Your sprinkler system has an average life span of 20 years. Individually, good sprinkler components generally last up to 10 to 15 years, but the cheap ones only last for 2 to 3 years. This means that, eventually, you’ll need to have your water sprinkler system upgraded, if not fully replaced with efficient brands such as Hunter or Netafim.
There are many telling signs that indicate the immediate need for an upgrade. Your sprinklers may have stopped turning, the valves are already failing to open and close, or your service calls are getting more frequent than they were years ago. Not to mention, new technologies on irrigation systems are now available in the market. All these are great reasons to consider an upgrade.
Unfortunately, it’s not always clear when the time is right to do so.
What Are the Signs That My Irrigation System Needs an Upgrade?
- Age. Like most machines, sprinkler systems tend to have more issues the older they get. So if your irrigation system already had its share of years, it’s only normal that it starts to malfunction more frequently.
- Leaks, though not always cause enough to need a major upgrade, are also a telling sign that something is wrong. Mainline leaks can cause insufficient water to reach your nozzles.
- A single season of two or more incidents of repairs.
- An increase in your water bills may indicate insufficiency in your system.
- Your lawn lacks or has too little water so it has required you to increase irrigation use to repair the damage.
- Your sprinkler system is outdated.
- There are changes in regulations that you need to abide by.
Other reasons are not always caused by a malfunction in the system. These include the following:
- You have increased your lawn area.
- You’ve added a new lawn feature that may cause drainage.
- You have a new garden.
- Your lawn is in a generally poor condition.
- Fungi or insects have infested your lawn.
Consequently, there are also reasons to upgrade that are purely beneficial in nature:
- Upgrading now will cost you less in the long term.
- A new system is available in the market and saves you time, as compared to your outdated system.
- Precise water distribution ensures a healthy lawn.
- A good irrigation system in place raises your property value.
How Much Does Upgrading My Irrigation System Cost?
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of installing a new sprinkler system is $2,440 for a typical 1/4 acre residential lawn. Overall system installation costs anywhere between $1,753 and $3,366, depending on how large the area of coverage is, the quality of the system, and the materials it uses.
Individual component upgrades, however, are less expensive but still cost anywhere between $100 to $1,000.
What Are the Most Practical Upgrades to Make?
There are upgrades you can make that are not only beneficial for the integrity and longevity of your irrigation system but can also help you save more money in the long run. These upgrades include the following:
- Sprinklers that are no longer turning properly or distributing water efficiently can make you use more water than you should, causing higher-than-usual water consumption. Repairing sprinklers can mitigate this cost.
- Replacing all components that are way past their average life cycles.
- Replacing old wiring.
- An upgrade to a smart controller can help you save not only money but also time.
How to Tell Whether to Make Minor Upgrades or Do a Major System Overhaul
The easiest way to determine whether you only need an upgrade or a full system replacement is to keep logs of the dates and details of the repairs. This way, you can see if you’ve been having too-frequent breaks even if some components are new. If only one component is repeatedly acting up, you may only need to replace that part. If the system is already outdated, you are probably better off investing in a new system than shelling out more money for repairs that will only last a season.
Upgrading your sprinkler system is a costly business. So if you want to avoid the inevitable cost, prolong the life of your irrigation system, and see to it that it keeps your lawn at its best, it’s a smart move to invest in superior sprinkler systems and to ensure that proper seasonal sprinkler maintenance is done.
It’s best to do irrigation inspection two times a year: before starting the system in spring and shutting it down in the fall.