Running your home irrigation system comes with both benefits and costs. The benefits are well mentioned in most of the online resources about the topic. You can surely find a list of them online. But the costs of running an irrigation system are often undermined. One of the costs of having an irrigation system at home is in the water bill. Yes, you may see some extra cost or spike in your water bill. This is especially true if you have a wide lawn area that requires a lot of watering.
Given this dilemma, some property owners who are conserving water, just let their lawns dry and eventually die. This case is worsened during times of drought when the scorching heat makes the lawn and plants drier than usual, thus needing more water to flourish. Some property owners who even own large types of plants or trees may face a higher cost of the water bill. When this happens, most of them have a crucial question in mind. How long should I run my sprinklers to achieve the optimum watering needs of my plants and at the same time, conserve as much water as I can?
This is a critical question since the answer varies from many different factors, such as the type of irrigation system that they have, the sie of the lawn area, the type of plants, and even their location. There is also no precise answer to this question, since achieving the balance between saving water and providing water is quite unique for each lawn type.
Lawn Watering Guide
In providing a proper watering to your lawn, you don’t have to sacrifice paying a huge amount of water bill. You can strike the right balance by setting up a timed irrigation controller for your home lawn. In this way, you can set up the sprinklers according to each zone’s water need, and at the same time, control the amount of water that will be sprayed. You must first identify the type of lawn or grass that you have and the spray output of your sprinkler system. The amount of spray capacity of the sprinkler head must match the amount of water a specific zone needs. From there, you can tune in your irrigation controller to spray only such amount of water in a limited time, depending on what you set.
Scheduling the lawn irrigation is another practical way to conserve water and eventually save up on your water bill. This means that you don’t have to water your lawn with the same amount of water every day. You can also skip a day depending on some factors like a type of plant, size, and weather. Since the average weather data is quite predictable, when matched with a certain location and current environmental conditions, you can have an idea ahead of time how much water your lawn will need for a specific day or season. You can simply set your irrigation system controller to match your estimation. You may continue to make some adjustments from time to time to achieve optimum results.
Factors to consider in determining how long should a sprinkler system run:
Type of lawn
The type of lawn you have plays a vital role in determining the amount of water, as well as the running time for your home sprinkler system, If you have a bermudagrass lawn or a tall fescue grass, it means that these type of plants performs well on spring and fall season, but they most likely stop growing during hot summer days. Therefore, you can reduce the water spray on these plants during the spring and fall, and simply increase it when the summer strikes.
Other cool-season grasses are the annual and perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and bentgrass. These grasses won’t need as much water in spring and fall, compared to the summer season. On the other hand, warm-season grasses include St. Augustine, common and hybrid Bermuda, and zoysiagrass. They won’t need much watering during the summer but almost stop growing in winter.
Sprinkler system output
To determine the output of water that your sprinkler system spray, you will need to use this measuring technique. Get at least six straight-sided containers of the same kind and size. Place them evenly on the lawn area. You may use empty tuna cans or coffee mugs. Turn on the sprinkler for about 20 minutes, and measure the depth of water in each can using a ruler. Once you get the measurement, multiply the average depth by 3 to get the amount of water (in inches) your sprinkler blows per hour.
Each lawn has its own watering needs. That is why the amount of time needed to run a sprinkler varies widely based on the factors mentioned above. But just to give you a general estimation, running your sprinkler system for 30 minutes, 3 times a week will give 1 ½ inch of water to your lawn. You can also run it shorter for just 20 minutes, 3 times a week, and will give your lawn an inch of water. But this is just a generalization since weather or climate plays an important role. During summer, you will need more water for your lawn in order for them to be sustainable and healthy.