Sprinkler Maintenance Tips

Sprinkler Maintenance Tips

Not all sprinklers are created equal. In fact, some are better suited for particular tasks than others. And, some use water much more efficiently than others. Find out more about types of sprinklers here or watch this Garden Time segment.

The good news is that regardless of the type of sprinkler that you use, there are simple things you can do to ensure that the right amount of water gets where it is needed.

Summer Maintenance Checklist

  1. Know how long it takes your sprinkler to water an inch. Use a tuna can or (free) watering gauge kit to measure your sprinkler's water use. We are delivering free watering gauge kits to customers served by Consortium members through July 31st. Request one today by emailing rwpcinfo@portlandoregon.gov.
  2. Set it, but don't forget it! Be sure to adjust your watering schedules throughout the summer. Not sure how? Sign up to receive the Weekly Watering Number via email each week.
  3. Regularly inspect your overall watering system for leaks, broken lines or misdirected sprinkler heads. Taking a few minutes once a month to make sure your sprinkler and/or hoses are working correctly is a crucial step to ensuring efficient water use outdoors. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, be sure to run your entire system zone by zone so you can check to see that everything is functioning properly. As you do this, check the following:
    1. Accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement.  Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.
    2. Signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping. Repair and replace as needed. Look for perpetual damp spots in your landscape as these might indicate a leak or broken line that will have to be fixed.
    3. Get your back flow checked. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, chances are that you have a backflow connection that is required by law to be checked annually. Have the cross connection assembly, or back flow, tested by a state-certified tester. Contact your local water provider for specific information on rules and regulations - be sure to ask for the cross connection or back flow specialist. 
  4. Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky - minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.

Sprinkler System Maintenance Tips (video)

Sprinkler system irrigation  maintenance tips