If you’ve got an automated sprinkler system in your landscaping, you’ve got an irrigation controller. It’s the programmable part of your irrigation system that ensures your water turns on to the right part of the yard at the right time. It also allows the system to dispense the right amount of water.
What Does the Irrigation Controller Do?
If it’s been a while since you took a look at your controller, you’re likely wasting money on your water bill. Older controller systems don’t have the bells and whistles found on newer systems. As with any automation program, there are new developments often. Systems are coming out with advancements such as wifi operation and pairing with soil moisture sensors.
Signs You Need an Upgrade
Inadequate moisture control can lead to damaged lawns, erosion, and water waste. You may have put off your upgrades until this year, but if you start to notice these signs in your lawn and landscaping, you shouldn’t put it off much longer.
Immediate red flags may be:
You may also want to consider upgrading your controller or have a full sprinkler audit if you’ve added a new garden space, replaced old plants with new or different ones, or added a section of lawn that needs to be watered.
How familiar are you with technology? How many specific watering zones do you have in your landscaping? How smart do you want your system?
Regardless of the level of technology you opt for, an upgraded irrigation controller will add value to your property and cut down on your weekly maintenance time for your landscaping. If you can automate your watering routine, you’ll have more time for everything else. There are plenty of options you can choose from to upgrade to.
This type of system can be controlled from your phone or home computer. It links to the wifi system in your home and can be adjusted remotely. A smart controller can also be linked with other technology that will help the system know the status of your soil health. For example:
When this system senses drastic weather changes, causing shifts in the soil moisture levels, it can change the amount of water it gives different zones. If it’s raining, there’s no reason to throw extra water on the grass. Let nature help your water bill.
You schedule your family’s activities, and you shouldn’t have to change plans to make sure your landscaping is taken care of. With a smart controller, you can schedule waterings at different levels, times, and frequencies from your phone.
DIY or Hire
You can do a lot with your sprinklers on your own. However, a new irrigation controller upgrade is best left to the professionals. Give Texas Rainmakers a call today to discuss your options, and learn the best options for your outdoor space.
In a place as warm and arid as Texas, proper irrigation for your landscaping is critical. Without the right irrigation for your lawn and plants, you’ll end up with dead, dying, or patchy landscaping.
There are several common sprinkler issues that are relatively quick and easy repairs. Some of the problems can be prevented with adequate preventative maintenance. If your sprinkler system was already in place when you bought your property, a licensed professional from Texas Rainmakers can come out and take a look. While at your property, we can run a full diagnostic check-up of your system, identify issues, help you set up your preferences, and show you how to get the most from your system.
If your sprinkler heads get clogged up with mud, dirt, grass, etc, it can cause issues in your water pressure. This means the landscaping you need to water won’t get as much as it needs. You’ll see more of a misting than a showering if you’ve got a debris clog.
Water pressure issues can also be caused by broken or damaged valves, hard water build up in the moving parts of the sprinkler heads, breaks in the pipes, or water source pressure issues. If your internal systems show signs of low water pressure, it’s likely not an issue with your sprinklers.
DIY or Hire?
Some of these jobs are easy enough to fix on your own, but most will need the attention of a professional. At Texas Rainmakers, we’re here to help you get the most from your sprinkler system every year. Give us a call to set up your consultation.
Originally created in France, the French Drain system was popularized by Henry Flagg French of Concord, Massachusetts, in the 1859 publication of Farm Drainage.
Traditionally, a French Drainage system is used to divert groundwater away from structural foundations, and retaining walls through a gravel-filled trench. This system is typically placed near the perimeter of the foundation of a home, or at the back of a retaining wall to relieve the pressure of groundwater build-up.
Some systems drain directly to the side of the street, and into the storm drains, but other systems can be used to conserve water for gardening or fill a dry well.
French Drain Purposes
The French Drain is referred to by several names, such as weeping tile, trench drain, blind drain, rubble drain, rock drain, subsurface drain, among others. The French Drain system is created through the layering of different materials to sift out debris and direct water away from pooling at the foundation walls of a home or other building.
They can be made with a focus to compliment the aesthetics of your landscaping or to hold to the more practical purpose of water conservation. Sometimes, you can find a way to do both. In hot and arid climates, it’s important to get the most out of your short rainy seasons.
Utilizing water conservation resources will also help your wallet because you will spend less on having water pumped into your yard. If you strategically place your French Drains, you can divert any excess water from higher watering zones to drain into the lower zones, instead of paying for extra water to keep those spaces healthy too.
When your irrigation system or natural rainfall pool up and flood your landscaping, it can seep into the concrete foundations of your home. Over time, and through repeated freeze and thaw cycles, you can begin to see cracks and settling in your home’s structure.
Path of Least Resistance
Water is a lazy element. It will run in the path of least resistance. By giving it a dedicated space to travel, it will flow where you direct it to go. Much like a river changing course to follow a newly eroded path, a French Drain creates that path.
Most French Drains are created from a sloped trench lined with clay or perforated plastic. The pipe is wrapped in landscaping textiles, typically a non-woven fabric, to prevent debris from clogging the drainage holes. The pipe is then surrounded by various grits and levels of gravel and rock to filter out larger debris. As water flows across the surface, it is absorbed into the piping and diverted to a garden, storm drain, or a dry well.
What is a dry well? A dry well is a large receptacle that allows the water to flow into and slowly re-disburse into the ground away from the foundation that is in danger of flooding. This is often used for septic systems, where French Drains are common.
Call Texas Rainmakers today to discuss how a French Drain could help your garden stay healthy, and your help your landscaping budget.
Even in areas that don’t typically get very cold, winterizing your sprinkler system is beneficial when you’re not using it. When you leave water in your sprinkler pipes, and it gets cold, the water will freeze, expanding in your pipes and causing cracks and faulty valves.
You won’t even know you have an issue until spring rolls around, and you turn on your sprinkler system to find that you suddenly have a geyser of water flooding your garden, and drenching your home or sidewalks.
To prevent damage to your pipes and valves, it’s best to hire a licensed professional to complete the process for you, and Texas Rainmakers are here to help.
This method is almost as easy as it sounds. You’ll let the water drain from each zone moving from highest to lowest. As the water flows to low points in the system, it can drain out through the waste valves.
This method can be dangerous, but it's one of the most effective options. Using compressed air in the pipe system, you’ll force any remaining water out of the sprinkler network. This can result in dislodging debris and can cause injury. This method, while the most effective, also leaves a lot of room for error. If your air pressure is too high, or there is a severe blockage, you can damage the system.
Regardless of the chosen method, you’ll want to make sure to turn off the water on both sides of the pressure vacuum backflow device. This will protect the values, and ensure you don’t flood the system you’re trying to clear.
Step 2: Insulate
The weakest points in an irrigation system are the on/off valve and the pipe joints. It will be critically important to insulate these points once you’ve drained the water entirely from the system. Further, you’ll need to insulate any of the piping that is above ground. There are specialty insulated foam tubing you can buy and install for this purpose.
DIY or Hire?
Many people choose the Do-It-Yourself route. If you’ve got experience in plumbing or landscape management, that may be a good choice. But if you lack the experience, it may be a more budget-friendly long-term option to let the professionals handle this job. Texas Rainmakers are ready to help you winterize your sprinkler system, ensuring the successful operation of the system in the spring.
Give Texas Rainmakers a call today to schedule your consultation and discuss the best options for your landscaping.
There are a surprising number of different sprinkler heads available on the market, but not all of them should get included in your yard. And although Texas Rainmakers knows how to install them all, it helps to educate others on their many uses.
Automated In-Ground Sprinklers
Automated popup sprinklers are likely the most popular option for most homeowners. All you must do is have it programmed correctly, and the system does the rest.
These are useful because you can adjust specific zones to come on at different times, and advanced models make it simple to account for rain. However, for the best results, you’ll want to hire a professional to install them.
Manual Sprinkler Systems
Manual irrigation systems tie into a water control valve that remains in the ground. Once you need to water your plants, you manually turn the valve and allow water to flow.
Once you think that you’ve watered enough, you just switch it back and wait for next time. When it feels as though too many items are overly complicated, some homeowners prefer something to remain analog.
Fixed Popup Sprayers
When you have areas of your yard that require dedicated irrigation heads, fixed popup sprayers get the job done. Once active, they maintain a steady stream of water that shoots out in small, separate streams.
These are useful for patches of grass and for setting up individual zones. Best of all, you know how soaked they will leave your plants, allowing you to adjust for enhanced water efficiency quickly.
Rotating Impact Heads
Rotating impact sprinkler heads create the unmistakable sound of summer. As it turns as far as it can, it snaps back to its starting position, creating an even coverage for irrigation.
When you have a flower bed or a line of hedges and shrubs, rotating impact heads ensure that it all gets adequately watered. Whether you prefer their distinctive series of clicks or need the added reach, we can help you install them all.
Rotating Gear Head
The downside to rotating impact head sprinklers is that they are both loud and expensive. As they retain mostly metal components, they cost more than plastic systems.
Gear sprinklers are the updated version of impact heads, remaining quieter and manufactured with cheaper plastics. Not only do they cost less, but their mushroom-like appearance is less conspicuous as well.
Misting or Drip Heads
The typical sprinkler head is going to use too much force for more delicate species of plants. If you are growing herbs, flowers, or have plants that require a small amount of daily water, you may want a drip or mist spray system.
These heads use much smaller holes, a lighter flow of water, and less pressure. As a result, they gently water your more sensitive vegetation without the risks of harming them.
No matter which combination of irrigation heads are the ideal solution for your yards, our team is here for you. Choose Texas Rainmakers for better sprinklers.
You spend hours maintaining your lawns to keep them looking their best every day. However, you can’t seem to shake the feeling that something is missing from your yards.
While you already have plenty of vegetation in the area, from lush grass and flowers to thick shrubs and hedges, you need one missing item to tie it all together.
Unfortunately, homeowners today have more options than ever for their outdoor décor needs.
Before you spend a fortune on gaudy ceramic statues and plants that don’t take to your soil, Texas Rainmakers can assist you with professional landscape lighting services. When you install the right mix of light fixtures outdoors, it helps you enjoy it all day, every day.
Why should you stop spending time outside just because the sun went down? Continue reading for more benefits provided by your new landscape lights.
Although children are said to be the only ones afraid of the dark, your mind doesn’t enjoy being in spaces where you can’t identify what’s around. Even if it isn’t complete paranoia, it still helps to see where you are walking.
Whether you must get up in the middle of the night to take your dog out back, or you heard an unusual sound and needed to investigate, a pitch-black yard won’t reveal any secrets soon. Unless you have a simple way of illuminating your lawns, you can only rely on what your eyes can make out.
Not only will it seem much easier to navigate through your yards in the dark, but it also helps prevent your home from becoming a target. When you need a safer yard, you need new lighting installed today.
Affordable Home Upgrade
Everyone improves their homes, but not all upgrades remain worth the costs. And although your lighting fixtures will eventually need to get replaced, most exterior items stay relatively affordable.
You can also tie them into a programmed outlet timer or utilize fixtures with solar batteries, allowing you to enjoy them without added electrical costs. You’ll have a brighter, lighter yard for less without a pricey after-market addition.
Unlike other home upgrades, your landscape lighting provides lots of options for total customizability. Whether you prefer a specific color of light or a particular style of fixture, you have virtually countless choices to select.
Best of all, you aren’t limited to only one type of lighting when you have our experienced technicians installing them for you. We can help you discover the ideal mix of styles, bulbs, hues, and placement, thrusting the right plants into the spotlight.
No matter your reason why Texas Rainmakers provides the best in local landscape lighting solutions for any yard.
You’ve spent all day making burgers, hot dogs, and potato salad for your Fourth of July backyard barbecue. However, you quickly discover you have swarms of unwanted guests.
Mosquitos are no strangers to the state of Texas, and each year, there always seems to be more than ever before. Not only do they leave you covered in repeated bite marks, but they carry all manner of disease with them.
An unlikely tool in your pest control arsenal is your yard’s irrigation system. By hooking your sprinkler system into a bug misting system, you have a built-in approach to keeping tiny bloodsuckers away.
If you’re not convinced yet, read on to learn what your irrigation mists can do for your yard. And when you are prepared to enjoy it yourself, contact Texas Rainmakers today.
How Does It Work?
In addition to the water main connection in place, we install a tank filled with an all-natural pest repellant. Once the bugs start invading, you just switch them on and watch them go to work.
Because the repellant gets administered with regular yard watering, it continually protects your property each time your grass looks thirsty. Daily use of your sprinklers is all it takes to keep your worst pests away.
And since you aren’t operating them outside of scheduled use, you aren’t using any additional water each month, preventing rising utility costs. Your built-in mosquito misters remain the cost-effective way to protect your loved ones every day.
Your system continues to protect you without requiring a ton of installed components. When you need a simple way to defend your yards, we remain the best choice for you.
Is It Dangerous?
For years, homeowners have gotten forced to balance their outdoor protection against mosquitos, and whether or not they will harm the environment in the process. Since the 1970s, however, most pest control methods have gotten seen as too hazardous to use, or it isn’t discovered to be an issue until later.
The solution that fills your tank is an organic pest repellant that makes it impossible for mosquitos to hang around. As it activated along with your water main, it lingers behind throughout your yard.
Your system won’t harm your plants, and it doesn’t contaminate the surrounding area. It remains mild enough for your family to enjoy and potent enough to end mosquito swarms whenever they arrive.
If you’ve never lived somewhere that gets cold in winter, then you may not know that you must prepare your sprinklers. Unless it gets done correctly, you’re in for a rude awakening come spring.
When you eliminate all standing water from your sprinkler systems, it prevents expanding ice from destroying your system. As much of your sprinkler components remain PVC, plastic, and vinyl, it doesn’t take much to force them to split.
However, if you aren’t sure how to winterize sprinkler systems, you need a local expert like Texas Rainmakers to assist you. We ensure that your irrigation gets the best treatment to continue working for you later.
What is Irrigation System Winterization?
Some homeowners may think that it’s enough to merely turn off the supply of water that continually flows to their sprinklers. However, they don’t understand how much moisture remains trapped inside already.
It doesn’t take much for trapped water to freeze, rapidly expanding inside the rigid tubes and components.
Even if it doesn’t create enough force to split them open, it can just as soon cause it to stay stretched out.
Proper winterization requires that you not only cut the flow of water, but you must also force air through the lines as well. Otherwise, you’re just running the risk of destroying lines and rupturing sprinkler heads in the warmer months.
Why Hire Us for Your Winterization?
Although blowing out your irrigation lines is something that can get completed by yourself, it isn’t recommended to try without someone experienced nearby. Anything from accidentally damaging your sprinklers to winding up in the hospital is potential outcomes.
Using too much pressure can rupture sprinkler parts, while too little won’t do much of anything. And if you remain unfamiliar with how to use pneumatic devices, you could seriously injure yourself in the process.
Winterizing your yard’s irrigation lines isn’t the most challenging home maintenance item to complete, but it can quickly turn into a dangerous one. Make sure your sprinklers remain in good hands by contacting Texas Rainmakers to prepare your lawn for the winter season.
The typical homeowner does not utilize backflow testing nearly as often as they should, even though it’s a crucial maintenance need. Otherwise, you’re keeping yourself and your family at risk.
Backflow is when the direction of sewage or water reverses in a city or home plumbing system. As a result, contamination can happen through either back pressure or siphonage.
Siphonage is when the water direction changes course because of a decrease in water pressure. Without backflow testing, backflow can bring about diseases, illnesses, and even death.
The Health Risks
Backflow testing can stop infection and safeguard the health and quality of life for everyone. There are very particular health issues that can get prevented through backflow testing.
In the past, large outbreaks like salmonella and dysentery have all happened because of backflow. Currently, chemicals like insecticides and sodium hydroxide have gotten into plumbing systems via backflow.
Although, the most common issues related to backflow are sewer backups. When it comes to siphonage, sewer backflow makes unclean water flow back into the plumbing system.
Sewer water becomes filled with an assortment of dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli, hepatitis, and salmonella that can bring about serious health issues. Unfortunately, it isn’t always apparent that they already are in your water, making it challenging to realize you’re infected.
There are also less common but still harmful microbes that are in sewer water. Every one of these bacterial illnesses can get averted with yearly backflow testing.
Water Main Damage
The most frequent cause of backflow is a water main break. Back pressure happens when the downstream pressure is higher than the supply chain compression.
Backflow is also one of the usual reasons for equipment malfunctions like a defective pump system. By preventing backflows from occurring in the first place, you won’t need to worry about expensive plumbing repairs later.
Backflow testing ensures that backflow preventers, the helpful gadgets that stop backflow, are working right. These tools get installed in plumbing cross spots where drinking water could become contaminated.
Issues can occur at any time, so it’s a wise idea to test for problems at least once each year. Otherwise, you’ll be caught by surprise by significant problems in the future.
Backflow can also happen outside the home in your yard. That means that your irrigation or sprinkler system must have a backflow preventer to stop lawn fertilizers and landscaping chemicals from polluting your drinking water.
Use a Certified Professional
You should know that only a professional licensed by the state or local government is permitted to perform backflow testing.
Routine backflow testing keeps everyone healthy and safe. If you want to learn more regarding backflow testing, give us at Texas Rainmakers a call for quality services offered at affordable pricing.
Summer seems to last most of the year here in Humble, Texas. Some days are even too hot to enjoy a spin around town on my motorcycle.
It is also too hot for your yards to continue living without irrigation installation. Some homeowners may think they cost too much, while others remain unsure if they’re worth the hassle.
It is essential to know a something about irrigation systems when thinking about irrigation installation. If you decide you want a new sprinkler system, you should call a professional.
What Will Get Watered?
The first thing to consider is what, among your entire outdoor areas, will get watered? That includes shrubs, trees, and hardscapes, and knowing this will help in the irrigation installation process.
Some plants remain more drought-tolerant than others, and you might need more than one zone or timer for specific areas. Know ahead of time which sprinklers will run longer than others to prevent overwatering.
How Much Pressure Do I Need?
The secret to an efficient irrigation system is to determine the right design capacity. A water pressure gauge gets linked to the faucet closest to the water meter so that the water pressure can get read.
Water volume is provided as GPM (gallons per minute) and is crucial in making the system more effective. Otherwise, it will be like trying to shower with a tap that only drips out.
Why Professionals Get Better Results
To understand your water volume requirements, you have to know what size the service line is and what size the water meter is. A professional will create a with your water volume and water pressure measurements to establish your system design capacity.
An irrigation installation specialist uses the info regarding the layout of your outdoor space to craft the types and placement of sprinkler heads. It is critical to use the right style of sprinkler head for the right area.
An accurately designed irrigation system with the right parts saves you money, time, as well as keeps your outdoor areas healthy.
Begin with Sprinkler Head Placement
Proper planning and preparation help your irrigation installation go flawlessly. After deciding the location of the sprinkler heads, the route of the piping through your yard gets determined.
Once you have where the lines, heads, and solenoids need to get installed, it’s a matter of applying elbow grease and getting down and dirty in the soil. It is this part that you’ll certainly want a company working because we can get it down much faster than anyone untrained.
Prevent Leaks with a Pro
While much of your irrigation installation can become a Do It Yourself project, you’ll want to choose a professional service provider like Texas Rainmakers to ensure correct results. Otherwise, you could easily cause a leak or have connections fail and not even know it.
An improperly installed system can cause more expense and headaches in the future. Make sure that your irrigation installation remains on budget and choose us today.
Texas Rainmakers takes pride in providing our customers with the best products and services around. Our Blog is an area where we will be providing helpful tips and information about sprinkler systems. We hope you enjoy.