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Choosing an Irrigation Contractor

The success of your irrigation system depends largely on the contractor you choose to install it.

A contractor’s expertise and specialized skills are crucial in determining your system’s efficiency and long-term reliability. In fact, how your irrigation system is designed and installed will make the difference between a system that is reliable and keeps your lawn green and healthy, and one that is troublesome, wastes water and leaves your lawn looking brown and unhealthy. It’s a big decision, but choosing the right contractor isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Here are a few tips that will help you select a contractor who will guarantee a job well done.

What to expect
An efficient, well-organized contractor will be happy to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed choice. First, the contractor will want to view your property in order to determine soil conditions, water sources and pressure, planting materials, etc. He then will present a formal estimate detailing what he plans to do and the total price for materials and installation. Along with the estimate, the contractor should clearly explain all the specifics to you. There should be little disruption to existing foliage, and the average job should take less than a week.

Questions to ask
The best contractors will encourage you to ask a lot of questions. By asking questions, you will know exactly what you will be getting for your money and what to expect from your new sprinkler system. Here are a few important questions too get you started.

  • What type of product will be used and why? He should tell you what type of controller, valves and rotors or spray heads are best for your landscape.
  • Is after-sale service provided? A professional contractor should be willing and able to provide after-sale service.
  • Is there a warranty on the system? His work should be guaranteed; a one-year warranty is typical. Also, be sure to ask him for names and telephone numbers of satisfied customers.

You get what you pay for

When choosing a contractor, you should be wary of those who offer to charge you significantly less than other contractors. Low bidders often use cost-cutting techniques that can jeopardize your lawn and shorten the life of your system.

Watch out for these commonly used tricks of the trade:

  • Not including a backflow preventer, which is required by local codes (usually) to protect your drinking water supply.
  • Installing sprinklers too far apart, which makes it impossible for certain areas to receive enough water and causes brown spots during the hot summer months.
  • Mixing sprinklers with different application rates on the same line, which causes one area to be overwatered in order to sufficiently water another.
  • Not using special watertight connectors and a protective valve box to safeguard the electrical elements, guard against short circuits and prevents corrosion

Confidence Counts
You should choose a contractor you can trust and with whom you feel comfortable. A sprinkler system is a complex network of pipes, valves, electrical connections and sprinkler heads. Because it serves as the circulation system for your yard, the design and installation of your sprinkler system are critical to its success. It’s a complicated process requiring a host of equipment, as well as a background in landscape design and hydraulics. That is why it is so important to have a professional design and install your system.

(information provided by Rainbird Corporation)

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