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Automatic Lawn Sprinkler Systems
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q; How will I benefit from an inground sprinkler system?
A; Since handwatering is done on a random basis, and at irregular intervals, an automatic sprinkler system will actually, in most cases, use less water. It will also disperse the water at an even rate, and for a predetermined amount of time. This allows you to water sunny and shady areas for different periods of time, and to water when it is most efficient. One obvious benefit is the ability to continue a watering program while you are away on vacation, etc.

Q; Will the installation make a mess of my lawn?
A; Modern installation techniques have made system installation far less disruptive than in the past. Blue Sky Irrigation features trenchless pipe installation. This is done with a purpose built machine that slices the sod, and lays the pipe at the same time. In general, the nicer the lawn to begin with, the less mess there is. In this case, all of the sod is still there, it may just need to be put back and tamped. A lawn that is in disrepair will be hard to make look good, as there is no sod to be replaced. In this situation, overseeding and new growth will be made easier because of the sprinkler system.

Q; How long does a system take to put in?
A; It would depend on the area that is trying to be covered. An average size lawn (@15,000 sq. ft.) can usually be done in one full day, depending on the situation. A large country lawn can take anywhere from two to four days. On average, we spend one to two days on a job.

Q; What type of maintenance does the system require?
A; All systems need to be winterized at the end of the season. This is done by attaching an air hose to a fitting on the water line, and blowing all of the water out of the system. Most people that we install systems for simply turn it back on in the springtime themselves. We do offer the service of opening systems for the season. The quality of the products used initially, and of the overall installation, play an important part in the long term service of the system. The better the products and installation, the less trouble you should expect in the future. Blue Sky Irrigation uses the finest products available in the industry, and strives to provide the finest installations in the business.

Q; What products do you use?
A; Blue Sky Irrigation features Hunter gear drive sprinkler heads and digital timers, and RainBird electric valves and sprayheads. These are what we consider to be the finest products in the industry, which is why we don't use all one companies products. Please see our "Irrigation Products" section for more information.

Q; What about underground wires and/or electric dog fences?
A; Blue Sky Irrigation owns a Dynatel 2250 cable locator. This is considered to be the finest locator available, and is the same as the phone and cable companies use. We have had very little trouble with underground wires since we bought this unit.

Q; What happens when it rains?
A; Blue Sky Irrigation installs a rain sensor on every system we install. This device senses rainfall, and will shut down your system when it has received enough rain. The sensor is adjustable, so it can be set to individual needs and preference.

Q; How long and how often should I run my sprinkler system?
A; While there are no set parameters for this, here are a few rules of thumb. The precipitation rates on geardrive/sprayhead zones is about a 4 to 1 ratio. This means that gear drive zones should be run @ four times longer than sprayzones. Gear drive zones should be run for a minimum of 30 minutes, except in very shady areas. In the hot parts of the summer, these should be changed to 45 minutes, even an hour. Sprayhead zones should be run for 8 to 10 minutes, and bumped up to 15 to 20 minutes in dramatically hot weather. In the spring and fall, you should be able to get by with every second or third day. When the weather gets very hot, once a day is a good idea, as this will keep the lawn from getting stressed. Time and experience will tell you what will work best on your own property. For a more detailed discussion of this, go to the "Troubleshooting" page, and click on "Zone Run Times".

Q; What is a backflow device, and why do I need one on my sprinkler system?
A;A backflow device is generally a brass assembly that will prevent any water from the sprinkler system from getting into the drinking water supply, and are required by all municipalities. There are many different types of these, and each individual municipality has differing requirements for the installation. Blue Sky Irrigation is very familiar with most locales, and can provide the appropriate backflow device for your system.

Q; What does "Head to Head" coverage mean, and can I get by without it?
A;On any system, one of the fundamentals of design is that each head hit the one to the left and right of it, and any other heads within its throw. This provides even water coverage, referred to as "Matched Precipitation". Really what you are trying to achieve is artificial rainfall. Areas with only single coverage might fare well in cool conditions, but will be the first to brown up in very hot weather. You are far better off to design and install the system properly to begin with, as it is much harder and expensive after the fact to add or move heads to compensate for dry areas. You can always run zones with single coverage heads longer, but now you are over-watering the double/triple coverage areas to compensate for the single coverage areas. Head to head coverage is paramount for a lush, green lawn.

Q; Will water alone keep my lawn that deep green color?
A;While water is the key ingredient for a healthy lawn, it is not the only answer. Fertilization is generally required for that lush green look, as is bug control. We get calls a lot in the summer from people that think there is something wrong with their sprinkler system, but upon inspection, there are bugs destroying the lawn, or they have not used any fertilizer. If you are unfamiliar with fertilizer and pesticides, we recommend that you contact a company in that business to look after your lawn. Having a sprinkler system installed is the first step towards a healthy, green lawn, but it is not the only step.

Q; What is the difference between gear drive heads, and sprayheads?
A; Gear drive heads have a water powered motor that makes the upper part of the head rotate. These heads are used for large turf areas, with throws of 15 to 35 feet. They are adjustable not only in the precipitation rate, but the arc as well. Blue Sky Irrigation uses only Hunter gear drive heads, which are easily changed from 40 degrees, to a full 360 degree rotation. Sprayheads are generally used for smaller or oddly shaped turf areas. Some companies still use them in flower and plant beds, but we prefer to use drip irrigation in these. Sprayheads have no moving parts, and emit a spray of a particular pattern. The nozzles are interchangeable, and come in circular, rectangular, and square patterns, with throws of four to fifteen feet. The precipitation rates of these two types of heads are dramatically different, and should never be mixed on the same zone.

Q; What is drip irrigation, and can I benefit from it?
A; Drip irrigation is a method where small amounts of water are placed directly on the root ball of plants, therefore using the water more efficiently. This is done with a network of small tubing that is all tied together, and provides water to many plants at once. A drip zone will usually run for several hours, not twenty or thirty minutes. It is generally considered to be better for most planting beds than topical watering, and also more water conservative. Your particular situation would dictate whether it was right for you.

Q; Why should I choose Blue Sky Irrigation to install my system?
A; Blue Sky Irrigation has a reputation for doing the best work in the business. We pay attention to the small details, and take great pride in each and every system we install. At Blue Sky Irrigation quality is our standard, not our goal. We generally only service our own systems, allowing us to take better care of our primary customers. Owner Dave Eilenberger is backed by 20+ years in the irrigation business, and has an extensive background in the well and water pump fields. Blue Sky Irrigation can certainly take care of any irrigation or pumping needs that you have.

If you have any additional questions, please email us at

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