Why should I choose Ray Smith & Associates to install my system?
Ray Smith & Associates 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 Ray Smith & Associates, quality is our standard, not our goal. We generally only service our own systems, allowing us to take better care of our customers.
Will the installation make a mess of my lawn?
Our installation techniques have made system installation far less disruptive than in the past. We remove existing sod from the piping areas. Then a machine digs or we hand dig the necesary trenches. In most cases, sod just need to be put back and tamped down. In some situations, overseeding or new sod installation may be required, however the new grass establishment and growth will be enhanced by your new sprinkler system.
How long does a system take to put in?
It depends on the area that needs to be covered. An average size lawn (@15,000 sq. ft.) can usually be done in one full day. A large lawn can take anywhere from two to four days. The average installation requires two days. All situations however vary, and are individually accessed.
How will I benefit from an inground sprinkler system?
Since handwatering is done on a random basis, and at irregular intervals, an automatic sprinkler system will 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 from your home.
What type of maintenance does the system require?
All systems need to be both turned on and checked each spring, and be turned off and winterized at season's end. We offer the service of opening and closing 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 can expect in the future. Ray Smith & Associates uses the finest products available in the industry, and strives to provide the finest installations and services in the business.
What products do you use?
Ray Smith & Associates features Hunter gear drive sprinkler heads and digital timers, and RainBird electric valves and sprayheads. These are considered to be the finest products in the industry. We select each part with performance and quality in mind. We pick from among the finest brands and equipment available.
What happens when it rains?
We can install a rain sensor on your system. This device senses rainfall, and will shut down your system when it has received adequate rainfall. The sensor is adjustable, so it can be set to individual needs and preference for each property.
How long and how often should I run my sprinkler system?
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 spray zones. 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.
What is a backflow device, and why do I need one on my sprinkler system?
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. We will provide the appropriate backflow device for your system.
What does "Head to Head" coverage mean, and can I get by without it?
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.
What is the difference between gear drive heads, and sprayheads?
Gear (or rotary) 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. Sprayheads are generally used for smaller or oddly shaped turf areas. 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.
Will water alone keep my lawn that deep green color?
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 insect and weed 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. Having a sprinkler system installed is the first step towards a healthy, green lawn, but it is not the only step.