Join Us at the 2017 Irrigation Show in Orlando!

Show Is Set for November 8-9, Education Conference for November 6-10

Irrigation Show 2017 is the only national trade show designed specifically for irrigation professionals. It’s where the irrigation industry comes together to network, learn and promote irrigation.

Nearly 5,000 distributors, dealers, contractors, consultants and growers are expected to attend this year’s event. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Check out innovative products, technologies and services.show2
  • Explore new suppliers.
  • Learn about the latest business trends and irrigation best practices.
  • Network with current business partners and with industry leaders who share the Ohio Irrigation Association’s commitment to efficient irrigation.

For exhibitor information, including booth space fees, assignment, and 2017 floor plan, click here.

Educational Opportunities

While enjoying sunny Orlando, be sure to attend some of the many irrigation seminars and classes that are offered. You’ll learn concepts and practical skills you can implement immediately.

244IrrigationShow2015LongBeach_boxScheduled classes offer:

  • Real-world applications and irrigation case studies.
  • Current techniques, field-tested information and best practices.
  • Instructors with industry expertise and proven teaching experience.

One-hour seminars will provide detailed coverage on a focused topic in landscape irrigation. Seminars are open to all attendees with a full registration. Participants will earn 1.00 CEU for each hour. This year’s topics will include:

  • Irrigating Green Roofs
  • Pressure Regulation to Improve Irrigation Efficiency
  • Basis of Design
  • Top 5 Employment Law Issues Facing Contractors

For a complete list of irrigation education classesclick here.  For a complete list of irrigation seminarsclick here.

A Proven Winner

Attendance at last year’s Irrigation Show was up double digits. Exhibitor presence was strong, and new product introductions were plenty.

In fact, research of past shows has indicated a strong correlation between show attendance and future sales. Specifically, within 12 months of the show:

  • 77% of the attendees purchased a product or service as a result of contacts made at the show.
  • 90% of the attendees contacted exhibitors met at the show.
  • 90% of the attendees visited exhibitor websites based on information from the show.

Check out this promotional video from last year’s Irrigation Show: 


 Sources:

Irrigation Association

Green Industry Pros

Winterizing a Landscape Irrigation System

(Note: This article originally appeared in SportTurf Magazine)

Winter ImageThe dreary days of November remind us that it’s time to start thinking about preparing your irrigation systems for winter. Water expands when it freezes. Since automatic irrigation systems are usually buried only about twelve inches below the surface of the soil, water left in an irrigation system in freezing climates over the winter, even a mild winter, will certainly freeze — causing damage to pipes, fittings, valves, and sprinklers. Damage caused by a frozen irrigation system can be expensive and time consuming to repair next spring. Preventing winter damage by properly winterizing the irrigation system is important. Using compressed air to force water out of the irrigation system is the most common method of winterization. However, irrigation systems equipped with automatic or manual drain valves do not require compressed air to winterize. Only the installing contractor will know if an irrigation system is equipped with automatic or manual drain valves. If you are not sure what type of irrigation system you are winterizing, then use compressed air. Using compressed air on an irrigation system equipped with automatic or manual drain valves will not harm the components of the irrigation system, and will ensure the irrigation system is properly winterized.

Selecting an Air Compressor

Sulliar 185 Portable Air Compressor

Sulliar 185 Portable Air Compressor

A properly sized air compressor is critical in effectively and efficiently blowing air into the irrigation system, forcing any water out. Air compressors are available in various sizes. The most common portable air compressor, which represents roughly 80% of the portable air compressors going into rental fleets today, is the 185 portable air compressor. This machine is rated at 185 cfm at 100 psi at full load. You can find one through a contractors’ equipment rental shop that is more than adequate to get the job done for most residential and commercial irrigation systems. Smaller 5 h.p. electric air compressors, although capable of delivering 100 psi, are not capable of delivering enough volume of air to adequately winterize an irrigation system.

Compressed Air Winterization

The first step in winterizing an irrigation system is to shut off the water to the irrigation system at the point of connection. The system shut-off valve may be a ball valve or gate valve located in the basement or directly after the water meter. Then open a zone valve to relieve the system pressure. Attach the air hose from the air compressor to the blow-out point. The blow-out point is usually located directly after the backflow device. The blow-out point may be a quick coupling valve, a hose bib, or a boiler drain. In this technical drawing the blow-out connection is the quick-coupling valve located in the valve box.

A note of caution: The expanding air coming from the air compressor into the irrigation system will get hot and may melt the plastic pipe. Carefully check the temperature of the air-hose connection at the blow-out point. Slow down or stop momentarily if it feels too hot! Cycling through each zone two or three times for short intervals will prevent too much heat buildup.

 

Winterizing an irrigation system with compressed air

Air Compressor Settings

Set the pressure regulator on the air compressor at 50 to 80 psi. On smaller residential systems, where the zones are typically about 10 gpm or less, open one electric remote control valve manually and cycle through all the other zones two to three minutes by manually opening each valve or by electrically operating each valve at the controller. Opening one valve manually will help to keep the air com- pressor from building up too much pressure while assuring an adequate volume of air to thoroughly blow out all the water in the sys- tem. On larger systems it may not be necessary to open one valve manually. Allow the air to flow through each zone until water and water vapor no longer appears from any sprinklers in the zone. Start with the zone with the highest elevation in the system or farthest from the point of connection, blowing out each zone successively toward the point of connection. It is a good idea to cycle through each zone two times to ensure there is no water remaining that might settle into a low point in the lateral pipe.

Automatic Drain System Winterization

Although using compressed air is the most common method for winterizing an automatic irrigation system, there are two other types of automatic irrigation systems. The first type is a system equipped with automatic drains. The automatic drains open when the system pressure falls below 10 psi. For these systems it is usually only necessary to turn off the water. Open a drain valve after the point of connection. Prepare the backflow device and controller for winter as noted below. Some irrigation systems incorporate automatic drain valves on the laterals and manual drain valves on the main line. The manual drain valves will be located in small valve boxes at the end and at low points on the main line. Open the drain valves, and allow the water to drain out completely. Then close the drain valve.

Manual Drain System Winterization

An irrigation system equipped with manual drain valves requires you to locate the drain valve for each zone and the main line. The manual drain is usually located in a small valve box at the end of the zone and at every low point. Also, the main line will have a manual drain at the end of the line and at every low point. Open each drain valve, allowing all the water to drain out, and then close the manual drains. Winterize the back- flow device and irrigation controller as noted below.

Backflow Winterization

Backflow Installation Detail

Typical PVB backflow installation.

There are two backflow devices utilized in landscape irrigation systems. The most common is a pressure vacuum breaker. Open the top of the pressure vacuum breaker and remove the internal discs and springs. Storing these components near the irri- gation controller makes them easier to find next spring. Turn the handles on the two ball valves and all test ports to a partially open 45 degree position. Ball valves, when fully closed or fully open, will trap water in between the ball and the valve housing. The valve housing will crack during a freeze if not left partially open.

Some newer pressure vacuum breakers are freeze resistant, with a built-in relief valve to protect the internal components and the body from freezing. It is not necessary to remove the internal components in these devices.

The other type of backflow device used in irrigation system is a reduced pressure principle backflow device, or RPZ. It is usually best to remove this device completely during the winter and store indoors. Then cap the pipes to the irrigation system. If removal of the RPZ back- flow device is not possible, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for winterization. Each manufacturer has specific instructions for winterizing their reduced pressure principle backflow device.

Irrigation Controller and Rain Sensor Winterization

To prepare the irrigation controller for winter, simply turn the contoller to the off or rain shutdown position. You can also disconnect the power and remove the battery but this is not necessary. It is important not to allow the controller to cycle through an irrigation schedule without water in the system because the remote-control valves require water to move through the solenoid assembly to cool the assembly.

If your irrigation system is equipped with a rain sensor or a soil moisture sensor, it is not usually necessary to cover or remove the sensor for the winter. Check with the manufacturer to make sure the sensor does not require any special instructions for win- terization.

Pump Winterization

Submersible pumps, located in a lake or stream, have a check valve at the pump which needs to be removed to make certain the discharge hose does not freeze. It is adviseable to simply remove the pump and discharge hose from water each winter, reinstalling it in the spring.

Centrifigal pumps have a drain valve located at the base of the pump housing that needs to be removed and stored for the winter. The power supply for the pump should also be disconnect- ed to prevent the pump from being accidentally turned on with- out any water. A pump running without water will quickly burn up. Additionally, if the pump is drawing water from a lake or stream, the intake hose has a foot valve located at the base of the suction line. So it is necessary to remove the intake or suction line completely from the water and store it for the winter. Sometimes a check valve is also located on the discharge side of the pump. This check valve needs to be removed and stored for the winter.

Preparing an irrigation system for winter can be a complicated process. A knowledgeable professional is essential to minimize freezing water damage. An improperly winterized irrigation system can be an expensive proposition next spring.

Internet-Based Smart Irrigation Systems

Internet-based smart irrigation system technology is rapidly expanding throughout the industry, particularly for residential usage.web-based

Internet-based smart irrigation system technology is even featured in Forbes magazine, “Tired Of Wasting Water With That Dumb Sprinkler? Meet The Smart Sprinkler Controller.” This irrigation system technology allows residential users to control and monitor their sprinkler systems from anywhere in the world using a web browser or iPhone/Android app. It also uses the homeowner’s wireless internet (wifi) to access a live stream from nearby weather stations.  As a result, residential users are provided with real-time weather data, without the need to install a personal weather station or rain sensor.

lawn1Using adaptive algorithms to generate custom and dynamic watering schedules from this weather data, the smart controller automatically determines the optimal watering schedule for the irrigation site. The system automatically adjusts watering cycles, duration and frequency for optimal results in any weather condition. Some smart controllers will even take into consideration local watering restrictions.

swat_logoWeb-based irrigation systems are certifiable through both the EPA’s WaterSense program and the Irrigation Association’s Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT) testing.  For a comparison of WaterSense and SWAT testing protocols, click here.

Let’s take a look at some of the web-based irrigation systems currently available…


Skydrop

Skydrop’s WiFi-based smart controller entered the market in September of 2014. The company is based in Lehi, Utah, and promotes its product as helping residential users to abide by local watering restrictions. (“Don’t be a lawn bandit, and don’t risk hefty fines.”) According to Skydrop, the typical homeowner can install and set up its controller in less than 30 minutes.

Malibu-GardenIn addition to using real-time weather data, the Skydrop smart controller also measures soil moisture to determine how much water the landscape is losing.  Like most other internet-based systems, the Skydrop device is programmed by zone according to soil type, plant type, sprinkler type, slope and shape. The  Skydrop controller can also be integrated with other smart home systems such alarm controllers, solar heating/cooling, and outdoor lighting.

logo-90The controller includes a “cycle and soak” feature to eliminate or reduce runoff when landscapes are sloped. The company claims that watering each zone separately and only when required results in an average reduction in water usage of 35%. The Skydrop smart controller has qualified for the EPA’s WaterSense® Certification, yet the company does not plan to pursue SWAT testing at this time.

The Skydrop controller operates eight zones plus a master valve/pump, and is expandable to 16 zones with an expansion unit. The retail price for the Skydrop 8-zone controller is around $300, and the expansion unit retails for $50.


Hydrawise (Hunter Industries)

flowerHydrawise was recently purchased by Hunter Industries. The Hydrawise smart controller provides interactive online reporting and alerts that allow the user to view water usage for each watering cycle or the water flow rate at any time. Email alerts notify the user of water flows (e.g., due to a broken pipe or faulty valve) when no zone is currently running. Alerts can also be configured when the water usage for an irrigation zone changes by more than 10% (such as, from broken spray heads or faulty wiring).

Hydrawise2ColorTrim260Hydrawise is one of the products which does not require port forwarding on the user’s router in order to control the irrigation system from anywhere in the world. Rather, wireless functionality is provided inside the controller; the user enters a wireless password on the controller itself.

hydrawiseAccording to Chris Foster, Midwest Sales Manager for Hunter, the Hydrawise system utilizes Cloud technology, allowing the residential user and support technician to “meet in the cloud,” thereby preventing any potential security risks.  “Hydrawise is fourth-generation technology,” he said.

The Hydrawise controller is available in 6- or 12-zone models; expansion modules allow an individual system to be expanded up to 36 zones. The product is WaterSense certified and was the winner of  The Australian Backyard Innovation Challenge in 2015. Hydrawise has not been SWAT tested. Pricing is available through a Hunter distributor.

According to Michael White, Vice President of Turf & Landscape Sales for Automatic Irrigation Supply, one of the best features of the Hydrawise system is the professional support that is now available through Hunter Industries.


Cyber Rain

The Cyber Rain smart controller is manufactured by Israel-based Galcon, which is owned by Kibbutz Kfar Blum.  According to the company, Cyber Rain was the very first central irrigation product to earn the EPA WaterSense certification (in 2012). It also claims that the Cyber Rain controller can reduce water costs by up to 40% annually. Cyber Rain is SWAT approved.

LogoCyberRain1Cyber Rain supplies a small device called an “Access Point” that is plugged into a router so that the controller can access the internet using Cloud technology. The Access Point communicates with an unlimited number of Cyber Rain controllers through its own two-way wireless network. The standard radio can communicate up to 200 feet, while the longer-range radio can reach up to two miles with the optional antenna.

downloadCyber Rain offers a Smart Scheduling Wizard to set up the water-wise irrigation schedule customized to the particular landscape. For zones with dense soil or on a slope, for instance, the Cyber Rain smart controller offer a cycle and soak feature to avoid run-off.

Controllers are available in 8-, 16- and 24-zone models. (The optional antenna can be attached to increase range.) Prices for the residential systems range from $500 to $600.  Professional installation is not required for the residential systems, but appears to be recommended.


Rachio

Rachio introduced its first product (“Iro”) in 2014; Iro is an intelligent irrigation controller that is powered by Rachio’s cloud-based software.  It an be rachio-logo-for-web-300px (1)controlled either through a web-based dashboard or through an intuitive Android or iPhone app. During setup, the homeowner’s smartphone sends a signal to the Iro, connecting it to the internet through a WiFi network. It then communicates with Rachio’s cloud-based software. The company claims that installation and setup take less than 30 minutes with no special tools or expertise required.

The Iro will automatically check the local weather forecast and issue adjustments based on evapotranspiration and precipitation data to match soil moisture depletion. The Iro also learns from the customer’s adjustments over time. As a result, users can personalize the balance between water use and the level of plant health in each zone.

Irrigation-Flowers013Iro’s Smart Cycle will automatically schedule cycle and soak irrigation events to eliminate or reduce runoff when landscapes are sloped and/or the infiltration rate of the soil is less than that of the precipitation rate of the nozzle for the given zone. A virtual rain sensor will suspend irrigation events if rain is forecasted within the next 24 hours.

Iro controllers are available in 8-zone ($199) and 16-zone ($249) models. The Iro system has received the EPA’s WaterSense certification. Rachis is SWAT tested and has earned the prestigious EPA WaterSense label for irrigation efficiency.

Comparison of Residential Web-Based Smart Irrigation Controllers

 SkydropHydrawiseCyber RainRachio
SmartPhone CompatibleYesYesYesYes
Ipad/PC CompatibleYesYesNoYes
Android CompatibleYesYesYesYes
Uses Real-time Weather DataYesYesYesYes
Provides Online ReportingYesYesYesYes
Uses Cloud TechnologyYesYesYesYes
WaterSense CertifiedYesYesYesYes
SWAT TestedYesNoYesYes
Do-It-Yourself InstallationYesNo
YesYes
Professional SupportNoYesNoYes
Interfaces with Other Home SystemsYesYesNoYes
Includes Cycle and Soak FeatureYesYesYesYes
No. of Zones Available8, 166, 12*8, 168, 16
Price$299.99-$348.99 $260.00-$310.00$499.00-$599.00$199.00-$249.00

*May be expanded up to 36 zones.


The Future

Having recently attended a trade function focused on what water management will look like in the year 2065, Automatic Irrigation’s Michael White firmly believes that the web-based systems are crucial to allowing homeowners to be better stewards of water resources.  “Twenty-five years from now, water will cost much more than it does today,” he said. Consequently, “These new systems are good for the consumer and they’re good for the industry.”

(Editor’s note: Rachio’s data was corrected and updated from the original post based on additional information provided by the manufacturer.)


Sources:

U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation, “Weather- and Soil Moisture-Based Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Devices”

“Using Your Smarts” With Smart Irrigation Controllers Featuring JC Wheaton

Lawn & Landscape January 2016 CoverJ.C. Wheaton, President of the Ohio Irrigation Association and manager of Centerville Irrigation in Ohio, was recently featured in Lawn & Landscape’s article entitled, “Total Control.” Smart Irrigation controllers are the next step in the efficient use of water in the landscape.

J.C. was interviewed about Smart Irrigation Controllers, calling the new technology “the responsible thing to do.”

JC Wheaton Head & ShouldersWheaton’s company installs a controller with a smart sensor, capable of sensing local weather conditions. The sensor then automatically alerts the controller to the current conditions, eliminating the need for human manipulation.  This is something customers appreciate, because “it saves them from either having to go to the box themselves or calling us for a return trip,” Wheaton said.

One-Stop Service

Customers also love the fact that the system is a “one-stop” service that automatically adjusts to the temperature.   “They don’t have to go out three times or four times a season to adjust everything.”  He considers this the system’s strongest selling point for new customers.  “You’re saving them the hassle with keeping the property the way they want,” he said.

While Wheaton admits that the smart controller system costs more than a traditional controller (still less than $100), he believes the energy and water savings make it a much better long-term deal.

More Commercial Use Needed

commerical-sprinklersWhich is one reason he hopes commercial architects and designers will jump on board to maximize efficiency of their designs.  Right now, the smart controller systems are not very well stocked on commercial projects, and that’s resulting in poor efficiency.  “You see them all the time running in the rain, no matter what town you’re in,” Wheaton says. “Running too long, running in the gutter…because they were not put in correctly with the right components.”

The Down Side?

One of the potential drawbacks to the smart controller system is losing control of when the zones are running. “You’re basically turning that over to the clock to make those decisions, which isn’t always a bad thing. But sometimes the homeowner or resident wants to know their irrigation schedule and you can’t necessarily tell them that,” Wheaton said.

Companies will also see fewer mid-season service calls. Contractors who are concerned about that are probably not the type who will benefit from using the smart control system, Wheaton said.  “It’s about the efficiency of getting the best product to your customer. Those callbacks can be used other ways, such as zoning and monthly business checks.”


Source:

Lawn & Landscape, http://www.lawnandlandscape.com/article/total-control/

 

Every Drop Counts…July Is Smart Irrigation Month

water

It’s that time of year again…July is Smart Irrigation Month and, as usual, there are many ways  for businesses and consumers to participate in the campaign.

First launched in 2005, Smart Irrigation Month continues to gain traction each year as consumers and irrigation specialists alike recognize the positive impact efficient irrigation and water use provides to all of us.

Give this a try!

Place a few empty tuna cans around your lawn while you’re watering and measure how long it takes your sprinkler to fill them with a half inch of water. Then, try watering that amount of time twice a week, gauge how your landscape responds, and adjust based on weather conditions. Or simplify by replacing your standard clock timer controller with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller.

Smart Systems

Among the strategies being presented to consumers, first and foremost is proper programming of automatic watering or sprinkler systems to deliver just the right amount of water at the right time. Additional strategies include:

  • smartProper landscaping, keeping soil healthy, mulching and routine landscape maintenance
  • Investing in an irrigation system that uses the best, most flexible, components, has “smart” controls, and meets code requirements
  • Watering during the evening and early morning to prevent evaporation, taking soil type and sprinkler placement into consideration
  • Maintaining the sprinkler system regularly by adjusting sprinkler heads, repairing leaks and monitoring pressure

WaterSense

According the the EPA’s WaterSense website, adopting water–savvy habits also is essential to maintaining and extending our communities’ water supplies, especially during peak use. WaterSense partners with manufacturers, retailers/distributors, and utilities to bring high-performing, water-efficient products to the marketplace. WaterSense also partners with professional certifying organizations to promote water–efficient landscape irrigation practices. Since the program began in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save a total of 1.5 trillion gallons of water, resulting in more than $32.6 billion in water and energy bill savings.

Smart Ideas

Since July is the peak month for water consumption, the national Smart Irrigation campaign is encouraging industrial firms and professionals to promote smart irrigation practices and technologies, as well.   Here are some of the many  “Smart Ideas” to promote the national campaign that are listed on the Irrigation Association website:

  • SIM_LogoAdd the Smart Irrigation Month logo to your web site, ads, customer presentations, field signs, invoices and more.
  • Submit a press release or letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Ask employees to add the Smart Irrigation Month logo to their e-mail signature block.
  • Hand out Smart Irrigation Month bumper stickers at your next contractor meeting.
  • Host a live demonstration of water-saving irrigation technologies, in the field or at your location.
  • Feature water-efficient products and services in displays, ads, promotions and product demos with the Smart Irrigation Month logo.
  • Use a banner, outside signage or counter sign to encourage customers to ask about how smart irrigation can save water and money.
  • Smart Irrigation Controller RebateMake smart irrigation the theme of sales calls.
  • Stick a Smart Irrigation Month label on every box that goes out the door.
  • Give awards to customers and/or business partners who promote water-efficient practices.
  • Volunteer to speak to a local homeowner association, garden club or civic group.
  • Distribute copies of the Smart Irrigation Month coloring book at a farmers market or county fair.
  • Ask your local radio station to play a public service announcement, promoting July as Smart Irrigation Month.

What are YOU doing to promote Smart Irrigation Month?  Remember…Every Drop Counts!


Sources:

Irrigation Association, http://www.irrigation.org/Resources/SmartIrrigationMonth/SmartIdeas.aspx

EPA WaterSense,  https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/efficient.html

 

 

Ohio CENTS Show Offers Irrigation Training Classes

Here is the schedule of irrigation training classes at the 2016 Cents Show In Columbus, Ohio January 11-13

The 2016 CENTS Show offers seven technical irrigation training classes at this year’s show. From water conservation to trouble shooting irrigation controllers, the CENTS Show has an extensive list of irrigation classes.

Below is a list of the training classes being offered

Click here for the complete schedule

Water Conservation and Cost Savings

11 Jan 2016
10:30 am – 11:30 am
C226
Scott Knowles

Scott KnowlesSaving water is a hot topic in many drought stressed parts of the nation. Lack of water is a very good reason irrigation systems must monitor and reduce water usage.

Even in the Midwest, where abundant water is more often the issue, owners of irrigation systems want to save the precious resources and money via Smart irrigation practices.

The Irrigation Association is leading the way to help consumers and green industry professionals understand water conservation. Smart Irrigation is a slogan and a category of vitally useful products and practices that can save 35-40% of the water “normal” irrigation systems and practices use.

Come learn to use Smart Irrigation practices and products as a money-making opportunity that provides your clients cost reduction and environmental benefits.

Sponsored by: The Wolf Creek Company

2016 Landscape & Irrigation Industry Trends

Capture the Growth

Tom Barrett PortraitTom Barrett will keynote the Ohio Irrigation Association’s Annual Meeting.

6:00 pm, Monday, January 11, 2016 – at the Ohio Irrigation Association’s Annual Meeting

Well known throughout the landscape industry, Tom Barrett,  has a reputation of being an innovator and accomplished corporate growth and change agent.Tom’s presentations empower people to become masters of change, rather than victims of circumstance by developing tools for transformative thinking.

Sponsored by: Hunter, Rain Bird & Toro

Irrigation Pipe Connections

12 Jan 2016 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm ONLA Garage, Hall E

How to make the common pipe connections for a landscape irrigation system.  Most consider pipe connections simple and easy, but there are some things to know to make long lasting connections that won’t fail in the future.  We’ll cover the tips to successfully make common pipe connections.

Sponsored by: Ohio Irrigation Association

Irrigation Trouble Shooting-Controller Repair

12 Jan 2016 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm ONLA Garage, Hall E

When my irrigation won’t come on where do I start looking for the problem? Is it the controller? Are the stations off, run times off or is there a mechanical problem?

Sponsored by: Century Equipment

Making Irrigation Wire Splices

13 Jan 2016 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm ONLA Garage, Hall E

Wire connections tend to be the most common electrical problem for a landscape irrigation system.  Several  easy and inexpensive wire connectors exist to help contractor make good field wire splices.  We’ll examine the most common and show how to use them.  Will also talk about the Best Practices to make a good wire connection.

Sponsored by: Ohio Irrigation Association

Irrigation Trouble Shooting-Hydraulics (Tues)

12 Jan 2016 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm ONLA Garage, Hall E

Why do some stations come on and others do not? Is there a hydraulic problem or an electrical problem? Learn the difference in open and closed valves.

Sponsored by: Century Equipment

Irrigation Wire Path Diagnostics

11 Jan 2016 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm ONLA Garage, Hall E

How to quickly determine the nature of irrigation field wire problems using a multi-meter at the controller will be demonstrated.  A time saving method to find out what issues are present on the field wiring before hunting for issues around the property.  Participants will receive a chart of possible problems and shown how to use a multi-meter to with the chart.

Sponsored by: Ohio Irrigation Association

Irrigation Trouble Shooting-Hydraulics (Mon)

11 Jan 2016 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm ONLA Garage, Hall E

Why do some stations come on and others do not? Is there a hydraulic problem or an electrical problem? Learn the difference in open and closed valves.

Sponsored by: Century Equipment

Irrigation Controller Tips to Reduce Customer Call Backs

With A Few Simple Steps for Irrigation Controller Programming You Can Reduce Your Customer Calls

 

‘I Just Want a Green Lawn’

Lawn Irrigation Spray HeadMost homeowners with an automatic lawn sprinkler system simply exclaim, “I just want a green lawn.” However, operating and maintaining a home irrigation system can be a challenge. Today’s solid state programmable irrigation controllers easily exceed most of our customers’ willingness to program them.

A far too familiar story when a client calls with a request for irrigation controller help, typically goes as follows:

I wanted to water my lawn more because it was turning brown. I went into my irrigation timer and set station one to run for thirty minutes starting at midnight on start time number one. I then went to station two and set that station to run for thirty minutes starting at 12:30 am on start time number two. I did this up through station number eight but when I get to station number nine I cannot find start time for number nine. What gives here? I thought this was a ‘smart’ timer and what is all this A, B, C, D program stuff?

It is easy to understand client frustrations with the wide range of options available on today’s solid state irrigation controllers. There is an over whelming number of choices. The simplest controllers come with a thirty-six page manual and a rapid start guide. The manuals of the more complex controllers have over one hundred pages.

Hunter Residential Irrigation Timer Rain Bird Residential Irrigation Timer It is easy to forget, most homeowner simply want a green lawn. They had an irrigation system installed to save them time. Their comfort level with automatic control systems starts and stops with the thermostat in their home heating and air conditioning system. It is not that they can not learn how to program a controller, it is that they do not want to learn how to program a controller.

Remember, most homeowners simply want a green lawn. They had an irrigation system installed to save them time and money. Their comfort level with automatic control systems starts and stops with the thermostat in their home heating and air conditioning system. It is not that they can not learn how to program a controller, it is that they do not want to learn how to program a controller.

Back to Basics

Toro Residential Irrigation TimerGoing back to basics is often the easiest way. Forget about complex programming, forget about water budgets, forget about programs A, B, C,and D. We simply want a green lawn. There are four basic elements present in all irrigation controller programs:

1. Rain Bird Residential Irrigation TimerToday’s date and time

2. A start time

3. A run time

4. Days of the week to water

Seven Steps to Setting Any Automatic Irrigation Controller

Step 1 – Set the current date.

Step 2 – Set the current time of day.

Step 3 – Select the program A, B, C or D.

(Select Program ‘A’ unless you have a more complex watering program. Program ‘D’ is usually reserved for drip zones.)

Step 4 – Set the cycle start time.

(An irrigation cycle is a complete sequencing of each station that has time set to run. Each program being used must have a cycle start time set.)

Step 5 – Set the run time for each station.

(Every station must have a run time set in order to water. Typically stations with spray heads are set to run ten minutes. Stations with rotors are set to thirty minutes. Setting a station’s run time to zero will stop any watering from occurring.)

Step 6 – Set the Days of the Week to Water

(Typically an irrigation system will run three times a week but you may live in an area that has watering restrictions, i.e. odd/even water days or you may live in an area with sandy soil that may require more frequent watering.)

Step 7 – Set the irrigation controller to Auto Run.

It really is that simple. If it rains, and the system is not equipped with a rain shut off device, turn the controller off for a couple of days.

Irritrol Residential Irrigation Timer

Keep It Simple

Technology does not save water; people save water. Technology does not want a green lawn; people want a green lawn. Keeping your controller programming simple and straight forward will save you time, money, and headaches.

For Additional Information

Here are links to the major irrigation controller manufacturers’ websites:

Rain Bird Residential Irrigation Timer

Hunter

Irritrol

Rain Bird

Toro

Weathermatic

Specifications for Soil Moisture Sensors Being Developed by EPA WaterSense

Soil Moisture Sensors – The Most Effective Way to Irrigate

Rain Bird Soil Moisture SensorSoil moisture–based control technologies water plants based on their needs by measuring the amount of moisture in the soil and tailoring irrigation schedules accordingly. Studies suggest that soil moisture sensors can result in water savings of at least 20 percent, potentially saving millions of gallons of water across the country. Soil moisture–based control technologies that earn the WaterSense label will take the guesswork out of watering and help improve irrigation system efficiency.

As an alternative to convention irrigation controllers, soil moisture-based control technologies make irrigation schedule adjustments by automatically tailoring the amount and frequency and timing of irrigation events based on the moisture content of the soil in the landscape.

WaterSense has issued its Notice of Intent to develop a specification for soil moisture–based control technologies. If you are interested in participating in developing the specification for  soil moisture-based control technology Click Here to send your comments to the EPA WaterSense Program.

Approved Weather-based Irrigation Controller Specification

Watermark Soil Moisture Control SystemSoil moisture-based control is designed to work in conjunction with the WaterSense Weather-based Irrigation Controller Specification. Replacing a standard irrigation controller with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller can save an average home nearly 8,800 gallons of water annually. If every home in the United States with an automatic sprinkler system installed and properly operated a WaterSense labeled controller, we could save $435 million in water costs and 120 billion gallons of water across the country annually from not overwatering lawns and landscapes. That’s equal to the annual household water needs of nearly 1.3 million average American homes.

Earning the WaterSense Label

To earn the WaterSense label, landscape irrigation controllers must be able to adequately meet the watering needs of a landscape without overwatering. As with all other WaterSense labeled products, WaterSense labeled controllers will be independently certified to ensure that they meet the WaterSense criteria for efficiency and performance.

About the EPA WaterSense Program

EPA Watersense Product LogoWaterSense, a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services.

WaterSense brings together a variety of stakeholders to:

  •  Promote the value of water efficiency.
  • Provide consumers with easy ways to save water, as both a label for products and an information resource to help people use water more efficiently.
  • Encourage innovation in manufacturing.
  • Decrease water use and reduce strain on water resources and infrastructure.

The program seeks to help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance. Products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance.

Upgrading to more efficient WaterSense labeled products can help us to save billions of gallons of water in the country every year. Something as simple as twisting on a WaterSense labeled aerator and upgrading to a WaterSense labeled faucet could save a household 11,000 gallons over the life of the faucet. Learn more about how you can save water and help WaterSense preserve and protect our nation’s water resources.