When setting clocks back one hour this weekend, Manatee County Water Conservation Program and Southwest Florida Water Management District remind utility customers to properly set irrigation system timers to avoid a water restriction citation.
In addition to checking irrigation timers, it is also a good time to inspect irrigation systems using these tips:
· On your irrigation day, manually start your irrigation system for each zone to check for leaks, broken pipes, damaged or tilted sprinkler heads, blocked sprinkler patterns and overspray onto impermeable surfaces such as roads and sidewalks.
· Check for soft, wet spots that are around the in-ground sprinkler head. If consistent, these spots could indicate a leak that is being absorbed into the ground. Contact an irrigation maintenance specialist if repairs are needed.
· Look for dry spots. They are a sign of one of the following: the sprinklers may be placed too far apart; the water pressure is low; sprinkler patterns may be blocked by overgrown grass; shrubs or low-hanging limbs may be blocking the sprinklers; or the screens inside the sprinklers are clogged.
· Adjust, move or add sprinkler heads if your current sprinklers do not throw water 80% to 100% of the distance to the adjacent sprinkler.
· If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure it is equipped with a working rain sensor to override the system when enough rain has fallen. As water evaporates from the sensor, the irrigation system will resume normal operation. Rain sensors are required by Florida law on all automatic irrigation systems installed since 1991. Some properties in Manatee County may qualify for a rebate if it is necessary to replace the rain sensor presently on the property. Call the water conservation office at (941) 792-8811, Ext. 5327.
· Make sure the rain sensor is located away from overhead obstructions, with a clear view of the sky and at least five feet away from air-conditioning units or pool heaters.
· Check the rain sensor regularly to ensure the device is working properly and that the corresponding switch in the control box is set at “on.” Test the device by wetting the sensor to verify the system won’t operate when the controller has received the set amount of water.
· Adjust the sensor to interrupt irrigation after one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain. If there is a vent ring located just below the cap, the vent can be closed or partially closed to restrict air flow through the discs. Make sure the vent is closed so it will allow the disks to dry more slowly, thus keeping the system off for a longer period of time. This adjustment is used to compensate for an “overly sunny” location.