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.

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.

Southwest Florida Afternoon Thunderstorms May Affect Your Irrigation System Timer

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On August 21, 2012

It’s summer in Southwest Florida and there’s one thing you can count on – afternoon thunderstorms. A lightning strike in your area can trip your ground fault electrical outlets (GFI outlet) which renders them inoperable until you reset them.

Why is this important to the operation of your irrigation system you may wonder? It is required by Florida Law that your the timer to your automatic lawn irrigation system be plugged into a GFI Outlet. Furthermore, if the GFI is outdoors it is required to have an in use cover installed to prevent the water from entering the outlets.

If you sprinkler timer is plugged into a GFI outlet and it trips that means there is no electrical service to the outlet that is supposed to be operating your irrigation system. That means that your sprinkler system is not going to operate.

You can install a battery back up on your automatic irrigation system timer. This will ensure that your timer is still operating even if the GFI outlet has been tripped. However, the battery back up will only work for a couple of months. It’s only meant to be a short term temporary solution. If you are a seasonal resident that lives out of state for many months at a time then you are risking having your sprinkler not operating, your lawn drying out and your landscaping dying because your sprinkler timer didn’t have any electric running to it to tell your system to operate.

So, the moral of the story is to check your GFI outlets often, especially during the summer (thunderstorm) months. R & R Sprinkler and Landscape has many options for irrigation system service contracts to ensure the maintenance and operation of your lawn sprinkler system throughout the year.

Contact us if you’d like to find out how much a monthly, quarterly or bi-annual service contract for your sprinkler system is today.

How Will I Maintain My Lawn Sprinkler In Naples, Florida?

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On August 16, 2012

You are blessed enough to be a seasonal resident in Naples Florida. You have spent your snow bird days meticulously manicuring your lawn, updating your landscaping and getting your irrigation system fine tuned to maintain all of the labors of love.

Now, it’s time to go back up north for the summer. You have hopefully hired a trusted lawn and landscape company to maintain your assets while you are gone but have you thought about your lawn sprinkler system?

Most seasonal residents turn off their irrigation systems when they are ready to go back up north. This is soooooo bad for your sprinkler system.

The only lubrication an irrigation system receives is from the water running through the pipes, through the valves and out of the sprinkler heads. No water running means no lubrication. Guess what? When you return to your Naples paradise you may be in for some repairs to your lawn sprinklers due to the lack of operation.

Your timer to your lawn irrigation system should be set to run at least once a week. During the rainy seasons you will only need to have your system run through each zone for a couple of minutes. During the non-rainy seasons it should be set to run through each zone @ 15 minutes depending on the type of landscaping or lawn area you are covering and the type of sprinkler heads that are installed in the areas and current watering restrictions that are in place.

R & R Sprinkler and Landscape offers a variety of service contracts for your lawn irrigation system. We want your sprinklers to run adequately and efficiently throughout the year to maintain your yard, trees and shrubs.

Don’t you want your Naples property to look as beautiful when you return for this season as it did when you left last season. Less time spent on landscaping means more time spent playing golf, fishing or enjoying the gorgeous Florida beaches.

You wouldn’t leave a car sitting for months at a time without letting it run and you shouldn’t let your lawn sprinklers either. See how an irrigation maintenance contract from R & R Sprinkler and Landscape can benefit your Naples home today.

My Sprinkler Head Won’t Pop Up?

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On August 15, 2012

So you have an automatic irrigation system with sprinkler heads that pop up to water your yard. However, you notice that one of your sprinkler heads won’t pop up. Let’s trouble shoot to figure out what’s wrong:

1. Is Water Pressure To Blame?
Each city or municipality will regulate their water pressure however they please. They may lower water pressure to a particular area at a specific time of day due to high demand. They have the best interest of all property owner’s in mind and want to make sure that they have water supply to all in lieu of high water pressure to some. I guess it makes sense unless you are the person trying to get your sprinkler head to pop up, LOL.

2. Is There A Broken Pipe In Your Area?
Look around. Has there been any new trees, shrubs or landscaping installed in your area? Has there been a fence repaired or installed recently? Have there been any repairs to or installs to the utilities in the area? If there is a broken pipe there is an interruption of water flow. There needs to be water flow to make your sprinkler head pop up. R & R Sprinkler and Landscape can make repairs to your irrigation system and fix broken pipes.

3. Is There Debris Caught In The Lines Of Your Irrigation System?
Various forms of debris can get caught in your irrigation lines. If you have turned your system completely off (this is a big no-no) then sediment may have settled in the bottoms of your pipes. When your system is turned back on the sediment gets flushed into your pipes and up through your sprinkler heads. The sediment may exit the sprinkler head or clog it. A clogged sprinkler head usually won’t pop up. If you are on a dual water system there are elements that can clog your sprinkler heads like snails, stickers from fruit and other small elements that have made their way into the reclaimed water system.

4. Does Your Sprinkler Head Need Cleaned or Repaired?
Your sprinkler head may just need cleaned out. Your sprinkler head also has a seal around it that keeps the water from leaking out around the head and spraying out into your grass. If the seal is broken or damaged it may interfere with the sprinkler head popping up. Call a certified sprinkler repair company like R & R Sprinkler to repair or replace the sprinkler head. Your lawn maintenance company may not repair or replace a sprinkler head unless they have a specialty contractors license.

If you have questions or need a sprinkler head repaired please contact us for a free estimate. We do offer a variety of sprinkler system maintenance contracts that will check for all of the above items.

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.

Lee County Florida Licensing Requirements for Irrigation Contractors

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On August 1, 2012

Lee County Licensing Requirements for Irrigation Contractors

Most folks think that obtaining an occupational license gives them permission to perform any type of work. This is a false mis-conception. You are paying a business tax that allows you to be in business but does not allow you to perform just any kind of trade activity. You must be State Certified OR receive a Certificate of Competency for Lee County. In addition, you must apply for a State or Specialty Trade Contractor’s License for each city municipality you are going to perform work in.

To install or repair an irrigation system in Lee County we must obtain not only an occupational license but also a license as a specialty trade contractor as per Lee County Ordinance No: 00-26.

As a contractor that will perform installation with and for a water source the Board of County Commissioners recognizes that the work an irrigation contractor performs for and on sprinkler systems could be harmful or could pose a danger if not performed by a competent, honest, educated contractor.

Furthermore, we’d be required to be State Certified if we were performing any type of installation or hook up to a potable water source that did not have a backflow prevetor in place. Currently we connect our new irrigation sprinkler systems to the following:

1. A potable water source that has a backflow preventor in place
2. A well
3. A reclaimed water system
4. Other water sources that draw water from canals and retention areas by permit

We are not only required to be licensed as a specialty trade contractor in Lee County, but also in all cities and municipalities we install or repair irrigation systems. This includes but is not limited to The City of Fort Myers, The City of Cape Coral, The City of Bonita Springs, The City of Fort Myers Beach, etc.

The same rules and reguations apply in Charlotte County Florida and Collier County Florida.

In summary, make sure that anyone that installs a new sprinkler system or perform repairs to your existing irrigation system has a Specialty Trade Contractor’s License.

If you’d like a list of current Counties and Cities that R & R Sprinkler and Landscape are permitted to provide new irrigation system installation or repair to existing sprinkler system please contact us. If any company is reluctant to provide this information to you perhaps you should reconsider doing business with them.

Irrigation Maintenance Contracts For Southwest Florida Sprinkler Systems

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On July 31, 2012

At R & R Sprinkler and Landscape, we know how important it is for our customers to save money. That is why we developed irrigation maintenance contracts that will save you hundreds of dollars in costly repairs.

Maintenance contracts ensure that irrigation systems are checked periodically to ensure they are working efficiently, providing the proper coverage. We will also check to make sure there aren’t any leaks and/or broken parts of your sprinkler system such as heads, sprinkler lines, etc.

We offer maintenance contracts for residential, commercial, homeowner associations and backflow devices. They are offered monthly, every other month, quarterly, semi-annually.

Fill out our online quote form and our office will contact you to update you on our maintenance contracts. Trust us to make sure your irrigation system not only works but saves you money on monthly water bills and future sprinkler system issues.