RI Lawn Sprinklers Ohio Irrigation Blog


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lawn Care

As many of you I am a homeowner as well and have the same issues all of you have with finding quality contractors and knowing when and how to do things you want to tackle by yourself. I typically like to do my own fertilizer program instead of opting for a company to do so. Since I am the "sprinkler guy" on the street my yard should look the part, right? I decided when I put the yard in to sod the backyard and side of drive and to hydroseed my frontyard.

There were two main reasons for the sod:
I have a dog
I was planning a party and needed the backyard to look finished asap

The front I knew which seed mix I wanted so I had the front sprayed with hydroseed

And of course all of this was in the middle of the summer, but hey I am a sprinkler guy so the middle of the summer should not affect anything, right? Long story short, don't seed your lawn in the middle of the summer and don't sod your lawn in any shaded area and don't sod your lawn if you don't plan on being aware of the higher level of long term care that it needs along with the additional water it needs to look perfect. I am going on 4 years since I put my lawn in and the seeded part looks picture perfect and the sodded lawn looks average and the sod did not make it were the lawn got majority shade throughout the day. Anyway my fertilizer program consists of 8 applications plus one or two extra applications of iron strictly for color. I have also started to aerate twice a year which is more then what is recommended. Anyone else that takes pride in doing their own lawn, feel free to share any tips or suggestions.

So today Thursday March 26th 2009 I am starting with my first fertilizer application.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Going Green: Common Questions

The Reader's Digest Version of Going Green


Q. Should I turn off the lights every time I leave the room?

Let your bulb answer that. You save energy with the lights off, even for a few seconds. But flicking that switch shortens every lightbulb's life. Incandescent lightbulbs are cheap, so turn them off when you can. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) aren't cheap-about $4 each-but one will save you about $30 in electricity charges throughout its life span over an incandescent. And don't worry, turning on a lightbulb doesn't burn a lot of energy. The Department of Energy's office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says that the amount of electricity needed to turn on a bulb equals a few seconds of its burning brightly.

Reader's Digest Version: Turn off incandescents if you're leaving the room for more than five seconds; CFLs, if you'll be gone at least 15 minutes.

Q. Do I really have to unplug my TV, phone chargers, CD player ...?

Even when they're not on, electricity courses through the plugs of your electronic gadgets so that they'll jump into action more quickly. This "vampire electricity" sucks up $4 billion a year in energy for things that aren't even on. Your laptop alone, turned off but plugged into the wall, will cost you $9 a year. Cell phone chargers that aren't connected to a cell phone cost 14 cents a year. With some 260 million chargers out there, it adds up.

Reader's Digest Version: Unplug. Even easier, plug everything into power strips with on/off switches.

Q. I know cold-water washes are greener, but will they get my clothes clean?

For a hot-water load, about 90 percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heat the water, not agitate your clothes. The good news is, washing your clothes in warm or even cold water will get rid of almost any grime, except for the worst dirt or oily stains.

Reader's Digest Version: Switch from hot to warm water to cut energy use in half; cold, to cut it even more.

Q. Dirty dishes: by hand or by machine?

By the time you wash a sinkload of dirty dishes by hand, you'll go through 4 to 5 gallons of water. Modern dishwashers use as little as 2 gallons. Sure, dishwashers require electricity, but new ones use 95 percent less electricity than machines built 30 years ago, and they clean well enough that in most cases, there's no need to pre-rinse.

Reader's Digest Version: Stick to full loads, use the pot-scrubber option only if necessary, and hit the no-heat or air-dry option.

Q. Peanut butter jar: a simple rinse or a full-on scour before recycling?

A small amount of food won't gum up the recycling works, so don't waste a lot of water making that peanut butter jar pristine. You should do it mostly to keep pests away. And that lime in your empty beer bottle? Leave it.

Reader's Digest Version: Rinse out what you can, then recycle.

Q. Soda bottle tops: on or off before recycling?

It depends on where you live. Some localities insist on no tops; others are more laid-back. Leave them off because 1) the caps are not always made from the same plastic as the container, and 2) they can jam the processing equipment.

Reader's Digest Version: Off with their heads!


Q. Paper or plastic?

A key ingredient in plastic bags is fossil fuel, and making them-from drilling and refining oil to actually manufacturing the bags -- is a messy business. Turning timber into paper bags isn't exactly clean either. Paper mills contribute to acid rain, global warming, and respiratory ills. Plus, they demand loads of energy and water. Even bags made from recycled paper are six times as heavy as their plastic cousins, so trucking them across the country means more gas consumed and more noxious fumes. But, you cry, paper bags decompose in landfills and plastic doesn't. Wrong! Virtually nothing decomposes in a landfill, where garbage is kept from air and water to prevent bad stuff from leaching into groundwater. The stuff that does biodegrade can take tens, or even hundreds, of years to break down -- and in the process, it gives off methane gas, which contributes to global warming.

Reader's Digest Version: Paper and plastic are both lousy choices. Take your own reusable canvas bags.

Q. In public restrooms, paper towel or electric hand dryer?

Far less energy is needed to heat and blow air at your hands than to make paper towels and haul them around. One study found that nine trees are cut down to supply an average fast-food restaurant with paper towels for a year; the tossed towels then create 1,000 pounds of landfill waste.

Reader's Digest Version: If there's a choice, go for the hot air.


Q. Should I turn off the computer when I leave for the day?

At the Department of Energy, if an employee goes home for the night without shutting off her computer, the DOE network does it for her. Take that as a sign that you should too. According to Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach, only 34 percent of employees power down their computers. Americans would save $4.3 billion in energy costs, and avoid 32 million tons of CO2 emissions, annually by turning off office computers and lights. Don't worry about wasting energy powering up your computer. The only extra juice needed is in the first two minutes, and even that's barely more than any other two minutes of use. The real problem: Repeated rebooting is a pain.

Reader's Digest Version: If you won't be using it for 20 minutes, turn off the monitor. If it won't be needed for more than two hours, turn off the computer.

Q. What exactly can I put into those blue recycling bins -- the ones that say "White Paper Only"?

Good news for all of you who neglected to read your blue bins and tossed in anything remotely papery: Technology has progressed enough that most recycling facilities will let it slide.

Reader's Digest Version: Toss in newspapers, cardboard, magazines, envelopes with the plastic windows, and even the occasional staple.


Q. Let the car idle or turn it off?

As the California Energy Commission (CEC) points out, "Idling gets zero miles per gallon," so why waste the fuel? The old thinking was that starting up the car took more gas than letting it sit and run awhile. Yeah, if you're driving a Packard, but not so with modern, fuel-injected autos, where ten seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning on the engine.

Reader's Digest Version: Idle for 30 seconds if you must. Longer than that: Turn it off.

Q. But I should still idle my car in really cold weather before driving, right?

Cars warm up faster when driven, says the CEC.

Reader's Digest Version: Turn it on and go.

Q. Air conditioner or open window: Which costs me more gas?

One school of thought insists that air conditioners are a drain on the battery and gas.

Another claims that open windows cause aerodynamic drag, forcing the car to gulp more fuel. Yes, while sailing along a highway, the air conditioner does steal power from the car engine, but Consumer Reports and Edmunds.com found that it amounts to only about a mile per gallon, worth it on a scorching day. On the other hand, open windows do cause a drag on the car, making it work harder, but not by much.

Reader's Digest Version: On the highway, do what feels most comfortable. But around town, try to drive with the window down. Your hair will be a mess, but you'll save some gas.
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Water Summit Stresses Education

Article from Lawn & Landscape
Headline News


Water Summit Stresses Education
International water summit calls for greater adaptation of technology, policy initiatives and increased consumer awareness.
Addressing the significant challenges facing citizens, corporations and the global community in finding a solution to current and future water scarcity issues, the 10th Intelligent Use of Water Summit convened an impressive panel of Australian and U.S. water experts in Melbourne for a day-long discussion on the sustainability of Earth’s water resources.

Presented by Rain Bird in partnership with Smart Approved WaterMark, Australia’s not-for-profit water-efficient product labeling program for products that help reduce outdoor water waste, the water conservation symposium provided a unique opportunity for international thought leaders to engage in an open-forum discussion about global water management programs, policies, initiatives, trends and strategies relating to climate change and water availability in both Australia and the United States.

“It is now clear that water is at the heart of climate change and the more regulators, policy makers and citizens recognize this fact, the better off we will all be,” said Benjamin Grumbles, former assistant administrator for water at the U.S. EPA and one of the summit’s panelists. “While Australians are recognizing the link between water use and climate change more than Americans, both countries still have a lot to achieve if we are going to find a solution.”

Joining Grumbles on this morning’s panel were Mary Ann Dickinson, executive director, Alliance for Water Efficiency; Geoff Gardiner, general manager service sustainability, City West Water in Melbourne; Julian Gray, CEO of Australia’s Smart Approved WaterMark; Stuart White, director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology in Sydney; and Greg Stewart, general manager, Total Eden and Chair of Irrigation Australia WA Region.

“The Australians have done a fabulous job in educating consumers,” said panelist Mary Ann Dickinson, executive director, Alliance for Water Efficiency. “In some areas, like South-East Queensland, water use is down to 140 liters per person per day. We Americans need to be much more sensitive about reducing our own consumption. The average water use per person is still around 600 liters.”

Reducing the amount of over-irrigation of landscapes in the United States is a top priority,” added Dickinson. “We have been successful in developing much of the technologies and proper landscape design techniques, but awareness of the seriousness of the water situation is still well behind that of our counterparts in Australia.”

Following the morning panel, Dr. Bryson Bates addressed attendees as the summit’s keynote speaker. “There’s been little or no climate science behind planning in Australia to date. Climate change seems to be accelerating. The Catch 22 for climate change predictions is that we need a good 30 years or more to have some certainty that observed changes are not a temporary glitch,” he said. “Water managers need to work more closely with climate scientists to plan for future water supply needs in an era of population growth and increasing climate uncertainty.”

Bates was the director of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's Climate Program from 2004 to 2006 and served as the Lead Author for the second, third and fourth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“Developing and implementing a water sustainability plan requires a global solution and an international exchange of ideas, information and technology if we are to successfully adapt to a changing climate and changing water supplies,” said Cape.

Following the morning’s panel discussion keynote address, attendees participated in a series of afternoon breakout sessions led by key members of Australian landscape industry associations, research institutes and water utilities. Session leaders were Chris Bennett (Irrigation Australia) and Mark Frisby (Australian Institute of Landscape Architects), Dr. Anne-Maree Boland (RM Consulting Group), Jeremy Cape and Dr. Bryson Bates.

“Australia faces some of the worst drought conditions of any inhabited continent on the globe, and reduced water availability presents a significant challenge for homeowners and landscape professionals as they strive to preserve landscapes while maximizing every drop of water,” said Rain Bird Corporate Marketing Director Dave Johnson. “Australia serves as a reminder to the world that water is the resource that most affects human life. Keeping the planet’s water resources viable into the foreseeable future requires advanced water conservation and better water efficiency through education and innovation.”

Established in 2004 as a forum to further define the relationship between water conservation and landscape water use, The Intelligent Use of Water Summit series is an insightful examination of the current state of Earth’s most precious resource in the face of environmental uncertainty. Previous summit locations included Pasadena, Calif., Tucson, Ariz., Tempe, Ariz., Madrid, Spain, and Aix-en-Provence, France.


EPA Fix a Leak Week - Every Drop Counts

Article courtesy of the EPA
Every Drop Counts

Did you know that an American home can waste, on average, 11,000 gallons of water every year due to running toilets, dripping faucets, and other household leaks?

Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year. That's why WaterSense is promoting Fix a Leak Week from March 16 to 20, 2009, to remind Americans to check their plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks.

The Facts on Leaks:
Leaks can account for, on average, 11,000 gallons of water wasted in the home every year, which is enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.

The amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. That's equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.

Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.

Common types of leaks found in the home include leaking toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. All are easily correctable.

Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners more than 10 percent on their water bills.

Keep your home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet valves, and showerheads. In most cases, fixture replacement parts don't require a major investment and can be installed by do-it-yourselfers.

The vast majority of leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.

Leak Detection:
A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if its winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.

Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.

One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.
Faucets and Showerheads:
A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. A home with WaterSense labeled toilets could use that water to flush for six months!

Leaky faucets can be reduced by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. If you are replacing a faucet, look for the WaterSense label.

A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's enough water to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.

Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.
If your toilet is running constantly, you could be wasting 200 gallons of water or more every day.

If your toilet is leaking, the cause is most often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It's usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper—a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.

If you do need to replace the entire toilet, look for a WaterSense labeled model. If a family of four replaces its older, inefficient toilets with new WaterSense labeled ones, it could save more than 16,000 gallons per year. Retrofitting the house could save the family approximately $2,000 in water and wastewater bills over the lifetime of the toilets.
An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.

An irrigation system with pressure set at 60 pounds per square inch that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.

To ensure that your in-ground irrigation system is not leaking water, consult with a WaterSense irrigation partner who has passed a certification program focused on water efficiency; look for a WaterSense irrigation partner.

Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.

About EPA's WaterSense Program
WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Its mission is to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by promoting and enhancing the market for water-efficient products and services. Currently, there are more than 250 WaterSense labeled toilets, 700 labeled faucets and faucet accessories, and more than 600 certified irrigation partners. WaterSense labeled products must achieve independent, third-party testing and certification to prove they meet EPA's rigorous criteria for efficiency and performance.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rain water harvesting IGIN March


I recently received my March issue of Irrigation & Green Industry magazine. It is the publication of the Irrigation Association. I will update everyone monthly on good articles or product reviews in the magazine.

There was an article by Ryan Friedman titled: Let it Rain. This article discussed harvesting rain water as an alternative source of water for non-potable applications such as irrigation. The article talks about how it is common place in Australia, South Africa, Bermuda and other parts of the world to require homes to capture rainwater. And the trend is not only to harvest rainwater in areas where there are water shortages but evermore it is becoming popular in locations where water is not scarce since too much water can overwhelm a city’s storm water infrastructure and such is a current concern for the Cincinnati Ohio area. Some city’s in the US have decided instead of upgrading existing sewer systems to handle the runoff they are providing incentives for the both the consumers and businesses to capture the water. In Portland Oregon more then 42,000 homeowners participated in a program to disconnect their downspouts from the sewer/storm water system and then use the roof runoff to irrigate their landscapes. Those homeowners removed 842,000,000 gallons of rain from going through the sewer/storm water system. Another northwestern city that is coming known for its cutting-edge approach to rainwater harvesting is Seattle Washington. If you are interested in learning more about this concept give me a call (800)435-4979 x701. Typical pricing would start at $2 per gallon stored and up. I would assume that the average half acre lot would want to store 5,000-10,000 gallons so they could run the system for 2-4 weeks on a normal program.


Hunter Irrigation Products


This morning I had the pleasure with meeting my Hunter Irrigation rep Alex Bennett for breakfast in Westerville. It has been a while since the last time we had met. I got the lowdown on the new products for 2009. One product in particular we plan to introduce to both our new customers and existing customers. The product is a Water Saving device named Solar Sync. This $129.00 device can save the average homeowner 20-50% on their water consumption and is most effective when combined with a irrigation audit. This is a wired device that will replace an existing rain sensor. It is hands down the most cost effective way to implement ET based smart irrigation technology. Alex Bennett has demonstrated the units capabilities to a few corporations and in particular was able to save Bob Evans restaurants 48% on their watering bill by adding the Solar Sync and replacing all of their spray nozzles with Hunters MP Rotator nozzle. The combination of those two upgrades reduced their water consumption by 48%. That might just may be a number to many of you reading this but that is amazing to me, conserving our natural resources should be a priority to everyone. And what will get your attention would be the thousands and thousands of dollars that Bob Evans restaurants are now saving. If you are tired of your high water bill every fall and want to do something about it then give me a call at 800.435.4979 x701 to discuss a plan to save you money on your watering bills. Also take a look at our page for money saving watering tips.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Basic Watering 101: It's Time to Stop wasting water, Lower Your Bills Today


Why do we choose to live in Ohio? The weather right? Yeah right, I think that most people just like to challenge themselves to see how long they can take the grey weather. The good news is that it looks like we made it through another winter, the weather will be improving here shortly. Or at least we hope! When your work is seasonal there are ups and downs that come with the off-season. Sure it's nice when you can relax and not have to wake up a 5am everyday, but that really only lasts for 3 weeks or so then you have to start working again. We sit down with all of the employees and review what went good and what went bad during the last season. From there we look at possible improvements and how to implement them. The future is now with watering bills for a summer NEEDS to become educated on how to effectively water their lawn. I can not stress enough how wasteful the average person waters. For example based on historical data our general area on average requires the following monthly irrigation inches. April: .95inch, May: 2.6inch, June: 4.21inch, July: 4.92, August: 4.67, September: 3.08, October: .41. If you make a graph out of those numbers it will resemble a mix between an upside down smile and a roller coaster. My point is our watering requirements are minimal in April & October; Low in May and September; High in June, July and August. But since clients rarely take the time to learn and understand their irrigation controller a program maybe the same in April and May as it is in August. So that means you way over watered until the middle of the summer or you under watered in the middle of the summer depending on what that initial program consisted of. Irrigation systems are automatic BUT that does not mean that your conventional timer knows what the weather conditions are, and rain sensor are not the preconceived savor that some may believe. There is a multitude of new technology currently on the market with price points to fit just about any budget. You just have to keep in mind that its going to cost money to save money, but as long as the cost are justified within a year or two then there is no reason not to implement the improvements. Water costs are projected to rise 30% in the next few years. Here are some actual accounts with the new technology on the market that I have had with existing clients.

Client #1: We installed a timer that would program itself based on the local weather conditions. The system was installed in the spring and in August the customer calls and said there was something wrong with his system and that he did not think that it was working at all. Well his concern got my attention real quick, I had thought that maybe the new technology was not working. So the first question that I had asked the client was “Is your grass green?” His answer: Yes. Well Mr. “x” if your grass is green in this kind of heat wave why do you think that something is wrong? His reply: My neighbors system goes off every morning at 9am and mine never runs. I actually did not respond right away since I wanted to make sure that I understood everything he told me. Then I told him to relax since the new technology programs itself that it only waters when necessary. I then mentioned to him to give me a call if his grass starts to brown out, but other then that to realize that for every time his neighbors system goes off while his system is idle that he is saving 2,340 gallons of water. BTW: Never Start Your Irrigation System at 9am during the month of August and unless your watering window does not give you an option, don’t water on a daily basis. Check out my watering tips .
Client #2: We installed a new timer that programmed itself based on local weather conditions, this device did require a subscription service: After the first year we showed that it saved the customer $230 during the watering season. The next year the customer did not want to pay the $98 for the subscription for the service. They just wanted to water like a conventional system. To this day I never got the reasoning: No I don’t want to spend $98 to save $230??

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Irrigation 2-Wire Class / Irrigation Pump Class

Hello again

I recently attended two more classes. One covered basic 2 wire systems and the other one covered basic pumps.

2 Wire is a new(er) technology that is currently beneficial on larger commercial projects and is the norm on Golf Course systems. Most irrigation systems are installed with a multistrand wire, one wire for each zone plus a common wire (and hopefully plus a few extra zone wires and an extra common wire.) I have installed commercial systems with up towards 50 zones in single strand 12 gauge wire. To give you an idea of how much wire that is, if you bundled those wires it would be similar in size to a 1.5” pipe. 2 wire is just one (2 strand) wire that will have a decoder at each valve, sensor, pump, grounding area and so on. So you can image how much easier the installation process can be. The wire is a huge cost savings but the Controller and decoder technology does not offset system savings until 25 zones depending on the size of the system and the level of the 2 wire system controlling it. We are training on servicing this newer type of system nice it is starting to become more common in the commercial / municipal markets.

The pump class was good. To be honest I only don’t see to many pump applications, we may service less then 20 pump systems and may install 1-2 a year. I learned more about the internal workings and how to replace the seals and bearings. We also thoroughly discussed the volutes and most importantly the impellers.


Vista Landscape / Outdoor Lighting

I attended a Vista Outdoor Lighting Class a few weeks ago at a John Deere Location in the Cleveland area. To my surprise I believe there were close to 60 people attending the class. I was expecting Vista plugs left and right. But to the rep's credit they were somewhat limited. The first two hours of the class were interesting and the rep did a good job going over all the different types of lighting applications. I have a good background in outdoor lighting design, electrical engineering of systems and troubleshooting. But I was less informed about all of the optional lenses and there effects when used properly, so I am eager to use my "new tools" that I have added to my Outdoor Lighting Design toolbox. The third hour felt like the plug hour which lead up to lunch. I had an appointment to attend in the afternoon so I missed the last hour or two of his presentation. I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say about service contracts. Maybe next year.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring has Sprung

I would like to welcome everyone to RI Lawn Sprinklers new Irrigation blog where you will get updates on watering schedules along with industry news and current service / installation specials.
A little bit about myself. My name is Robert Diersing and I started working for a Irrigation contractor while attending Kent State. I worked on the installation crew mainly installing Hunter Irrigation systems and dabbled in a few service calls. In 1999 I started Reserve Irrigation Inc. and over the years I have become a Certified Irrigation Contractor, Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor, State Certified Backflow Tester and a EPA Watersense Partner. RI Lawn Sprinklers started mainly on the South and East Side of Cleveland with a majority of customers in Twinsburg, Solon, Hudson, Sagamore Hills, Orange Village, Chagrin Falls and Aurora during the first couple of years. Then we begain to work west and developed customers in Brecksville, Broadview Hts, North Royalton, Independence, Brunswick, Medin, Bath, Fairlawn, Copley and Strongsville. As our company grew we continued to receive interest in new areas so we continued west into Avon and Westlake and surrounding areas. In 2006 we decided to enter the Columbus Ohio residential market since we were already doing commercial installations and service in the area. We now have a large customer base in New Albany, Westerville, Dublin, Powell, Hilliard, Gahanna, Lewis Center and the surrounding areas.
We launched our website: http://www.RILawnSprinklers.com in October 2008, on our site you will find information on Troubleshooting, Spring Start-up Service, Backflow Testing, Hunter Product manuals, RainBird Product manuals, Winterization Service, New Irrigation Systems, Outdoor Lighting Systems and a page to Schedule a Service Appointment. We feel that all the time and money that we invested in the site was worth it. The site is probably the most informative irrigation contractor website that you will find.
Are mission this year is to educate our customers on water conservation and how the average customer should be able to save 20-50% on their water consumption while maintaining a healthy lawn. The first basic step to saving on your water usage is to check the system throughly to ensure it is operating efficiently. The second step is to program your timer and rain sensor to water based on the current weather conditions. There are "Smart" products available that will program your timer based on current weather conditions. Hunter came out with the Solar Sync for 2009 which seems to be the most "bang for your buck" when you compare the cost of the product $185 verse the projected water savings per each season used. Anyone that pays more then $600.00 in water for irrigation in a season should really think about some of the new products that are on the market. Anyone that spends more then $850.00 a summer on irrigation really needs to discuss the options available since they could recoup the cost is a soon as the first full season that it is used. I will be talking more about ways to reduce your irrigation water consumption in April and May.