Frequently Asked Questions
The Advantages of Owning an Automatic Sprinkler System
If you are considering installing an automatic sprinkler system on your own or hiring a professional to do the job, the following answers to frequently asked questions can help get you started towards owning the most convenient and efficient way to water your lawn and landscape.
Q. Will an automatic sprinkler system use more water than I am currently using?
A. No. -- In fact, an automatic sprinkler system may actually save you water. A well designed, efficient irrigation system applies exactly the amount of water needed by your landscape. You will never again have to worry about wasting water if you forget to turn off the hose. Plus, with a Rain Bird rain shut off sensor your system will know when it is raining and simply turn itself off when water is not needed.
Q. Does having a sprinkler system really save me time?
A. Yes. -- You won't have to spend another minute of your valuable leisure time watering the lawn. Your new system will do all the watering for you - even when you are away from home!
Q. Will an automatic sprinkler system water as well as I do when I water by hand?
A. An automatic sprinkler system will do a more efficient job because it will be designed based on your landscapes diverse watering needs, using specific products designed to water grass, trees, shrubs or garden plants.
Q. We generally get 40 or more inches of rainfall a year. Do we really need a sprinkler system?
A. If it rained at your house every three days -- the same exact amount each time -- you probably would not need a sprinkler system. But nature doesn't work that way, and the only way to ensure healthy, lush yard is to make certain that your lawn and plants receive a regularly timed and evenly measured amount of water. In the dry season when there is little or no rain, your plants can suffer stress and damage after just a few days without water.
Q. What are the components of an automatic sprinklers system?
A. A typical system is comprised of a controller (which functions as the brains of the system), valves (which open and close to release and stop the flow of water to underground pipes) and sprinklers (which distribute water to specific areas). The sprinkler system can be customized further with rain shut off devices, soil moisture sensors and drip irrigation zones.
It is best if all of a system’s components are manufactured by the same company in order to ensure that they will work well together. Rain Bird designs and manufactures the most complete line of components that make up an efficient irrigation system. Rain Bird also has a nationwide network of home improvement dealers, irrigation distributors and irrigation contractors to help you choose and install the right Rain Bird product for your landscape’s diverse watering needs.
Q. Can I install an automatic sprinkler system on my own?
You can install an automatic sprinkler system on your own. As with any home improvement project, you should consider all the aspects of the project before you begin. Understand the time and tools necessary to complete the job. Consult local hardware and plumbing stores, or nurseries for more information on the tools necessary to complete the installation. If you have specific installation or maintenance questions, please consult our Manuals and Support Library. Depending on the size of your property, installing a system could take more than just a few days to complete.
It helps to have a blueprint of the system before you begin, that’s where Rain Bird’s Sprinkler System Design Service can help you. When you use the service you will receive a design plan, plus a shopping list of the product you will need in order to complete your installation.
Always consult local plumbing and electrical codes. Most municipalities require a backflow preventer to prevent the flow of irrigation water into the main drinking water supply. It is better to know the code requirements before you begin the installation to avoid costly mistakes. If you already have an existing lawn and landscape you might need to move plants, trees or shrubs in order to install the system. Make sure you have prepped the area before you begin the installation.
Q. Can I save money by installing my own system?
A. It depends. Remember, product cost is only one part of an efficient irrigation system. Many people choose to hire an experienced professional irrigation contractor who will bring years of experience designing and installing the most cost-effective and efficient irrigation systems. Contractors have also invested heavily in specialized installation equipment to help speed up the job and many have gone through detailed training courses and certifications.
Q. I have decided to hire a contractor to install the system, how do I choose the right one?
A. If you decide to hire a professional irrigation contractor, here are some tips that will help you select the right contractor for the job.
- Before a contractor can present you with a bid, they must do their homework. This includes coming to your property, meeting with you face-to-face, surveying and sketching out the property, locating the water source, taking a read of the water pressure and finally, understanding your needs and what you want to accomplish.
- Experience does count – make sure you are comfortable with the experience level of the contractor. If you are not sure, the best reference is a recent customer.
- It's not all about price – often times, we use price as the only deciding factor. Contractors who have a significantly lower price than their competitors have to cut corners in order reduce their costs. This could mean leaving out a backflow preventer, not using the proper installation techniques or even, not completing the work. Make sure you have selected a contractor based on their service, design plan and ability to install the system properly.
If you need help finding a contractor in your area, Rain Bird’s Contractor Referral Service can assist you in finding a prequalified contractor in your area.
Q. How much will a good sprinkler system cost?
A. The price of a system depends upon many factors such as property size, type of landscaping, number of zones, products used and special designs. Whether you work with a qualified professional irrigation contractor or decide to install your own system, you can rest assured knowing that Rain Bird products will deliver maximum results. Rain Bird, as well as its nationwide distributor network, stands behind all of its products and is serious about its commitment to quality construction.
Q. Will I have difficulty operating my sprinkler system?
A. Rain Bird offers a wide selection of the most advanced sprinkler timers and controllers that are powerful enough to meet your customized watering needs, while being simple to program and adjust. The newest Smart controllers from Rain Bird even adjust themselves automatically based on changing weather, temperature and rainfall, so all you need to do is sit back and relax.
Like most people, you probably have many questions that you would like to ask before finalizing your decision to purchase an automatic sprinkler system. We hope this information has helped to answer some of your questions, but if you have more, don't hesitate to ask your professional irrigation contractor or call Rain Bird at (800) RAINBIRD.