How Do Underground Irrigation Systems Work?

Underground irrigation systems may seem complicated at first, but they are actually easy to understand, no matter a person’s skill level. Also known as sprinkler systems, the goal of the setup is to water the property in zones. By splitting up the watering into multiple parts, it’s easier to conserve water and ensure the entire yard receives enough nourishment. This is particularly helpful for homes with delicate landscaping or vegetable gardens, as it leads to a healthier looking yard and lower water bills.

How do underground irrigation systems work?

Most homes receive water through a supply line connected to a municipal water main. This supply line runs underground and leads up to the home, where it feeds into the home’s plumbing. Before it reaches the home, though, it flows through a water meter that keeps track of usage and past a secondary connection for a sprinkler setup. When installing a new sprinkler system, this secondary connection will be used to feed the sprinkler heads.

Before installing the sprinkler heads, a system shutoff valve is placed along the secondary connection and close to the home’s supply line. The shutoff valve is necessary if water flow to the heads needs switching off quickly or when working on a part of the sprinkler setup that’s under pressure. A backflow prevention valve or device is also an essential component of the structure, as it keeps water from moving back into the home supply line and causing contamination.

After water flows through the backflow preventer, it is kept under pressure behind the setup’s valve manifold
. The manifold consists of several valves that deliver water to different zones, each of which are activated in sequence to water the entire property. Zone watering is necessary on all but the smallest properties, as few homes have the water pressure required to run more than a handful of sprinkler heads at a time. During operation, a brief electrical charge is delivered to the manifold, directing it to switch on and begin zone watering.

How can professionals help design and install underground irrigation systems?


A sprinkler setup is a sophisticated project and has to be just right, or poor coverage or excess runoff will occur. The success of the project will depend greatly on planning, and professionals will help map out the property and determine how to arrange zones for optimal coverage. During planning, installers will calculate how much water volume and pressure the property has to work with so there will be no surprises once the sprinklers are switched on.

Professionals also have access to the best equipment in the industry, which is essential for maintaining usage efficiency and even coverage. Modern sprinkler heads, in particular, are excellent for combatting wind resistance and use a spray pattern that prevents overwatering. These high-quality sprinkler heads will also hold up better over time and come fitted with more reliable electronics.

If you plan on pursuing any major landscaping project in the near future or just want a healthier yard, a professionally designed water system is your best bet.

This article was published on Monday 17 November, 2014.


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