July Smart Irrigation Month6

Did you know that July is Smart Irrigation Month, started by The Irrigation Association? It has national recognition, endorsed by Congress, manufacturers, utilities, cities and states across the United States.
How can you make your system more efficient?

  1. Install a Rachio controller
  2. Conduct a system checkup.
  3. Raise sunken sprinklers. Correct heads out of alignment.
  4. Retrofit standard spray bodies with pressure regulated versions.
  5. Prune shrubs that are blocking irrigation sprays and rotors. Move heads where necessary.
  6. Convert spray zones in beds to drip irrigation. Rain Bird manufactures its 1800 Retro head. You can screw on caps to other existing heads.
  7. Add mulch to decrease soil moisture evaporation
  8. Check for pipe leaks. Check your water meter. Is it spinning when no water is running? If the red dial is spinning, you have a leak. You will probably need a licensed plumber.
  9. Remove Rain Bird VAN nozzles. They use double the amount of water as fixed spray nozzles. Replace with fixed arc nozzles. If adjustable nozzles are needed, install Rain Bird HE-VAN nozzles or Hunter adjustable nozzles, which have a similar output as Hunter fixed arc nozzles.

Here is the website for Smart Irrigation Month: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.irrigation.org/IA/Resources/Smart-Irrigation-Month/Consumers/IA/Resources/Consumers.aspx%3Fhkey%3D0b9bcbcb-a8b5-4cf5-ae04-eda0b2679281&ved=2ahUKEwjI_fC2xvHbAhV5GzQIHdFrCD4QFjACegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw2FQ6dWikJgg8hreTISeNw2


Thanks for the info! You’re obviously preaching to the choir, but I want to highlight #3 and #5. They don’t get enough credit, but they are no-cost (for a homeowner) measures that made a huge difference in the quality of my landscape last year and reduced my watering times, even before I purchased a Rachio.

Yep, but there are still people that think a smart controller can perform miracles on a poorly installed or maintained system.
There are many, many cases where Rachio owners are smarter than so-called irrigation professionals. Example: recent Rachio flow sensor install pictures.


This has been my neglected project that I have been working on…I have a number of heads that have sunk over the years, and oddly some of the sprinklers are shorter 3" bodies. Slightly longer riser nipple for the sunken bodies and replace shorter 3" with 4" and all is good.

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How do you raise sunken sprinklers? Dig it up and pack dirt under it?

Usually when you dig below the body there is a little bit of slack in the feeder line and you can gently tug to raise the body. This is one of those things the manuals will tell you not to do but everyone does anyway. Then replace the dirt, pack it in, and replace the sod.

If they are too deep or if the head isn’t easy to pull you will need to buy cutoff-style extenders with the correct male & female ends. If you have to unscrew the body you should remove the sprinkler head and flush it out. Of course, with a Rachio you can start and stop the system without walking back to the controller!


Thanks! How do you know when a sprinkler head is too low? I definitely have some that seem to be a bit further down then others that are more flat with the ground. Of course, based off my grass height, some of just below grass height and some of a bit further down.

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The point: irrigation systems need constant observation for problems.


You typically want them right at the level of the dirt, that way they stay safe from the mowers, but the head can get above the grass. I always install 4" pop-ups, but a lot of resi installers like to use shorter 3", or I’ve seen even 2".

As for how I raise them, I just add a longer riser nipple to the bottom, but then again, mine are all installed on hardline PVC with no swing joints, so I don’t have any give in mine…