This article was crafted with the help of Steve Battiston from Hydro-Tech Irrigation

With a new sprinkler system, you can enjoy your lawn year-round—without the added stress of keeping it healthy. But before you program your system and wait for your lush, green lawn to grow, follow these simple steps for setting up and maintaining your system. These steps will help you conserve water and save money on your monthly water bill.

How to Reduce Water Waste and Your Water Bill

Water your lawn in the morning. Water waste occurs when lawns are watered unnecessarily or improperly. Steve Battiston, vice president of Hydro-Tech Irrigation in Maryland and Northern Virginia, offers some tips to homeowners that help prevent unnecessary watering. Perhaps one of the most common mistakes homeowners make when watering their lawn is under- or overwatering. This mistake alone renders it all the more important to make sure your system is set properly. Steve recommends that homeowners water their lawn in the morning before it becomes too hot outside. “When you water your lawn in the middle of a hot day,” he says, “the water evaporates before it’s able to soak into the soil.”

Water your lawn deeply and infrequently. Besides watering in the morning, homeowners should also pay attention to how long they water their lawn. “When you water your lawn for a longer period of time, you encourage the roots of your grass to grow longer,” says Steve. Steve refers to this technique as “watering deeply.” Longer roots help to protect your grass from drought and some diseases—making this tip especially important during hotter months or periods of extreme dryness. The amount of water your lawn needs depends on both your soil type and the output of your sprinklers. “Typically, you should water your lawn twice a week—half an inch two days a week for a total of one inch of water per week,” says Steve, “but a professional can help you determine the best watering plan for your lawn.”

Use rain sensors to prevent overwatering. If you’ve ever seen sprinklers watering a lawn during a rainstorm, then you have witnessed overwatering. Traditional sprinklers are programmed to turn on at a scheduled time regardless of the weather outside. Rain sensors offer a simple solution to this problem. Once installed on your sprinkler system, rain sensors prevent the sprinkler system from watering the lawn during and after a rainfall.

Use weather sensors for more effective watering. For homeowners looking for a sensor that can detect more than rain, weather sensors can be installed to detect temperature, wind, and freezing conditions, in addition to rain. Extreme temperatures and high winds could lead to ineffective watering since both conditions interfere with the lawn’s ability to absorb water. For instance, high temperatures can cause evaporation, low temperatures can cause water to freeze, and high winds can blow water away from the lawn.

Steve says that with rain and weather sensors, homeowners can conserve water without being home to monitor their sprinkler system. Both types of sensors detect conditions that are not optimal for watering and turn the system off until watering is needed again. Whether you decide on a rain or weather sensor for your sprinkler system, simply having a sensor will save you from unnecessary water usage and in turn save you money.

Check for leaks in your system. If your water bill is unusually high one month, your sprinkler system could have a leak, hurting both your grass and your wallet. Many system leaks go unnoticed until homeowners intentionally check for them. To avoid this issue, check your system at the change of each season—four times a year. To check for leaks, Steve advises homeowners to turn off any running water in their home—inside and outside—and then check the dial on their water meter. If the dial is turning, there could be a leak in the sprinkler system.

Plan out your irrigation zones. Typically, lawns feature many varieties of plants other than grass and therefore have areas with different watering needs. Irrigation zones allow you to tailor your sprinkler system to those needs by dividing your lawn into sections and optimizing the amount of water each area receives. Zones also help to maintain the correct water pressure for the sprinkler system. Without zones, one sprinkler system will not be able to maintain enough pressure to water the entire yard properly. By creating irrigation zones, your plants will receive the correct amount of water without compromising the overall water pressure of your sprinkler system.

How to Maintain Your Sprinkler System

Regular professional maintenance will ensure that your sprinkler system continues to conserve water. Steve recommends that homeowners have their system checked twice a year—particularly in the fall and spring before the weather gets extreme. However, if you are having problems with your system, call your lawn care specialist for professional assistance. Steve says, “When your system’s controls fail to respond to programming, or you noticing flooding in your lawn, it’s time to call a professional.” Not only can these problems increase your monthly water bill, but they can also cause damage to your home’s foundation and lawn. “Other signs of a problem include uneven distribution of water, patches of dry or slowly growing grass, and inconsistent water pressure,” says Steve. Keeping an eye out for these warning signs will help keep major problems at bay.

Once you have the proper tools and knowledge to operate your sprinkler system, you can relax and enjoy your healthy, happy lawn. What’s more, by following these steps, you can conserve water and save money, all while providing your lawn with the maintenance and care it needs.

Click Here to View Your Local Best Pick® Sprinkler System Contractors

This spotlight article was crafted with the help of Hydro-Tech Irrigation, a Sprinkler Systems Best Pick in Maryland and Northern Virginia. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.