An important part of keeping your sprinkler system running in top condition is inspecting it regularly. Just as you get yearly checkups at the doctor, your irrigation system benefits from regular checkups to ensure that all the parts are functioning correctly.
Although referring to these checkups as "audits" is a relatively new development, professionals and homeowners alike have been performing the essential functions of an audit for years. Auditing is basically defined as inspecting a sprinkler system after it has been installed and had a chance to run a few times to verify that all the components are functioning correctly, that the system is delivering uniform water coverage, and to determine a water-efficient watering schedule that also meets the needs of your plants.
The main parts of a basic water audit for homes and small commercial landscapes are:
1. Visually inspecting your system while it is running to check for any obvious problem areas (too much or too little water being delivered, sprinkler heads spraying in the wrong direction, sprinklers that won't pop up, etc.),
2. Monitoring precipitation rates (the amount of water used) in each zone, and
3. Estimating how many gallons per minute (GPM) the entire system is using.
These inspections will help you monitor efficiency and maintain proper coverage.
Performing a water audit is very simple; after visually evaluating your system, you can check the precipitation rate to make sure the proper amount of water is being delivered. see the articles linked below for more information on troubleshooting and calculating precipitation rates.
An alternative to performing an audit yourself is hiring an irrigation professional or a licensed auditor.
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