match in quality to the products that we professionally purchase from our irrigation suppliers.

One of our preferred vendors is Hunter Industries. We have found that their sprinkler heads out perform most of the competitors. They are a company that stands behind their products and seem very responsive to our suggestions and complaints as irrigation system installers.

Hunter rotor heads have a rubber covered membrane that helps keep dirt out. Keeping dirt out of the pipes of your sprinkler system means you will need less service calls for a sprinkler head that is stuck on.

The top of a Hunter sprinkler head has a through the top adjustment with helpful symbols to assist the homeowner in adjusting the positioning of a particular sprinkler head. Hunter sprinkler heads allow for fine tuning radius adjustments from 40 degree all the way to full circle and reverse circle adjustments of 360 degrees. This helps to adjust heads so you are watering your grass and not your street, or your trees and not your house.

The Hunter rotor head has up to (20) inter changeable nozzles. Nozzles control the flow of water. You may need to reach 6 feet or they may need to reach 20 feet. With the wide variety of nozzles available to us we can perfect how and where the sprinkler system irrigates. All of their nozzles come with a dirty water screen to help keep large pieces of debris from entering the valves and pipes of your irrigation system. Again this is beneficial because it cuts down on the need for service calls from an irrigation contractor.

Hunter irrigation heads are lubricated by water. This means there is no added maintenance. This is one of the reasons we tell customers to never turn their sprinkler system off completely, even in rainy months. The water is the lubrication that keeps your system operating smoothly, like the oil does to your car’s engine. You should at least let your sprinkler system run through each zone for 5 minutes once a week, even if your yard doesn’t need watered, as preventative maintenance for your irrigation system.

The riser seal is reliable and proven pressure activated. This means your sprinkler head will pop up when it is supposed to and retract when it is supposed to.

We have installed new irrigation system and repaired existing sprinklers for over 40 years. We are appreciative of a company like Hunter that provides a superior product to assist us in providing the customer with a product and service that will keep them calling us for years.

If you are in need of a new irrigation system or may need repairs to your existing sprinkler system don’t hesitate to contact R & R Sprinkler and Landscape.

A Good Sprinkler System Design is Essential

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 23, 2012

Installing an automatic sprinkler system is a worthwhile investment for your property. Having a professionally licensed and insured contractor install your new irrigation system is important. Ask for references and don’t always select the cheapest price. Ask about the design of your sprinkler system. Ask for references too. A good design that will use water efficiently is much better than a cheap price and is an overall better investment.

A good system design will be divided into zones by plant material. Typically the grass portion of your property is irrigated by rotor heads. Rotor heads have a higher output of water and run for longer periods of time. Plants and shrubs are typically irrigated by mist heads or drip irrigation which don’t require the area to be irrigated as long. If the design includes a zone that has a large span of grass along with an area of delicate shrubs set to irrigate for the same continuous period of time then someone will loose. Either your grass will not get enough water or your plants and shrubs will get too much. This is a bad design on behalf of your irrigation contractor and a poor water useage.

A zone comprised of rotor heads should run 30-45 minutes. A zone comprised of mist or spray heads should only run for @ 10-15 minutes. You can see by the difference in time that each of these components need to run how important it is that they are grouped in zones accordingly. R & R Sprinkler and Landscape is a professionally licensed and insured irrigation installation company. Our first priority is designing and installing an irrigation system that will be easy to operate and maintain while providing a sprinkler that will use the least amount of water with the maximum watering capabilities.

If you are considering installing a new irrigation system we’d love for you to give us the opportunity.

How Many Zones Should My Sprinkler Have At My Cape Coral Home?

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 13, 2012

A “zone” of an irrigation system is an area of the entire irrigation system that waters at one time. If you tried to irrigate your entire lawn at one time the water pressure would be low, the run off would be excessive and likely the flow of electricity would be high.

A good irrigation contractor will look at your property and design the best layout of a combination of rotor heads and spray heads to best provide the maximum amount of water to your yard in the minimum amount of time.

Rotor heads and spray heads are wired to an electric valve that the sprinkler timer tells to open and close allowing water to flow through the pipes and up through the rotor head and mist heads. Each valve is the brain of that “zone” of the sprinkler system.

A typical standard Cape Coral lot should have an irrigation system that has a minimum amount of 4 zones. Less than that means you probably do not have an adequate amount of rotor heads/spray heads which means insufficent watering.

In the early to mid 2000’s during the construction boom there were sprinkler contractors installing irrigation systems on large corner lots of Cape Coral with only 3 zones. There is no way a 3 zone sprinkler system can water that large of a lot. You’d likely need 7 or 8 zones for that.

If you are considering installing a new irrigation system ask the contractor how many zones he intends to install. If you need a second opinion or would like another price feel free to contact us.

Be sure you know how many zones, rotor heads and spray heads you are getting in your system first. If you think you need more zones added to the irrigation system you already have, we can help with that too.

Ants! Ants! Ants!

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 6, 2012

If you have intermittent power issues to the automatic timer to your sprinkler system there are a few things to check:

1. Is your irrigation timer plugged into a GFI?
2. Is your GFI working properly? Plug a small appliance to check.
3. Is your timer turned on? (Don’t roll your eyes, it happens!)
4. Is your timer set properly?
5. Are there any loose or cut wires?
6. Do you have ants?

Did that last question catch you off guard? Most homeowners we propose that question to look at us like we are crazy. Ants get inside the wiring of your sprinkler timer. They get in between the wires and the contactors and block the flow of electricity. Not a very smart move if you ask us. We first recommend you shut off the power to this circuit. Then take a screw driver or pair of pliers and gently tap the heads of the contactors. The ants will usually fall out pretty easily. You may need to loose the screw and tap again to make sure all of the ant carcasses are eradicated. Tighten everything back up. Turn the power back on and see if that solves the problem.

Ants are a common “interrupter” to electrical service for not only sprinkler timers but also well pumps. If this is a consistent problem consider pest control in the area. We have some great pest control companies we can recommend.

If ants weren’t causing the problem and the automatic timer to your irrigation system still isn’t working feel free to contact us. We are sure we can help!

Parts of a Lawn Irrigation System – Sprinkler Valve

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On August 22, 2012

If you are like the average homeowner you don’t really know what the specific parts are that make up your irrigation system. You just want it to turn on and water your grass and landscaping. We understand, you might know what the stock market is doing today, you may know the part I need to repair my air conditioner or you may know how to teach my daughter math (all things I may struggle with myself) but you don’t know what an irrigation valve is. That’s OK. We all have gifts and talents. Servicing and educating customers about their irrigation system is ours.

Today we’re going to tell you about irrigation valves. A sprinkler system is made up of many parts. It’s not about just throwing pipes in the ground and your grass is watered. There are rotor heads, spray heads, timers, rain sensors, fittings, pipe and valves. A valve is the part of the sprinkler that determines a sprinkler “zone”. It’s the brain for a specific part (zone) of the entire sprinkler system. The valves talk to the timer so the timer can tell the valves when to open and close to let water flow into the pipes and out of the sprinkler heads and for how long.

Each valve is wired to the sprinkler timer. If valves are not operating there is either not power running from the timer to the valve or one of the electrical wires has been somehow damaged. If valves get stuck open there may be debris stuck in the valve. A common result of this would be a flooded yard. If valves are weeping you may need to replace the seal around the valve. The most important thing you can do is to know where your valves are located for your sprinkler system.

One of the most time consuming tasks we perform during an irrigation repair to locating valves. If you can keep your valves located and clear from your yard growing over top of them you will save a lot of labor for your next sprinkler repair.

R & R Sprinkler and Landscape have expert technicians ready to locate and repair the valves to your sprinkler system today.

Battery Back Up For Your Estero Sprinkler Timer

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On August 12, 2012

Thunderstorms in Estero Florida are a regular occurrence in the summer months. With thunderstorms comes lightning strikes. Because lightning is not particular where it strikes it’s a real possibility that it may strike your home.

If lightning strikes your home it usually will trip your ground electrical outlets. This is exactly what your GFI’s are supposed to do during a lightning strike. It protects the entire electrical system for your house.

The timer the operates your automatic sprinkler system at your Estero home is required to be plugged into a GFI outlet. If the GFI is tripped then there is no electrical service to your irrigation timer. Not only will you not have power to your sprinklers but all of the programs that you have entered into your timer will be erased.

The short term solution to this problem is to install a battery back up in the timer for your irrigation system. This will ensure that your sprinkler timer still has power and will still know to turn your system on for the programs that were not erased because you installed a battery back up. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone, especially if you don’t like having to re-program your lawn sprinkler timer. A battery back up for a sprinkler timer is usually just a simple 9 volt battery bought from the local Lee or Collier County Florida hardware store.

The battery back up is only a short term solution. If you are a seasonal resident in Estero and will do not have someone checking your battery back up and GFI outlets at your house on a regular basis you may want to consider an irrigation maintenance contract from R & R Sprinkler. We offer a healthy menu of services to ensure your sprinklers are operating correctly the entire year.