Q: How often should I water?
A: For optimum results, we suggest you water less often for a longer period of time rather than frequently for shorter periods. Frequent watering keeps lawn root growth at a surface level. By watering infrequently you promote the expansion of deep-water sources that encourage deep root growth.
Q: How do I know how much water my lawn needs?
A: In normal irrigation season weather (80 to 90 degrees), most lawns need about 1 inch of water a week. When temperatures go up, so do your lawn watering needs because so much of the water gets evaporated. Windy and hot is especially hard on turf, so watch for stress. Conversely when temperatures are cool cut back on your watering or shut it off entirely.
Q: How long should I water?
A: That depends on how quickly water is dispersed by your sprinklers. You can determine this by putting pans on your lawn when watering. After 15 minutes, measure the water depth and multiply by 4 to get the water sprinkled per hour. On average, you can expect about ½ inch of water in 15 minutes from spray-heads and ½ inch of water in 60 to 90 minutes from rotors.
Q. Is a certain time of day better for watering?
A. The optimal time for watering your lawn is after midnight and before sunrise. Mid-day watering is discouraged, unless it's cool out or you have a new lawn that needs constant moisture. Do not water more than once a day unless heat is causing extreme evaporation. Heavy clay soil or hillside irrigation with considerable runoff requires shorter cycles more frequently to allow water to soak in. Theory in Kansas is never put your grass to bed wet. Disease is common in a turf that is watered late in the day and where the ground stays wet in warm weather.
Q: Are there certain steps I should take to maintain my irrigation system?
A: Perform preventative maintenance once a month during the irrigation season:
- Check your timer settings and make any adjustments
- Run system manually and check your rotors, sprays, and shrub bed drip lines
- If you have a mainline filter, clean it out
- If trouble occurs, unclog sprinkler heads
- Make sure installation levels of heads are adjusted to the ground level
Q: I keep getting plugged-up heads. What should I do?
A: Sources of water contaminants include sand, particles, moss, and other debris. Filters are available that can remove most of these debris. Call us so that we can observe the problem and recommend a proper solution.
Q: I have an older, presumably outdated system. Can I still get information for it?
A: Call us and we’ll do our best to help you find the information you need.
Q: Is maintenance required on the backflow preventer?
A: A backflow preventer must be tested annually and a report should be filed with the water utility. Every 5 years the device has to be rebuilt and tested. Contact us for additional details about this service.
Q: When should I have my system winterized?
A: In Kansas, you should have your system shut down and winterized between October 15th and November 24th.
Q: Should I wrap up the backflow preventer to keep it from freezing?
A: It's a good idea to wrap your backflow preventer after October 1st. However, wrapping the backflow is not a substitute for winterizing and shutting down your system and WILL NOT protect the backflow against an extended cold snap or guarantee it from freezing. Even if you have your winterization appointment scheduled, it's a good idea to wrap the backflow to keep it warm in case of an early or hard freeze.
Q: I just seeded my yard and I want to water later into the season. How do I keep my backflow preventer from freezing?
A: Wrapping the backflow as noted above will help. You can also put pipe heat tape around the backflow preventer or put an incandescent lamp under the backflow with a bucket, with NO insulation, over the top. Be careful as these methods could melt the pipe, start a fire, or cause an electrical short or flooding. BE CAREFUL AND CHECK THE DEVICE FREQUENTLY!!! We do not recommend these steps or take any responsibility for their suggestion.
Q: How long does the Installation take?
A: An average residential project can usually be installed in 1 day depending on its size, unless interrupted by bad weather. Rain Link Inc installs all projects from start to finish to minimize damage and speed up healing. OUR GOAL IS TO INSTALL YOUR PROJECT WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TRAUMA TO YOUR LAWN.
Q: How damaged will the yard be after the installation and how long will the damage last?
A: The amount of damage is greatly reduced with the use of our vibratory plow, for a start-to-finish installation. Ground condition at the time of installation is the main factor. Yards that are very dry will have more damage than yards that have clean soil. Most yards will heal in 2-4 days depending on the time of year.
Q: How deep will the irrigation pipe be?
A: The target pipe depth is 6"-18" but no one can guarantee pipe depth because of underground debris, utilities and pipe crossings.
Q: How much water will a sprinkler use?
A: The answer to this question is a little complicated. Even if a person does a very good job of watering with garden hoses, a sprinkler system will still use 20%-40% less water. Since no two lawns are the same size, have the same plant material, or have the same needs, each landscape will vary.
Q: How difficult is it to change the settings on the sprinkler controller?
A: Making changes to the controller is very simple. There are only three things the system needs to know. They are: the days to water, time of day to water, and how long to water. It’s that simple.
Q: What is the best time to water?
A: The best time to water is early morning during the coolest and calmest part of the day. It's the key to the system's efficiency. The winds are calmer, so the water goes where it’s directed. Also this gives the water time to absorb into the ground before sun and wind start evaporating it.
Q: Are there any hidden costs?
A: NO. The cost of your project includes all permit fees and sales tax. The only extra costs will be if there are changes that you make on your project after the contract and price have already been agreed on.
Q: What types of payment are accepted?
A: We accept personal checks, cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and have financing available.
Q: What is the customer responsible for?
A: The customer is responsible for providing access to the garage or basement as necessary. Also, for marking boundaries, owner owned utilities, and for making arrangements to be present when the job is complete for a walk through of the project.
Q: What do I need to get started?
A: Call for a FREE estimate.
Q: What about the connections to the sprinkler heads?
A: Even though we may use a vibratory plow for lines, we still have to dig holes to attach the “T” fittings and sprinkler heads. For this we cut out a small section of sod, or dig a small hole at each connecting point. Once the plumbing is complete, we replace the sod or fill the hole. Any damage done will usually heal in the first 2 or 3 weeks after installation and be completely erased by a simple areate, verticut and overseed in the fall.
Q. Can I save money by installing my own system?
A. It will likely cost you more in the long run. Most building codes will require a trained and licensed professional to connect the system to the water supply and insure that backflow preventers are correctly installed. Our professional training, industry certifications and years of experience enable us to design and install the most cost-effective and energy-efficient systems possible in far less time than a homeowner. That means choosing and installing the appropriate equipment for your site while streamlining the maintenance required to keep your landscape in top shape.
Q: When is the best time of year to install a sprinkler system?
A: A sprinkler system can be installed about any time of year as long as the ground is not too wet or too dry. In our area the optimal times are March through June, and September through December. If the ground is either too wet or frozen, it will take longer to install the system and require more cleanups and repairs to the yard. Conversely, doing an installation in hot and dry conditions can cause turf grass to go dormant or die in disturbed areas. If there is no established turf such as at a new home site, hard ground can make the installation take longer. We can help you decide when the ideal time might be.
Q: How much water pressure do I need for a sprinkler system?
A: Most homes have 50 psi, which is more than adequate. 30 psi is a minimum amount of water pressure for system operation. Use a pressure gauge at the garden hose faucet to measure pressure, or call your local water utility.
Q: I do not have enough water pressure. Can I still install a sprinkler system?
A: Yes. There are booster pumps available that can increase the pressure for the sprinkler system. We can help you correctly size the pump and provide the proper backflow prevention.
Q: What is a backflow preventer?
A: A backflow preventer is a device that keeps any water that has been in the sprinkler system from getting into your water supply. Backflow preventers are required by local building codes to protect you and the community from possible water supply contaminants that could enter through the sprinkler system.
Q: Can I install the backflow preventer myself?
A: No. Depending on where you live, a specially licensed and trained backflow test and installer or licensed plumber is required to install a backflow preventer. In the Wichita area, we're licensed to install the backflow preventer.
Q: Where will the backflow preventer go in my yard?
A: In the Wichita area, backflow preventers are not allowed to be installed underground or in vaults. We can install the device in an unobtrusive location such as alongside your house near the gas meter, or in a shrub bed to keep it out of the way and unnoticeable.
Q: Where will my system connect to the water supply?
A: Whenever possible we connect the water supply to the sprinkler by the water meter out near the street. We do this for several reasons:
This will give you the best pressure for the sprinkler system and in your house when the system is running.
You won’t hear the rushing of water running inside the house when the system comes on.
You will not need to remember to turn off the water to the sprinkler system for winterization or have a Service Technician enter your home to turn off the water to your system.
If a leak does occur at the water shut off it happens at the street not near your basement wall.
Q: Do self-draining systems work? Should I get one?
A: If saving water is important to you, DO NOT INSTALL a self-draining system. Actually, self-draining systems have several disadvantages. They rely on drains that open into small drain pits in the ground. Over time the drains begin to clog with roots and debris which eventually leads to trouble when a hard freeze hits. Because all the water is drained from the lines following each watering, self-draining systems require more water since the lines must be refilled each time the system comes on. Also, installing a self-draining system correctly costs 20%-30% more than a comparable non-self-draining system.
Q: What is a rain sensor and how does it work?
A: A rain sensor is a device designed to shut off the system once a predetermined amount of rain has fallen. Many cities require rain sensors on sprinkler systems. For best results the rain sensor should be placed in an exposed area where rainfall and evaporation are about the same as for the yard. Keep in mind that a rain sensor is not activated by the threat of rain but needs at least some rain to be triggered. It's best to shut off your system if you expect rain during the night.
The accuracy and responsiveness of rain sensors have improved significantly in recent years; however, there are important differences in features, brands and models. For example, there are both wired and wireless models available. A wired rain sensor requires very little maintenance but has a wire running down the side of your house which may be noticeable. A wireless model is easy to install but requires changing the internal battery every few years.
We’ll be happy to explain the many features and options available to you.
Q: Why are the irrigation products at home improvement stores so much cheaper than what irrigation contractors offer?
A: Often the irrigation products sold at retail stores are either obsolete or old designs that have been sold to second tier manufacturers. They do not incorporate many of the user-friendly and environmentally-friendly features. While store irrigation products may appeal to the cost conscious homeowner, they sacrifice a great deal in the way of quality and features.