Choosing an Irrigation Contractor

A Very Important Decision

The success of your irrigation system depends largely on the contractor you choose to design and install it. A contractor's expertise and skills will affect your system's efficiency and reliability. In fact, how your irrigation system is designed and installed will make the difference between a system that continues to keep your lawn healthy and green, and one that creates problems by wasting water and leaving your lawn unhealthy and brown. Choosing the right contractor is a big decision, but it is not as difficult as you may think. 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, and planting materials. He will then present a formal estimate detailing what he plans to do and the total price for design, materials, and installation. Along with the estimate, the contractor should clearly explain all the project specifics. Generally, 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 many questions. By asking questions, you will know what type of sprinkler system you are getting for your money and what to expect from your new system. Here are a few important questions to consider:

  • What type of product will be used and why? A professional should tell you what type of controller, valves, rotors, or spray heads are best for your landscape.
  • Is after-sale service provided? A professional should be willing and able to provide after-sale service.
  • Is there a system warranty? A professional’s work should be guaranteed — a one-year warranty is typical.
  • Does he have references available? A professional should be willing to provide you with the names and telephone numbers of recent satisfied customers, so you can call and check his references.

You Get What You Pay For

When choosing a contractor, you should be wary of those who offer to charge you significantly less than others. Low bidders may not be licensed or insured and may often use cost-cutting techniques that can jeopardize your lawn and shorten the life of your system.

Watch out for these commonly used, undesirable short-cuts:

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

Confidence Counts

Above all, you should choose a contractor you trust and in whom you feel confident. It is also important that he installs professional series products such as those manufactured by Rain Bird. For over 70 years, professional irrigation contractors have used Rain Bird products to provide the industry's most cost-effective and reliable irrigation systems. Choosing a contractor who uses Rain Bird professional series products is the best way to ensure that your project will be done right.

Your sprinkler system is a complex network of pipes, valves, sprinklers, and electrical connections. Because it serves as the circulation system for your entire yard, the design and installation of your sprinkler system is critical. This is a complicated process that requires specialized tools and equipment, as well as a strong knowledge of landscape design and hydraulics. This is why it is so important to have a professional contractor design and install your system.


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