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A properly-designed and installed automatic irrigation system will allow lawns and gardens to flourish. The system should be suited to your specific needs and should be easy to operate and maintain, but flexible enough to minimize waste of our limited water resources. These may be good questions to ask a contractor:
  1. Do you hold a J3 plumbing license? Does the installer have a J4 plumbing license?
  2. Will you provide a Certificate of Insurance?
  3. How long have you been in the irrigation business?
  4. May I have a list of references?
  5. Are you a member of the Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association?
  6. Are you a member of the nation-wide Irrigation Association?
  7. If I have a well or a pond, can I install an irrigation system?
  8. Will you install a state-approved reduced-pressure backflow preventer to prevent contamination of drinking water?
  9. Do you install rain sensors?
  10. Will you zone spray sprinklers separately from rotor sprinklers to prevent over-watering?
  11. Do you provide a warranty on parts and labor for the entire system? Does this include first year winterizing and following season start-up?
  12. Following completion of the job, will you instruct me in the operation of my system? Will I be able to contact you if I have further questions?
  13. Will you bill me AFTER the system has been completed and satisfactory testing has been performed?
  14. Will you provide an "as installed" drawing of my sprinkler system?

Today's Standards For Proper Irrigation

Backflow Prevention
The State of Connecticut requires all municipal water-supplied irrigation systems to use a reduced-pressure device such as a Febco 825-Y or equivalent.

Computer-controlled irrigation systems allow more flexibility in scheduling and, with proper management, can save water.

Rain Switch
Rain switches save water by interrupting scheduled cycles during rainy weather and allowing more freedom for the operator who monitors the controller schedules.

Sprinklers should be sized to the area to be watered, the water supply, and the water pressure. Matched precipitation sprinklers allow even distribution of water.

Valves with manual override and a flow handle allow for manual watering and shutdown of valves that need service while the rest of the system is left in operation.

Valve Boxes
Valve boxes provide a location point for valves and ease of future service.

Multi-strand cable allows spare wires for future expansion and double-jacket protection.

Drip Tubing
Pressure compensating dripperline puts water at the roots of the plants, not on nearby structures. All drip zones should be regulated with a pressure reducer.

All piping under continuous pressure should be PVC 200 PSI. PVC pipe can withstand higher pressure than poly pipe, and fittings are less subject to leaks. A main line with 80 PSI static pressure could have spikes to 170 PSI or greater, due to "water hammer" caused by a quick-closing valve.

Lateral lines are placed after the automatic valve and can be 100 PSI poly pipe. These lines are under pressure only while the specific sprinkler zone is operating, and at a reduced rate of pressure due to water being released through the sprinkler nozzle. There are two types of poly pipe: medium density #2306 and high density #3208. Both can have the same pressure rating. Medium density pipe is better suited for lawn irrigation because it has more flexibility and is less susceptible to splitting and kinking.

Booster pumps should be considered if the pressure at the farthest lawn sprinkler is less than 35 PSI operating pressure. A sprinkler with too little pressure will not provide even distribution of water; a sprinkler with too much pressure will mist, allowing wind drift and poor distribution.

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