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How to Set and Calibrate Your Irrigation System

Upbeat string music. Video on screen illustrates written instructions.
1. Set the frequency of watering by programming the system to turn on or off on select days. This depends on soil types.
Sand/sandy loams should be 2-3 days/week.
Loams and clays should be 1-2 days/week. 2. Adjust how long the system will run for each zone in your yard. Aim for 1 inch/week total, adding more in weeks of extreme heat. Do not apply less than .25 inches at once, adjusting to equal a total application of 1 inch each week. Calibrate your system to determine the correct length of time needed. Calibrating your sprinkler system is important to maintain lawn health, conserve water and confirm your sprinklers are distributing the correct amount of water consistently and evenly. Before beginning, be sure you know which sections of your lawn are in which sprinkler zones. Lawn with sprinklers on – zone 1 is marked followed by zone 2. Purple background with white writing:
And remember that water pressure can vary depending on the time of day, so calibrate your sprinkler at your scheduled irrigation time (usually early in the morning). Video resumes coordinating with instructions.
1. In a random pattern, lay out 6-10 straight-sided containers (like cat food cans) in each irrigation zone. 2. Turn on sprinklers for a set amount of time (ex. 15 minutes). 3. Turn off sprinklers and collect the cans, being careful not to spill any water. 3. Check for inconsistencies which could indicate that a broken or misaligned sprinkler head is preventing uniform coverage. 3. Measure the amount in each can. Or combined water, measure total and divide by number of cans. 4. Add together the measured amounts from each can and divide by th enumber of cans to find how much water is put out by the system. In this example: ((.25*8)+.05+0)/10=
1/4″ water applied in 15 minutes. Most lawns require 1″ of water per week, but the amount applied at one time varies by soil type.
0.3-.35″=extremely coarse soil
.5″=sandy or sandy loam
1″=loam, clay or clay loam 7. Adjust your run time settings to meet your watering goals. 3. Decide what time of the day your system will start. It’s best to have all zones irrigated by 5AM, especially when using municipal water to avoid peak usage times and conserve water. Visual of adjusting irrigation times. It is important to only water when needed. Excess irrigation can be detrimental to the health of your plants, increase wear and tear on irrigation system and carry pollutants to local waterways. Most controllers can be fitted with a rain sensor to prevent the system from operating during rainfall. Check your owner’s manual to find out what smart irrigation accessories are compatible with your system. Other irrigation controllers offer the same levels of customization. Be sure to read the manual and make adjustments to apply the correct amount of water at the right times. Closing graphic: white Clemson paw on orange background.

One Comment

  1. Spartanburg Water Author

    Easy to follow, informative video walking you through how to program your irrigation system so that you aren't under- or over-watering your lawn.


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