An irrigation system is a considerable investment for your home or business and choosing the right contractor can be a difficult decision.

  Many customers do not realize how involved an irrigation system can be and therefore, do not ask the correct questions when choosing a contractor to install their system. Below are a few things to consider in your decision.

  All irrigation contractors in Minnesota must be licensed by the state to install the low voltage wiring portion of your irrigation system. To see if your irrigation contractor has the necessary license check out the State Board of Electricity page for licensed Technology Systems Contractors.

  Ask for references and call at least 2 or 3 of them.

  There are 2 basic ways to install an irrigation system. One method is to run a main line all the way around the area to be watered and bury a valve box for each zone in the yard. For 9 zones, you will have 9 valve boxes scattered in various places in the yard. Many customers do not care for this method because that many valve boxes can be unsightly.

  The second way to install a residential irrigation system is called “California Style.” For the typical suburban lot, this involves grouping the calves together in 2-3 valve boxes and many times at least one of these valve boxes can be concealed within the landscaping around the perimeter of the home. Most customers prefer this method of installation as it is easier to service and is much less unsightly. Ask the contractor which method they use. Apple Irrigation uses the “California Style” method for residential systems.

  To properly design an irrigation system the contractor must know how much water pressure is available at your home. Without knowing the flow and pressure they will not be able to determine how many heads should be placed on a particular zone. Placing too many heads on a zone will cause brown spots in the yard, as the water will not throw as far. Putting too few heads on a zone may add unnecessary expenses to your system. Make sure the contractor used a gauge to measure the water pressure and ask him what it measures. Apple Irrigation tests the Static water pressure on every system we bid.

  Be hesitant of contractors who give quotes without actually visiting your property. Without seeing your property they cannot measure the water pressure or account for areas of shade, sun or sloped areas. A contractor that gives bids over the phone is just guessing at how to properly design your system as well as an educated cost of your system. Apple Irrigation will meet you on your site for a bid on a system that is tailored to the needs of your property.

  Unorganized bids fail to include specific details. Bids should be legible and clearly understood. Apple Irrigation’s bids let you know exactly how many heads and valves we are planning to install on your property.

  Beware of someone who gives an estimate with unrealistic prices. If you have 3 different bids they should all be very close to one another. Be cautious of the lowest bid. Chances are that contractor is cutting corners on his install technique or not giving you a system that properly meets the needs of your property.

  Properly installed irrigation systems are setup and designed with a Matched Precipitation Rate. This means that each head is set to deliver the proper amount of water for the specific area the head covers. For example: if there are 2 heads on a zone, each head runs the same amount of time, if one head covers a 90 degree arc and the other covers a 180 arc, the 90 degree head must be set to deliver half the amount of water as the other head. Typically the 90 degree head would have a 2 gallon nozzle and the 180 degree head would have a 4 gallon nozzle.

  One recent survey indicates that fewer than 50% of irrigation contractors change nozzles in the sprinkler head to achieve a matched precipitation rate.

  Systems without a matched precipitation rate take less time to install and are less expensive but cost the property owner more in the long run due to wasted water. All of Apple Irrigation’s systems have a matched precipitation rate.

  Finally, make sure the contractor you choose is an experienced professional. Ask them if they are a member of any professional organizations and make sure to investigate their credentials.