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Upgrading Your Irrigation System

Vast improvements occur rapidly these days in landscape irrigation systems technology. Making more user-friendly and water-conserving systems is a major goal of irrigation system manufacturers. Upgrading a broken, old, or outdated irrigation system can save you money while simplifying programming of the device. If your sprinkler system is over ten years old, it could probably use a few upgrades to help it run more efficiently.

Consider the efficiency of your existing irrigation system. Have you noticed poorly draining areas or excessively dry areas in your landscape? Are water bills unnecessarily high lately? These problems may be due to an inefficient or worn-out irrigation system. One way to test the efficiency of your existing sprinkler system is to conduct a home water audit. A home water audit will tell you if, and where, any leaks exist in your irrigation system along with other areas of your home and landscape.

Have you recently made changes to your landscape? Moved flower beds, removed a tree, or added a hardscape such as a deck or fountain. Have you recently replaced old plant material with native, Xeriscape, EarthKind , or site-specific plants and ornamentals which have different water requirements than the former plants? If so, it may be necessary to rezone or upgrade your irrigation system to meet the needs of your recently renovated landscape.

Have a licensed irrigation contractor conduct a thorough check of your system including all pipes, spray heads and mechanical controllers. It may be necessary to upgrade the old heads with those which better conserve and distribute water. Piping within the system may be cracked or leaking and need replacement, or a valve may not be operating properly. Your controller may also be broken or need upgrading to a more efficient, better regulating model. Always use a licensed irrigation specialist to upgrade or maintain your irrigation system. Pricing for irrigation systems will vary by the size and scope of the requested changes; a simple spray head replacement may only cost $30 while a complete system upgrade could cost several thousand dollars.

Things to consider

  • If you are using a new irrigation contractor, request and verify all licenses and references.
  • Prior to your consultation, if necessary, create a rough sketch of your existing irrigation system. Also, include any new upgrades you would like in your system.
  • Ensure you and the contractor understand all aspects of your irrigation system upgrade and any associated maintenance.
  • Only licensed irrigation contractors are allowed to provide irrigation services in the State of Texas. Visit the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for more information.

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