Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are the most common questions encountered by both new and current clients:

Why does my irrigation system run in the rain when I have a rain sensor?

Rain sensors can be set to suspend watering when a specified amount of rain has fallen, say 1” and will not turn the system off until that amount of precipitation has been received. If the sensor is set for 1” of rainfall it will not override the program when we have received only ¾” of rainfall. In this example the irrigation system will continue to run until we have received another ¼” of rainfall.

How do I program my irrigation time clock?

Most irrigation time clocks have some basic programming information printed on the cabinet and you can download an owner’s manual from many manufacturer’s web sites. All irrigation time clocks need three basic pieces of information in order to run an irrigation program. The clocks need to know what day(s) to water on, what time of day to start the program and how long to run each zone for. Once the clock is programmed for the current date and time you can then program the watering day(s), start time(s) and station run times. These three pieces of information are what is known as a program. Most irrigation time clocks have multiple program capability enabling the operator to set up different watering schedules for different plant types and micro-climates.

What is a smart controller?

Smart controllers are ET (evapotranspiration) based time clocks. These newer irrigation controllers use five pieces of weather information (solar radiation, wind speed, relative humidity, temperature and rainfall) to calculate how much moisture is lost from the soil each day due to evaporation and transpiration (transpired through plants). These clocks then adjust the zone run times daily to replace the moisture that was lost. Research has proven that the use of these time clocks can significantly reduce the amount of water used for irrigation. The State of Florida recognizes this fact and we believe that they are moving in a direction to eliminate watering restrictions for properties that use smart controllers.

What are the most common problems associated with over watering?

Besides being a waste of a precious resource over-watering depletes oxygen levels in the soil that are necessary for healthy plant growth. Over-watering promotes root rot and fungus that can cause an overall decline in the health of the landscape. Over-watering also leached expensive fertilizers and pesticides from the landscape where we want them into our waterways and the environment where they can have disastrous results.

What are some important factors to consider when designing an irrigation system?

The key to an efficient irrigation system is distribution uniformity. This is a measure of how evenly water is applied over the entire zone. To illustrate this lets say 5% of your grass is brown in the middle of a beautiful green lawn, due to poor coverage. The natural tendency would be to increase the run times on that zone until that area turns green. This may seem fine but now 5% of your lawn is receiving the correct amount of water and the original 95%, that was already looking good, is now being over-watered. Other important things to consider when designing an irrigation system are matching precipitation rates within each zone, separating turf and planting into different zones and paying attention to different plant’s watering needs and the micro-climates within the area being watered.

How can I do my part to conserve water in the landscape?

Make sure that your irrigation system is using water as efficiently as possible. This includes using the latest in water savings techniques and products, adjusting the system coverage as the landscape changes over the years and keeping your irrigation system in good working condition. When setting your watering schedule always keep in mind that infrequent, deep, watering helps to promote deeper roots and healthier more drought tolerant plants. Shallow, frequent, watering produces shallow rooted plants that are more dependent on water and wilt when the surface of the soil dries out.

Why does my irrigation system keep running even after I have unplugged the time clock?

One of your zone valves has malfunctioned and is stuck open. This is a mechanical problem with the valve rather than an electrical problem with the time clock. This is why the system is still running after the clock is unplugged. The valve will have to be located and repaired. If you can locate the pump or water source and turn it off this will solve the problem until a technician can get there to make the necessary repairs.