Because the Treasure Valley presents an arid climate, most homes have sprinkler systems to automate the irrigation of their lawns and landscaping. Those automated systems are designed to hopefully keep everything green during the spring, summer, and fall months. However, a lot of different issues can arise.
Possible Winterization Problems: Since we must blow the water out of the systems to protect them from freeze damage during the winter, we often find freeze damage in the spring when we turn them back on … especially if they were not properly winterized.
Freeze Damage: Buried piping can incur freeze damage during deep frosts that can lead to expensive flooding of adjacent crawl spaces or basements if systems are not thoroughly winterized.
Broken Heads: Sprinkler heads can be damaged by deep frosts, lawn mowers, heavy truck wheels, dogs, etc. This damage often goes unnoticed by homeowners until other consequences develop.
Inoperative Spray Heads: Sometimes heads just stop working correctly because of blockages or gear failures, which can lead to expensive loss of vegetation before becoming noticed.
Misdirected Water Spray: If spray heads continuously wet siding and/or windows, this can cause expensive damage.
Purposely Hidden Problems: We often find that sellers will choose to pull hoses and set additional manual sprinklers to prevent problem areas from turning brown while their homes are on the market. This deception can leave buyers to discover sprinkler system deficiencies after taking possession.
Best Times: In our climate, the ground typically freezes each winter, beginning around mid-November. The last frost usually occurs in the first half of April. Therefore, most sprinkler systems in the Treasure Valley are wisely blown out and winterized during those months, making them unavailable for operation for inspection. Therefore, most sprinkler systems are functionally tested and inspected only during the warmer months while they’re already operational through normal user controls.
Sprinkler Turn-On’s: If we have to de-winterize a system in the spring in order to inspect it, we can do that for an additional charge; but it’s best to have systems turned back on by the same professionals who performed the winterization, if possible. That way, if any freeze damage has occurred due to inadequate blow-outs, the responsible contractors can make the repairs at their own cost, rather than trying to blame the damage on someone else.
Wintertime Testing: While it’s technically possible to inspect sprinkler systems during the winter, it becomes prohibitively expensive to do so, because the systems must be first de-winterized, then operated and inspected, and then re-winterized. And even then, the ground and air temperatures must be at least above 28 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid freeze damage during the process. Furthermore, of course, we must obtain the express written permission of the owners or their representatives to do this.
That depends upon the number of zones (the size and complexity of the system). We charge $30 for systems having up to eight zones of control, $60 for systems having up to 16 zones, and so on … unless the additional tasks of de-winterization or wintertime testing precautions must be performed.