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Sprinkler FAQs

We wanted to help out the community by answering some frequently asked questions that we have received from our customers and members. 

My system is stuck on. What is wrong with it, and how to I turn it off?

Try to turn off the system at the controller first. If the system is still running, turn off the water supply located near the meter. If the water supply has to be cut off, there is a mechanical problem with the sprinkler control valve. This can be related to debris or a broken component within the valve itself. For further help or investigation, please contact American Irrigation Repair.

Where do I shut off the water supply to my system?

The backflow preventer is normally the easiest location to shut off the system. This valve is normally located near the water meter in a green rectangular box roughly the same size as a meter box. This box can become overgrown with grass or have soil on top of it. The brass backflow preventer has two shut-off valves on it that can be turned off. Generally these valves should be turned perpendicular to the direction of the pipe to stop the flow. Round Rock, Austin, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Pflugerville and Hutto all require backflow preventers on new systems.

After turning off the water supply, contact American Irrigation Repair to schedule the necessary repair.

What if I cannot find my shut-off and it is on the weekend or after hours?

Water providers typically have 24 hour help lines to help you in case you are unable to turn off your water. Contact your water provider.

How long do I have to wait for you to service my system?

Call as soon as you know you need us. We may run backlogs in the driest parts of the year due to heavy call volume. We always recommend our customers call us before they need to use their system so we can make sure the sprinklers are functioning when you need them most.

Do I have to wait for you to get parts?

Generally we try to complete most small repair jobs on the first visit. We carry parts from most manufacturers on our trucks. Larger, more complex jobs, or jobs with unique parts may require ordering parts or rescheduling the work.

Do you warranty your work?

Yes, please see our guarantee page for more information.

Why do I have big dry areas in my lawn?

Dry spots is one of the most common complaints we receive. Many different problems can be the cause but the most common are clogged sprinkler heads, inappropriate schedule, or broken control valves. A good idea is for you to check the system monthly and make sure the heads have not become clogged with debris or covered with grass. Contact us today for a complete professional inspection.

I’ve fixed my system and still have dry spots. What’s wrong?

Many times we get called back later in the summer after we have inspected and repaired a system with customers noticing dry spots. It is important to remember that the irrigation schedule will need to be substantially updated depending on the weather. Expect to have to apply significantly more water during periods of extreme heat. In turf, under-watering will generally show itself with splotchy areas of dry grass. The lawn will not dry and become stressed in a uniform pattern. Some areas will have poorer soil, rock, or just not get as much coverage as others. Even the best sprinkler systems are generally only about 65% efficient.

My controller runs a cycle, then turns on again. Is the controller bad?

This is one of our most common calls. It is very easy to accidentally set additional start times or have hidden secondary programs in the irrigation controller. When this happens make sure to remove any unwanted start times or programs. Most controllers have up to four programs and four or more start times. It’s very easy for additional start times to become accidentally hidden within the controller. Additionally you can remove the controller battery and let the controller sit without power for a period of time to help clear the memory and reset. Some controllers have a reset button inside the back panel of the controller. If the problem persists, contact American Irrigation Repair for assistance.

My controller is blank or the display shows incorrectly. Does the controller need to be replaced?

Many times the newer electronic controllers will become locked when a power surge, or lightning strike occurs. Perform a hard reset on the controller to make sure that the controller is not locked up. If the controller has a battery backup, remove power and remove the battery. It is imperative that the battery is removed while the a/c power is also removed in order to allow the unit to completely power down. Allow the controller to sit for a few minutes. If the controller has a reset button, depress the reset button while the power is off. After allowing the unit to sit for a few minutes, reconnect the power, and reinstall the battery. If the unit appears to be functioning correctly, the problem may be solved. If the unit continues to not function properly, contact American Irrigation Repair to service the system.

How long should I water?

Generally run times on spray or mister style heads should be between 5-25 minutes, and run times on single or multi stream rotating heads should be 25-75 minutes depending on the season. For more detailed scheduling information contact us today. We would love to recommend a schedule that best suits your lawn once we have evaluating your system.

Cars keep running over my heads, what can be done about it?

We can install updated swing joints into your system to reduce the likelihood of breakage due to vehicular traffic. Contact American Irrigation Repair today to have them installed on your system.

What do I need to do to my system to prepare for winter?

Generally the central Texas weather does not get cold enough to justify any blow-out winterizing of our sprinkler systems. Wrap any exposed metal components with insulation, and keep the system off during freezing weather. We do not recommend a sprinkler system be turned off for the entire winter in Austin Texas area. There are rubber, water lubricated parts on all the control valves, and heads that will become brittle and crack if they are not exercised occasionally. Run the system at least once per month to prevent these issues from arising. American Irrigation Repair LLC offers winter system inspections to be sure the backflow preventers and other components are insulated. Preventative measures can limit the risk of freeze damage.

City of Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Hutto or Pflugerville has mailed me a letter requesting a test of my backflow preventer. What does that mean?

Water providers generally have required backflow preventer tests when the system is installed. Some providers are now requiring tests on a annual basis. Contact American Irrigation Repair today to have a state certified backflow tester out to test your backflow device.

What is a backflow preventer and why do I need one?

The backflow preventer is designed to prevent the dirty irrigation water sitting in the heads from being backsiphoned or sucked back into your house water. Broken city water mains, fire pumper trucks and other things can cause this to become a reality. Because of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides we put on our lawns this water can be very dirty. This is why backflow preventers are needed, and required. For further information or help, please contact American Irrigation Repair today.

My backflow preventer has been a problem several times before, and I am tired of messing with it. Can it just be removed?

The simple answer to this is NO. Backflow preventers are required to promote safe drinking water to all who share the supply. Municipalities such as Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Hutto require backflow preventers to be connected to their water supply. Removal of these devices will trigger disconnection/ fines or both. Contact American Irrigation Repair so we can discuss what changes could be made to keep continued repetitive problems from occurring with your backflow prevention device.

I have city and well service. Can I connect my sprinkler to both, and just have a valve to switch to whichever one I want to use?

No. Municipal water suppliers require a physical separation between well water and the municipal water supply. If your system is not setup accordingly, contact us immediately to correct the connection.

Can I save money by installing a sprinkler system by myself?

American Irrigation Repair has the training, knowledge, and experience to create the most cost-effective and energy-efficient systems. If you try to install a system yourself it will most likely cost you more money in the long run. When designing and installing a system we pay special attention to sprinkler patterns, backflow prevention, and local plumbing and electrical codes. We will install a sprinkler system faster with less disruption to your yard, and we guarantee our work.

Will I have difficulty operating my sprinkler system?

American Irrigation Repair will help you select the best controller for your needs, and we will program it with your customized watering schedule. We will take the time to explain the sprinkler system’s operation to you.

I have a really high water bill. Does this indicate a sprinkler leak?

A high water bill can be a sign of a leak. It’s important to remember that as usage increases water rates typically ramp up exponentially. After the recent droughts water suppliers have drastically increased enforcement for water violators. Operate the system and look for any broken lines, heads, or nozzles that may be immediately obvious. Turn off those affected zones until the appropriate repairs can be made. Make sure the irrigation controller is scheduled as you have intended. One of the most common mistakes is hidden schedules located under alternate programs or start times causing the system to cycle too frequently. American Irrigation Repair is able to perform an complete inspection of your system to locate any leaks or inefficiencies and make the appropriate recommendations for repair or rescheduling.

How much does a sprinkler system cost?

The price of a system depends upon many factors such as property size, type of landscaping, and other factors. American Irrigation Repair will make sure you have the options that are best for your lawn and budget. Contact us to give you a bid on any irrigation work you need!

How much do you charge to repair sprinkler systems?

Please contact us at (512)-943-6080, so that we can properly explain any pricing and better understand your irrigation needs.

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