The most common questions we have heard over the years are a form of this one: “I want to cut corners to save money, please reassure me that I can do this without problems.” Well, the answer is that if you cut corners you will have problems. Maybe a yellow patch of lawn or a few dead plants. Maybe a low-cost part will fail just after the warranty expires, rather than lasting many years. Remember once it’s in the ground it is not at all easy to repair or rework an irrigation system. So the answer to the question really comes back to you, are you willing to live with less than great results just to save 10-20%? If so, then you’re good. If not, don’t cut corners.
Here are a few suggestions for getting good, accurate answers to your questions.
The best place to start if you have a question is with a search of this website. There are over 25 full tutorials/articles here on everything from how to design a simple drip system to how to repair an electric valve. Looking for more obscure information? How about tutorials on irrigation for windy locations, watering on steep slopes, trouble-shooting weird water noises, how to tune-up an old sprinkler system, and much, much more. The answers to most common questions really are here if you look!
Please don’t give up without trying a search! If your first search doesn’t give you what you are looking for try using different wording for your search, experiment a little with synonyms. Skim through a few of the articles suggested by the search, the search engine is pretty good at figuring this out. You may discover the answers are in there even if the page title or description doesn’t sound like what you are looking for. Remember that like all trades irrigation has it’s own “language” so the word or term you think makes sense may be totally wrong. (Check out the Glossary of Irrigation Terms for help.)
ARE YOU DESIGNING A NEW IRRIGATION SYSTEM? If so, have you read through the tutorials on How to Design a Sprinkler System or How To Design a Drip System? You will actually save money if you do this right, and these tutorials will show you how. These tutorials have been online since 1997 and modified over and over based on hundreds of questions users have had, so they cover almost everything!
Here are sources for free help when you need an answer or help about a product.
The big name products that dominate Home Improvement Stores:
- Orbit Irrigation Products. 800-488-6156
- Hunter Irrigation Products. 760-591-7383
- Rainbird Irrigation Products. 1-800-RAINBIRD
- Toro Irrigation Products. 1-800-348-2424
- Zurn/Wilkins 877-222-5356 (Call them for backflow preventer questions. They will help you with questions regarding any brand.)
- Bermad Irrigation Control Valves. 1-(559) 791-1314
- PumpBiz.com 800-786-7249 (For pump related questions visit their website or call them. They will help with questions regarding any brand of pump or pump control equipment like panels, pressure switches, low flow protection, etc.. Tell them your flow and pressure needs and they will recommend specific pumps for you by brand name and model too!)
Other Sources of Help:
Local store or nursery.
Most of the employees at general hardware stores and those big-box home-improvement centers are not very knowledgeable about irrigation. Every once in a while a store will manage to hire a retired industry pro who has a good level of irrigation knowledge, but that is rare as most of those guys can make a lot more money working elsewhere. The bottom line is don’t expect good advice. Every pro in this industry seems to have a horror story of overhearing terrible advice being shared with an unsuspecting customer by a big-box store employee. The “expert” in the irrigation department today may be an “expert” in the paint department tomorrow!
It all depends on who answers your question. Sometimes pros answer questions posted on forums, but most pros make a living from their knowledge and forums give them nothing in return for their time. So you see few true pros there unless they are pushing a specific product or service they sell. Unfortunately like the advice in the stores, a lot of answers on forums are wrong. Look for broad agreement of many persons on an answer.
Remember, most answers are here on this website if you look. Thanks again!