Springtime Sprinkler System Start-up Checklist


 

shutterstock_140861632If you have a home sprinkler system then you know it must be maintained in order to remain dependable and functional when you need it. That means taking proper precautions in the winter to prepare the system for the pending freezing temperatures and conditions. Similarly, when it comes spring time, the sprinkler system needs to be taken through a series of procedures to ensure that it is a ready to begin watering again and also to ensure that it’s ready and able to function properly throughout the upcoming season.

Depending on the part of the country where you live, you may (or may not) have to fully winterize your system each year. This checklist will take your through all the steps necessary to perform a thorough and complete startup process.

 

 SpringTime Sprinkler Start-up Checklist

 

  1. Make sure it’s safe to start: You don’t want to start your system up too early. A system that is started too early can lead to damaged pipes and or backflow preventers. Check your local weather forecast to ensure there is not going to be any more freezing temperatures or consult this chart for a regional guideline on frost.
  2. grassInspect Backflow Preventer: Locate your backflow preventer and inspect it thoroughly for damage (i.e. cracks, splits, leaks, etc.) before introducing water into the system.  Winter can be especially rough on irrigation equipment, freezing water expands and can crack pipes, valves and even backflow preventers. In the northern areas of the country, it’s a common practice to winterize sprinkler systems by “blowing out” the remaining water from the lines, using high-volume, low-pressure compressed air.
  3. Visually Inspect Sprinkler Heads: Look for damage in and around sprinkler heads throughout the system. Remove any debris, dirt, gravel or vegetation that’s collected on or around sprinkler heads. If you have rotor style sprinkler heads, it’s best to remove the nozzle from each rotor to clean out any debris which may have collected. If any nozzles are missing or damaged, be sure to replace them with an appropriate replacement part.
  4. Spring backflowCreate a flush point: Remove last sprinkler head at the end of each zone to provide an escape for any unwanted debris which have collected over past season(s) to escape freely. It will also eliminate the risk of over pressurization and water hammer effect as the air which currently fills the pipes is replaced by water.
  5. Visually and physically inspect valves: Locate the valve box(es) for your system and carefully inspect the valve assemblies for damage and/or leaks.
  6. Visually inspect the controller: Most controllers are located inside a garage or shed. Carefully inspect the controller, looking for any damage. (Replace the batteries if necessary.) Turn controller on and confirm the buttons are functioning properly and the controller is functional. Ensure that the correct time is set on the controller.
  7. valve solonoidPrepare the backflow preventer for mainline turn on: The handles on the backflow preventer should have been set to a 45-degree angle from the winterization process. Open the handles to allow for water flow by aligning the handles parallel with the pipe they are attached to. Locate the test-ports on the backflow preventer. Turn the screw located on the side of the test-port from the 45° position and turn it slightly back to the 90° (up and down) position.
  8. Locate the main water turn on: Often found in the basement or crawlspace of the structures foundation. Turn on the water slowly (take at least 30-seconds to move the handle from closed to open. Check Pressure coming through backflow preventer to the valves (should be around 45-60 psi ideally)
  9. Inspect Mainline, master valve and backflow preventer: With water in the pipes, visually inspect the system for leaks or damage not previously visible. (I.E. wet spots or puddles, misting, spraying etc.)
  10. et_modManually Open Each Valve and flush each zone: With water in the system open up each zone manually by turning the solenoid on top of the valve very slowly, once you hear water begin to flow stop turning. Allow enough time for the system to flush. Ensure that water is coming out through the flush point you created in step 4. Close the solenoid by hand. And repeat for all zones.
  11. Close all the flush points:  Replace the end-caps and/or rotors at the end of each zone.
  12. Check Controller function: Cycle through each zone one at a time using the controller to open and close the zone. Leave each zone on long enough for you to go walk around the zone and ensure the sprinklers are working properly.
  13. Adjust the watering schedule for the early spring/summer season: Reset the controller to accommodate the needs of your lawn based on the season.  If you are not sure what to set it to, consult this guide.

  14. Uncover and adjust rain sensors or other accessories:
    If you controller is equipped with a weather sensor or rain collector uncover it and ensure it’s clean and unobstructed.

It’s Goddess of Fertility Day!


shutterstock_145643629

Today is National Goddess of Fertility day! So, your friends here at Sprinkler Warehouse are here to help you get your Fertilizer on! There are a lot of different options out there when it comes to fertilizers! You have to choose the way you want to apply it first, then the kind of product to buy (IE organic VS Manufacturer made) and what the best time of year to do it is! We have all these answers for you, and some!

Types of spreading devices

shutterstock_78916219There are several ways to fertilize you lawn and garden! Probably the most common method is to apply dry granular style fertilizer. These types of fertilizers are usually a synthetic creation (as opposed to organic) but your plant won’t know the difference! There are several different types of ways to apply granular fertilizers too! It can be spread with a hand-spreader; designed to allow maximum mobility and customization of application. Usually holding somewhere between 1-5 liters of fertilizer the spreader is best used to do small yards, gardens or around places where space is at a premium.

Mechanical push spreaders are also a good choice! The primary forms are a drop version and a broadcast spreader version. The difference being that the drop spread will apply an even and uniform application directly beneath the spreader, whereas the broadcast spreader will typically get cover more ground faster due to the way it “throws” the granules out and away from the spreader.

If you have a really big lawn or pasture to fertilize, perhaps a “pull-behind” unit would be best. Typically the pull-behind style spreaders are a broadcast style spreader and can hold a significantly larger amount of granular fertilizer than the previously mentioned types of spreaders.

Last but not least is an option called “Fertigation” – this type of application uses the sprinkler system to apply an even application of fertilizer to the lawn without the need of using a spreader! Systems are available as a kit to add to your sprinkler system. They are simple to install and even easier to use. Some kits, like the one from SkeetoBusters will let you apply fertilizer to your lawn as well as a pest control solution to keep your lawn and yard free from mosquitoes, and nearly all other pests too!

Choosing the right fertilizer

2014-03-18_15-33-37Choosing the right type of fertilizer can be challenging too! The basics to choosing a fertilizer lie in the numbers. The three numbers to be exact. On each bag or container of fertilizer you will find 3 numbers separated by a hyphen.

The first letter represents Nitrogen, an essential ingredient in the fertilization process. The nitrogen is used to help “green up” the plant, by aiding in leaf and stem growth. Studies have shown that as much as two thirds of the nitrogen in your fertilizer will “burn off” or
vaporize before it ever gets a chance to help the plant. So avoiding high nitrogen fertilizers is recommended (unless a soil test determines it is necessary) This portion of the fertilizer is there to help the plant to grow “UP”!

The second letter is the Phosphorous. Essential to the root growth phosphorous will be processed by the plant resulting in downward growth. If your lawn is already grown, this is essentially superfluous to your lawn.

The last but not least of the three numbers in the sequence is represented by Potassium. By taking in plenty of Potassium a plant will have a better chance at being all-around health. You can remember this part of the sequence as the “All Around” part of the sequence.

Organic or Manufacturer made

Rain-Bird-Rotary-NozzlesWhether to choose Organic or manufacturer made fertilizer is becoming a question we hear more and more often. The truth is… one is not better than the other. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, organic options take significantly longer to release their nutrients into the soil, and they often carry a lower amount of nutrients than a manufacturer made fertilizer does. The best way to choose the perfect fertilizer for your lawn is to have a soil test done to determine the needs your lawn has, then picking a fertilizer suitable to meet those needs. The choice is up to you.

Best time of year to fertilize?

Once again we recommend that you have a soil test done first before making this decision. But, for the most part, the best times of year to fertilize is the fall and the spring. Fall fertilization will help the plant to store up energy in its roots that it will need to use once the warmth of spring finally prompts the grass out of dormancy and into grow mode.

soil_in_handsAlways fertilize your lawn when rain is expected. Wet weather and moisture will help the fertilizer to work into the soil and prevent it from burning your lawn.

Lawn care following fertilization

Once you have fertilized your lawn, be sure to allow a few days for the product to work down into the soil. Apply generous water during this time period. When it is time to cut your lawn, be sure you are leaving at least two thirds of the grass blade. This will allow the grass to stay shaded by it’s own growth. It is far more beneficial to cut a little off the top more often than it is to let it grow tall and then cut it low.

Where to Buy Cedarcide Products?


There are a lot of people in the Greater Houston area that are die hard cedarcide product fans. Ever since Cedarcide moved from Sugarland to the Lewisville/Dallas area, they have had to search for a new place to purchase their products, online being the only choice.

The company realized that they left a faithful group of cedarcide consumers in Houston which is why they decided to partner up with Sprinkler Warehouse to provide a physical location to purchase their product. People in Houston and surrounding areas now have the option of purchasing Cedarcide products at Sprinkler Warehouse in NW Houston or online through their website at http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com.

Sprinkler Warehouse is now carrying all of the top performing Cedarcide products including, Best Yet (from a 1 oz to a gallon), their PCO Insect Control Concentrate and their all natural tick shield spritzer.

For more information on these products call Sprinkler Warehouse today at 281-500-9800.

Houston’s Only Hope for Surviving West Nile Virus is Sprinkler Warehouse


mosquito_161848946-01
West Nile is out there my fellow Houstonians. It is out there and it is ready to take us by storm… or swamp or something. To calm my nerves and bring back my hope for the survival of the human race, I decided to sit down and talk to a fellow Sprinkler Warehouse employee about the looming epidemic.

“The good news is that 1% of the population has no possible chance of catching the virus. These candidates are superheroes, ghosts, people who have already caught it and therefore cannot catch it again, vampires and certain  aliens,” stated self-proclaimed West Nile virus expert Jeff Martin. “Everybody else is doomed to have nearly a 100% chance of maybe possibly catching this deadly virus.”

Is There Hope?

Such a high possible chance of maybe catching something deadly sounds very ominous… and quite confusing. So, I decided to ask Mr. Martin more about the possible death of all people living in the Greater Houston area. After several hours of reenacting the birth of a mosquito and the various stages of its life, Mr. Martin finally showed a ray of hope for the human race against these deadly little creatures. “Not all is lost,” he explained. “In the recent years our technology has helped us develop a line of defense against these small, disease spreading, vampire-like creatures. One of the most effective and cost-efficient lines of defense are the products manufactured by Cedarcide.com

Mr. Martin was of course referring to the newly added pest prevention products now available at Sprinkler Warehouse. People living in Houston may finally be able to get a full night sleep now that products such as Cedarcide’s Best Yet & PCO Insect Control Concentrate are available at local Houston store, Sprinkler Warehouse. “One of the greatest things about living in Houston is having the access to these types of West Nile defense systems,” states Martin.

Your Defense:

best yet quart by cedarcide best yet spritzer 2.5 oz skeetobuster1

Martin then went on to talk about a little known product available to sprinkler system owners called Skeetobusters. Basically, Skeetobusters is a pest control system  you can hook up to your irrigation system that builds a barrier of protection against not only mosquitos, but fire ants, ticks, rats, snakes and many other unwanted pests.

The self-proclaimed West Nile expert said that if every homeowner in Houston were to use all of these products, their chances of catching the West Nile virus would be much closer to that of superheroes and certain intellectually advanced alien life forms. Without these products, Martin believes the human race should probably kneel down to the new dominant species to prevent an imminent genocide.

How to Save Us All?

For more information on how you can help save the human race by purchasing these pestigation products, you may contact the excellent customer service/human race defenders at Sprinkler Warehouse. If you’re lucky enough to be living in Houston, you have the option to drive and pick up your products today.dead-mosquito_161850362

Sprinkler Warehouse
8535 Jackrabbit Road Suite A
Houston, TX 77095
281-500-9800
http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com

Is Chikengunya the New West Nile Virus?


New Mosquito Born Disease Threatens Southern States:  Chikungunya

Mosquito’s are an annoying fact of living in the south. And is it not bad enough that when a mosquito bites you that you have to itch and endure the  embarrassment of a red spot on your skin that won’t ever go away quick enough!

chikungunya

Well, get ready to face your fears, because there is a new type of diseased to beware of that has been reported in Caribbean and now in parts of the US. The painful disease called  Chikungunya is making headlines in the Lonestar state and and it is migrating north from the Caribbean to the US.

A level one watch has been issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Victims of the disease suffer a tremendous amount of pain, including flu-like symptoms and joint pain so intense it can make moving the limbs near impossible to move. This pain can go on for weeks or even months. However, the one redeeming quality about the disease is that it is not typically deadly. (Nevertheless it is not anything you wan’t to mess with or catch!)

shutterstock_84547294

Texas and other Southern states are currently advised to beware of disease and mosquito bites in general. Currently there have been over 2000 recorded cases of Chikungunya with even more cases popping up in South America.

Studies are showing that the type of mosquitoes which carry this disease prefer to prey on humans instead of animals and they are more active during the day time instead of the more traditional dawn and dusk patterns of most mosquitoes. Additionally, the mosquitoes carrying this disease thrive in areas like Texas due to the warm climate and temperate winters.

How can we stop this mosquito scourge from growing larger and larger? The answer is to create thousands of tire swings. Well actually the real answer is not so much tire swings as it is to eliminate as many tires from setting around an gathering water as possible. Tires provide a perfect habitat for a mosquito to breed because they trap water inside of them and provide a measure of shelter for the larvae. Other potential breeding grounds include birdbaths, child pools, puddles or  swamp land.

To protect your own home and yard there are a few easy and simple solutions to take:

  1. shutterstock_143416567Get rid of any tires, tarps, or places where water is able to collect and stand.
  2. Keep your grass short and shrubs trimmed back
  3. Apply Cedar oil based repellents using hand sprayers or with an automated sprinkler connected system like this one by Skeetobuster.

How to Create A Backyard Oasis


Do you want to revamp an outdoor space that you have? There are many things that you can do to transform this space for your individual needs and desires. First off you will need to create a budget for yourself, unless you have unlimited funds this will help you decide where to allocate your money.

Create a Theme

Do you want a Spanish villa style, a Bavarian country side retreat, or a desert oasis?

shutterstock_36009838

Decoration Ideas- Hanging Baskets, Living Walls, and Fire Pits!

Make a living wall, this is such a unique feature and are very ‘in’ right now. Check out this tutorial on how to start from scratch!shutterstock_136176932 Hang plant baskets or plant vines can they provide privacy and are very aesthetically pleasing. Plant herbs, they not only taste good, but they smell and look good too!

Have container plants placed around the patio or balcony bring fun plants and colors. Have a fire place or adobe oven for cooking. Not sure how to set up automatice watering for your container and hanging plants? Click here. Even an outdoor kitchen could be a great investment, since everyone gathers in the kitchen it’s natural that they would gather around the outdoor kitchen. My personal favorite is a big, warm bonfire to roast marshmallows around.

 

Necessities for your New Yard

shutterstock_95760046

Make sure you have privacy. If you want to tan nude in your yard, you should be able to!

Comfortable place to sit with friends is very important. A porch, grilling area, comfortable seats, pergola, balcony, fireplace, and if it rains a lot covered seating. Make sure that your furniture is comfortable and  a good size, for those cooler nights it’s nice to cuddle up with a blanket. Also make sure that your deck is adaptable, offering different areas to entertain depending on the weather is crucial.

Games are an essential in every great backyard. Badminton, volleyball, croquet- entertain your guests with a competitive game of badminton or croquet. Pool or a hot tub can not only be a relaxing spot to spend your weekend, but they are also a great place to send your kids when they are bored on summer break. Fountains and ponds are a nice addition, the sound of a fountain is very soothing.

Work with what you have: do you have amazing views? Use it… amazing space? Use it… great grass use it! Just don’t forget to make it fun AND enjoyable.

Flow 2 (1)

Check out our fun infographic for how to create a backyard oasis