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When hiring someone to install irrigaton, what questions should be ask?

When hiring someone to install irrigaton, what questions should be ask?


Old 04-24-09, 02:12 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 198
When hiring someone to install irrigaton, what questions should be ask?

I think I'm finally going to through in the towel and possibly get a irrigation system install. I live on .68 acre of land and besides the actual footprint of the house and driveway, everything else is all grass. No natural area, no pool, 4 trees to the side of the house, so that leaves a lot of grass. I can't remember the total sq ft of grass, but it's way too much for me to consider a DIY project.

So when I start searching for quotes, what are some basic and detail questions I shoud ask? Type of equipmet, warranty, installation method, plumbing, etc. Several years ago I remember hearing about a abatement meter when it comes to installing a irrigation system. What is this meter?
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Old 04-24-09, 05:32 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 386
I am not certain what an abatement meter is, but it could have something to do with how much water you are using... I just dont know. More parts of the country are starting to have stricter regulations on where your water goes and how you are using it--especially for commercial properties. My guess is that it has something to do with that, but I am not positive.

I would ask things like.. how long have they been in business (and under the same ownership). Some companies switch names or owners to avoid hassles and if they switch too often, they may be unreliable.

What is their warranty like.. how is their service handled. Do they return calls if you have problems (they all say yes up front).

Do they retain employees... high turnover? The problem is that you will have to use your instincts to tell you if they are lying or not.

What type of heads do they use, what types of controllers, what type of pipe do they use? How long does the install take?

Do they care about throwing over sidewalks (this is typically a cheap way of doing things but not always the companies fault... some ppl demand it be cheaper and this is one way of doing it).

They should plan for head to head coverage--that means each head throws to the one next to it and so on.

Do they use matched precipitation? If they dont know what that is, they dont.

Do they mix rotors and sprays? (this is also a big no-no... they water at different speeds and it is a good idea about 1 in every 1,000 situations or less).

Price is not everything. Some companies can be really cheap but you will end up paying for it in the long run... bad pipe, cheap parts, bad design, etc. The most expensive is not always the best either. Quality work and the willingness to back up their work means a lot as does a good design and balancing the water use for even and thorough coverage.

Puting a bunch of heads in that shoot in a circle to just get everything wet may do the job, but it does it poorly and most people are unhappy with it later on. If a company starts cutting corners in one area, they typically cut them in others.

If you find out more info from your potentials I can help you out more. Sorry if I ranted too much on the subject.
Old 04-30-09, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3
An abatement meter measures the water used by you rirrigation system. Some municipalities do not bill you sewer fees on water used for an irrigation system - that is what the abatement meter is for. It depends entirely on your municipality whether they use the meter or not - so contact your city to find out.

Certainly tops on you rquestions to prospecitve contracotrs is if they are insured. Ask for evidence of thises insurace prior to transferring any money.

I would personnaly stay away from the landscaper/sprinkler companies. I'm sure there are some dood landscapers that also install irrigation. Conversely there are a whole lot of them out there that haven't a clue on how to design an irrigation system. Look for an irrigation only contractor that specializes in this work.
Old 04-30-09, 09:20 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 198
Thanks for the input. I was looking for technical base questions. It's in my benefit to appear to be more knowledgeable than your average irrigation customer.
Old 05-01-09, 03:55 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 948
i would want a map of the system and i would want to know from each contractor what type of pipe they plan to use. most use schedule 20 to keep the cost down but if it's mine i'll spend a little more and use schedule 40. find out if your local law requires a permit and also, if you're going to need electrical work for the installation. if you need to close the system for the winter have them install a valve to allow it to be blown out with air. ask if they will be using vacuum break valves and be sure they include a main shut off valve. get at least three estimates and compare them as to labor, materials, warranty and final cleanup. as mentioned, no insurance, no contract.

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