How Do Rain Sensors Work?

Have you ever looked out the window and mentally kicked yourself because you didn’t think to check the weather before you left home? And now it’s raining and your sprinklers are scheduled to turn on right about…now?

A rain sensor would save you the mental anguish and money from not running your sprinklers during a thunderstorm. You’ll conserve water while still maintaining your lawn if you let a rain sensor manage your sprinklers.

If you’re one of those people who needs to know how something works before you install it, this post is for you, because we’re discussing how rain sensors work.

First, what is a rain sensor?

As you might have guessed, it senses rain.

It’s a device that communicates with your sprinkler timer about the level of rainfall. If enough rain has fallen, then the sensors let the timer know to skip the next cycle and not run.

It’s a convenient piece of technology. If you’re out of town or just unaware of the weather forecast, the rain sensor will make sure your lawn isn’t overwatered.

Types of Rain Sensors and How They Work

When you live in the Midwest, you get used to rapid changes in the weather. You know the saying, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”

That’s fine if you’re just taking off an outer layer because you’re too warm or keeping a spare umbrella in your car. But when you’re a sprinkler system, you need more help knowing when the weather isn’t good for you to turn on.

Depending on the type of yard you have, where you live, and how often it rains, you might choose a different type of rain sensor.

Rainfall collection cup
This rain sensor stops the sprinkler from turning on when the rainfall cup fills to a certain level. A possible issue that could arise is a false fill signal. Leaves, debris, and even bugs can fill up the collection cup, causing the sprinklers to shut off.

Expansion disk
Expansion disk rain sensors operate via a gauge attached to the sprinkler system. Disks inside the gauge absorb water and expand as more rain falls. That sends a message to the sprinkler system controller and interrupts the signal that turns on the sprinkler. The signal is blocked until the disks shrink back to their original, dry size. Then the sprinkler controller receives the start signal once more and resumes its regular schedule.

Benefits of a Rain Sensor

No matter the type of rain sensor you choose, all rain sensors offer many advantages over not having one attached to your automatic sprinkler system. Some of the benefits, both immediate and long-term, include:

  • Saving money
    Whether you pay for city water or spend electricity running a pump, the money you save over time will more than pay for the rain sensor.
  • Extending sprinkler system life span
    Every irrigation system is a lot of moving parts. If the parts are utilized less frequently, like during the rainy season, they will last longer.
  • Conserving water
    Less water is wasted when less supplemental water is needed to hydrate your lawn or garden.

Save Water with Pro Outdoor

Nowhere else will our residential or commercial customers find the 5-Star Experience – delivering value the way you see it, dependability, innovation, and a culture of growth that fuels our service commitment and your lawn’s ongoing success.

Let the pros at Pro Outdoor show you how installing the best sprinkler system will have your lawn looking beautiful in no time. Contact us today for a consultation.

Different Types of Irrigation Systems Explained

We’ve made it our business to be experts in irrigation systems, but we understand that not everyone knows the difference between the different types of irrigation systems.

There are many different ways to supply water to a large body of plants. Water is provided in different volumes and reaching different areas, which can affect plant growth. Some systems are better for certain plants than others, which is why we’re discussing irrigation system differences and the advantages and disadvantages for each system.

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is one of the most popular types of irrigation systems. Simply put, drip irrigation is the process of lacing your garden area with irrigation lines that feed directly into the root systems of your plants, “dripping” water into them gradually.

The roots have the direst need for hydration, so a drip irrigation system essentially cuts out the middleman and supplies water directly to the roots.

Advantages of Drip Irrigation

  • Reduces weed growth
    A drip irrigation system is placed explicitly through the plants that you want to water, so it’s tough for the water to stray away from its intended target. As a result, rogue weeds in your garden won’t benefit from the water, ultimately reducing the overall number of weeds.
  • Efficient water usage
    Drip irrigation is by far the most efficient irrigation system regarding water usage. It typically uses less water, and the water it does use is less prone to evaporate.

Disadvantages of Drip Irrigation

  • Requires precise installation
    Drip irrigation is only useful if it’s been installed correctly, which takes expert precision and experience. An improperly installed drip system could cause drought conditions, which causes your plants to grow shallow instead of deep. Make sure you have professional help when you’re setting up the drip irrigation system.
  • Requires maintenance
    A drip irrigation system sometimes requires more maintenance than another type of irrigation system. The drip irrigation equipment is vulnerable to debris, mineral buildup, and damage from outside forces like lawnmowers.

Sprinkler Irrigation

Sprinkler irrigation is more or less the opposite of drip irrigation. Instead of applying hydration directly to the roots, the water is supplied overhead by the sprinklers.

While drip irrigation is more up close and personal irrigation, sprinkler irrigation allows you to hydrate a larger area of land like an athletic field.

Advantages of Sprinkler Irrigation

  • Able to cover large areas
    Sprinkler irrigation is probably the most cost-effective way to cover a broad swath of land, like a farm with acres and acres of plants to water.
  • Can be used anywhere
    Sprinkler irrigation is versatile. Drip irrigation is difficult to maintain over a large space, while surface irrigation relies on the slope of the land to work properly. Sprinklers can be used just about anywhere.

Disadvantages of Sprinkler Irrigation

  • Expensive upfront cost
    When it comes to the initial installation, sprinkler irrigation systems can be the most expensive. The general cost goes down once it’s up and running, but the upfront cost could be hefty.
  • Susceptible to wind
    The biggest drawback for sprinkler irrigation is that wind can scatter the spray, resulting in inconsistent watering. This could be a minor inconvenience occasionally, but it can become a serious problem if you live in an excessively windy area.

Surface Irrigation

Drip irrigation waters the root of the plant, sprinkler irrigation waters from above, and surface irrigation is somewhere in the middle.

There are different forms of surface irrigation, but they all take advantage of gravity and the shape of the land to “flood” the soil. Put more simply, water is poured onto the ground, and the land allows it to distribute itself across the soil naturally.

Advantages of Surface Irrigation

  • Easiest and most affordable
    Surface irrigation is an ancient irrigation technique that has been refined by modern technology. It doesn’t necessarily require sophisticated technology to work, and if you want something with a lot of variety, surface irrigation is for you.
  • Best utilization of rainwater
    You’ve probably shaped your property in such a way where natural water flows reliably to irrigate your plants. For that reason, areas where surface irrigation is used are very effective at utilizing rainwater.

Disadvantages of Surface Irrigation

  • Dependent on terrain
    For surface irrigation to work correctly, you have to make the terrain accommodate it, whether it’s by creating channels for the water or relying on the natural slope to let gravity do its thing. Unexpected changes or disturbances in your land could affect the effectiveness of surface irrigation.
  • Waterlogging risk
    Surface irrigation could channel too much water into your crops, which can drown the roots and be counterproductive. You need to take care to ensure your surface irrigation system doesn’t overhydrate your plants.

Get the Best Irrigation System for Your Needs

Regardless of what type of irrigation system you choose for your property, one thing you’ll need to have is the right team to install the equipment. Pro Outdoor is already St. Louis’ and Saint Charles’ irrigation system leader for residential and commercial clients.

We only use the best parts and hire and train professionals who can live up to our name. We believe that quality, service, and value still matter, and we are proud to bring our customers a 5-star experience with every project. Contact us today for a consultation.

3 Benefits of Hiring a Professional Irrigation Company

So many people think that they can DIY anything these days.

You know the type: they think all they need are YouTube tutorials and grit to get anything done.

Unfortunately, as helpful as YouTube tutorials can be for some tasks and hobbies, there are some projects best left to the professionals.
Installing and maintaining an irrigation system, for example.

Before you head to the home improvement store looking for tools and supplies, there are some benefits to hiring a professional irrigation company that you should consider.

Knowledge and Expertise

Whether you’re installing a new system or trying to fix an older one, there are a lot of things to know before you just start tearing it apart to find the problem.

A sprinkler system isn’t just a hose and some sprinkler heads glued together. There are electronic components, valves interacting with pipes and sprinkler heads, and a backflow preventer. Among other things, you need to worry about the water pressure, voltage requirements, and the water hammer.

Unless you’re a technician for an irrigation company, chances are, you don’t know anything about those things except for the fact that they somehow work together to water your lawn.

It wouldn’t be safe for you to poke around the sprinkler system unless you know exactly what you’re doing. There’s a chance you could damage it further, resulting in more expensive repairs.

Peace of Mind

When you go to sleep tonight, would you prefer to fall asleep knowing that a professional is the one who repaired your sprinkler system or that you’re the one who Macgyvered it into functioning somehow?

You’ll rest easier knowing a professional technician did it, won’t you? That’s one of the best reasons to hire a professional irrigation company rather than trying your hand at haphazard DIY.

Don’t underestimate the value of peace of mind when it comes to your sprinkler system. You’ll know for sure that your system was repaired or installed correctly with the right parts and technique.

High-Quality Customer Service

If you still think that you want to go ahead and fix your sprinkler system yourself, you’re leaving out perhaps the most important benefit of hiring a professional irrigation company.

Customer service. A company that prides itself on serving its customers well is going to make the repair process so much easier for you.

Instead of getting tired and frustrated attempting to fix it yourself, an experienced technician will come out and do it for you. They’re on your side, can help answer questions, and address any other repair or maintenance issues you may have.

Plus, they can help you with winterizing your system and the spring activation, both of which are crucial to ensuring your system doesn’t need costly repairs later.

The Name Says It All: Pro Outdoor

We’re already St. Louis’ and Saint Charles’ irrigation company leader for residential and commercial customers. And we’re expanding rapidly throughout the Midwest for one simple reason: we only use the best parts and only hire technicians who can live up to our name.

You’ll see the difference in everything we do – from understanding every challenge as you see it – to leaving no questions unanswered about how we can help your lawn stay green and healthy.

Call us today for a free consultation.

Common Sprinkler Repair Problems

A correctly designed and programmed sprinkler system will faithfully deliver the right amount of water to your yard every time you turn it on. But like any other appliance in or around your home, it occasionally breaks down or requires maintenance.

Fortunately, most problems with your sprinkler system can be addressed, or even avoided, with regular maintenance. There are even some sprinkler repairs you can do yourself, but for the more serious problems, you’ll need to call a professional.

Having a problem with your sprinkler system? Take a look at the most common problems you’ll see with your sprinkler system.

Typical Sprinkler System Repairs

1. Water doesn’t come out when the system is turned on

A sprinkler system that doesn’t turn on when it’s supposed to can signal a few problems:

  • Leak in the piping
  • Debris from a broken line is clogging the pipe leading to the head
  • Too many sprinkler heads are leaking
  • Roots are growing into the nozzle of the sprinkler head
  • Roots outside the piping are squeezing the pipe shut
  • Demand for water running inside the house is conflicting with sprinklers running at the same time

Without proper knowledge and experience, it can be difficult to know exactly what is causing the blockage in the system. Your best bet is to talk to an experienced irrigation contractor to see what the cause of the problem is.

2. There’s a leak

A leak in your sprinkler system does more than just prevent water from coming out of the sprinkler heads. Puddles can form in your yard while leaving other areas completely dry – which is not why you installed the sprinkler system in the first place!

Leaks could be caused by a particularly cold winter if you didn’t winterize the system properly, damage from landscaping, or a faulty valve box.

Fixing a leaking line can be an involved sprinkler repair job. If the leak is visible near the sprinkler head, you can try replacing the head to see if that helps. For larger leaks, where water is pooling in the yard, you’ll need Pro Outdoor to help.

3. One sprinkler head isn’t working

If just one of your sprinkler heads isn’t working properly, it’s likely just a single broken sprinkler head and not a problem with the entire system.

Sprinkler heads can be damaged by extreme weather, getting run over by a lawnmower, or someone stepping on them wrong. A broken sprinkler head might not spray at all, or it may spray water around wildly.

Replacing a single sprinkler head isn’t too difficult, thankfully. Most home improvement stores stock replacement sprinkler heads.

To replace the head, dig out the area around the sprinkler head to expose the riser, a couple of feet down. Twist the existing sprinkler head to remove and discard it and screw on the new head.

4. The sprinkler heads won’t retract

Many sprinkler systems have retractable sprinkler heads dotted around the landscape. When you turn the system on, the heads are supposed to pop out of the ground. And when you’re done watering, they retract so they aren’t noticeable, and you won’t trip over them.

However, sometimes they just won’t retract like they’re supposed to.

Thankfully, this sprinkler repair is pretty easy. The most common cause of a sprinkler head failing to retract is debris – like mulch that is blocking the head from moving.

Carefully remove any debris from around the sprinkler head. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you will need to contact a professional to take a look.

Sometimes you need to call a professional

Only homeowners who feel very comfortable with their system or who happen to be irrigation professionals as well should attempt these repairs. Otherwise, calling a certified team like Pro Outdoor is your best bet to have your system repaired properly and efficiently.

We’re one of the best sprinkler repair companies in the area, and we offer a variety of warranties. Contact us today for your sprinkler repair needs.

From Seedlings to Sod: How to Water New Lawns

Newly seeded or sodded lawns require special irrigation and attention. There is a delicate equilibrium that must be maintained so the new sod can take root or the new seeds can grow strong.

You want your lawn to grow healthy and green, which requires you to be a helicopter parent for a while until its roots are strong and deep. You might want to use an app to keep track of the watering schedule or keep a very structured calendar so you don’t miss a watering.

An irrigation system will help you use only the appropriate amount of water necessary to make your lawn flourish and grow as quickly as possible. Irrigation systems are cost-effective because they help you conserve water. If you just stood outside with a hose in hand, you’d end up using more water in a less efficient manner.

Watering New Grass Seed

A newly seeded lawn should be watered daily and may need as many as four light waterings in a single day. To keep the seedbed moist, but not saturated, make sure to water to a dept of one to two inches until germination occurs. You’ll know germination has happened when there is a green cast to the lawn and seedlings are ¼ to ½ inch tall.

You need to make sure not to stress the seedlings of a new lawn to the point of wilting. Light applications of water to a depth of ⅛ to ¼ inch one to four times day.

Apply one bail of straw per 1,000 square feet at time of seeding to help shade the ground and prevent rapid drying of the soil surface. Straw will also reduce seedling damage from the force of larger sprinkler drips. It’s best to water with a light mist when you’re trying to establish a new lawn.

As seedlings reach two inches in height, gradually reduce the frequency of watering and water more deeply. After your new lawn has been mowed a few times, deep and infrequent waterings are the best to maintain a healthy and lush lawn.

How to Water New Sod

A newly sodded lawn requires watering one or two times a day. You should begin irrigation immediately after laying the sod. In fact, you should plan your sodding process so that a section of laid sod can be watered while other areas are being sodded.

Water your new sod so that both the sod strip and the top inch of soil below the sod are wet. The initial irrigation will take about an inch of water to completely wet the sod.

After watering, lift up pieces of sod at a few locations to determine whether it has been adequately watered. Continue watering one to two times a day with light irrigations to prevent wilting and to ensure the soil is moist just below the sod layer.

As the sod becomes established and roots penetrate the soil below, gradually reduce the watering frequency. Just like newly seeded lawns, once the sod has been mowed two or three times, irrigate your new lawn deeply but infrequently.

Do not overwater or saturate your new sod because that will inhibit the sod roots from growing into the soil below.

A free consultation is the first step to having a lush lawn

We are St. Louis’ and Saint Charles’ irrigation company leader for residential and commercial customers, and we’re expanding rapidly throughout the Midwest for one simple reason: we only use the best parts and hire and train professionals who can live up to our name.

You’ll see the difference in everything we do – from understanding every challenge as you see it, to leaving no questions unanswered about how we can help your lawn stay green and healthy.

We are Pro Outdoor. And if you believe like us that quality, service, and value still matter, then you’re ready to grow with the pros. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What is Drip Irrigation

One of the most frequently asked questions about installing a new irrigation system is “will it help me save water?”

Irrigation systems are one of the most cost-effective ways to efficiently give your yard and landscaping the hydration it needs to survive – especially in this hot St. Louis summer. Water efficiency and growing lush landscaping is what drip irrigation systems are all about.

Drip irrigation is the process of delivering water in a slow and steady manner directly to the base of the plants. From the dripped lines, water is absorbed slowly into the soil and distributed evenly for optimal growth and health.

It ensures you avoid wasting water and money due to over spraying and evaporation. Drip irrigation makes sure the plants get the precise amount of water they need to remain healthy and beautiful.

When to use drip irrigation

Drip irrigation can be used in a variety of areas. You can efficiently water trees, large shrubs, flower beds, vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and even plants on patios. It’s extremely effective in high wind areas since the water is delivered directly to the roots and won’t blow around your yard in the wind.

While sprinkler systems are typically about 75-85% efficient, drip systems are about 90% or higher. For this reason, drip irrigation is the most popular method in desert regions, where water is scarce, but it is useful anywhere else as well.

The benefits of installing a drip irrigation system
You can use a drip irrigation system in all kinds of landscaping – from your lawn to your garden. A drip irrigation is more efficient than any other form of watering, and you won’t accidentally water the sidewalk or miss patches of your grass.

You’ll get the balance and consistency your yard needs and that moveable sprinklers and hoses can’t give you. Automated irrigation systems take out most of the possibility for human error.

Water efficiency
The water is distributed slowly and exactly where it’s needed at the root.

Save money
Drip irrigation has less evaporation on the surface level of your landscape, which saves on your water bill.

Deter weed growth
The soil surface between plants remains drier, which discourages weed growth.

Environmentally friendly
Drip irrigation systems use between 30-50% less water than conventional watering methods.

A free consultation is the first step to having a lush lawn
We are St. Louis’ and Saint Charles’ irrigation company leader for residential and commercial customers, and we’re expanding rapidly throughout the Midwest for one simple reason: we only use the best parts and hire and train professionals who can live up to our name.

You’ll see the difference in everything we do – from understanding every challenge as you see it, to leaving no questions unanswered about how we can help your lawn stay green and healthy.

We are Pro Outdoor. And if you believe like us that quality, service, and value still matter, then you’re ready to grow with the pros. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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