Spring is here and the EPA WaterSense program has some great tips for those with home irrigation systems. According to WaterSense, homes with irrigation systems use about 50 percent more water outdoors than homes without irrigation systems. Maximizing the performance of your home irrigation system can conserve water during peak watering months this summer and help reduce your hefty summer water bill.
Get started with these four simple steps:
- Inspect sprinkler heads for clogs or damage. If you aren’t sure what to look for, look for an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program to audit your system for leaks.
- Connect sprinkler heads to pipes and hoses securely to avoid water loss. If you notice any pooling of water in your landscaping, you may have a leak in your system.
- Direct your sprinklers toward the landscaping and away from sidewalks and driveways.
- Select a WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controller to make sprinkler scheduling a no-brainer. By telling your system when and how much to water based on local weather conditions, a controller can help you eliminate outdoor water waste.
Here are some additional watering tips to get you through the summer months whether you have a home irrigation system or not:
- Water in the morning when the sun is low and temperatures are cooler. This will prevent evaporation.
- Use a rain gauge and only water lawns when there has been less than one inch of rainfall per week.
- Use a hose nozzle to turn water on and off when you wash your car or water plants.
- Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater, and use it to water your lawn and garden or wash your car.
- Reduce areas of thirsty turf grass by adding mulched beds of drought tolerant plants. Mulch not only helps plants retain moisture, but helps minimize weeds and keeps plants cool!
- Choose native plants. They will be drought-tolerant when planted in the correct spot and rarely require fertilizer or pesticide to thrive.
- When choosing non-native plants, look for those labeled as drought tolerant. This includes:
- bulbs or rhizomes like daffodils, canna lilies and irises
- plants with thick, fleshy leaves (like ice plant, sedum and portulaca) or thin, narrow leaves (like butterfly weed and most herbs)
- plants with hairy foliage (like lamb’s ear)
- grasses from sandy, coastal areas
Visit the WaterSense Watering Tips page to learn more about getting your sprinkler system in shape for spring.