How to install a sprinkler system: The BEST approach

Sprinklers are an essential part of your irrigation system and can help to keep our garden fresh and clean. These systems are great to have. However, they have to be installed properly.

Installing a sprinkler system is an ideal DIY project for homeowners who have the time and willingness to learn about water pressure, flow rates, and backflow prevention. 

Installing a sprinkler system makes it easy to water your lawn or garden at specific times without spending hours tending to individual plants.

Depending on the size of your yard and how much digging you’re willing to do, you can install a sprinkler system for as little as $200. In this article, we outline some things that you have to take into account when you do this.

Below are some answers to common questions when it comes to installing sprinkler heads.

Do sprinkler heads need Teflon tape?

Yes, sprinkler heads need Teflon tape. This tape makes sure that the sprinkler heads don’t drip.

 Before connecting the pipes, use tape to cover the threads on each end of the pipe. You’ll need to wrap the threads with Teflon tape to prevent leaks from occurring.

It is quite easy to use Teflon tape. Most packages even come with a small knife, making it easy to cut at the end. 

You just have to find out how much tape you have to use. If you don’t use enough, you risk having leaks. If you use too much Teflon tape, it can be harder to install the sprinkler head.

Luckily it is often indicated in the manual of the sprinkler heads how much Teflon tape you have to use. Otherwise, you will have to do some trial and error.

Is PEX good for a sprinkler system?

PEX is a type of pipe commonly used in sprinkler systems. It’s lightweight and easy to install, making it a great choice for DIYers. PEX also doesn’t corrode as metal does, so you don’t need to worry about maintaining it for a long time.

The drawback is that some PEX pipes are not able to handle sunlight and might break down quite fast. You can bury the PEX pipes but this is more work. For this reason, copper is often used in sprinkler systems.

While copper might be more expensive, it will last a long time. 

In areas with extreme weather, steel tends to be used. Steel is even more expensive than copper but it expands less. This can make it more durable during hot summers.

How many sprinkler-heads per square foot?

You should install one sprinkler head per every 8-10 square feet of lawn. You can adjust this number depending on the type of plants you have in your garden. 

For instance, if you have a garden with a lot of flowers and small plants, you’ll need to install more sprinkler heads per area. If your garden has a large variety of plants, you may need to install fewer heads per area. Keep in mind that installing too many sprinkler heads can cause damage to your plants.

You also have to check your water pressure. If the PSI is too low for the number of sprinkler heads that you have, you will have to install a pump.

How many sprinklers do I need?

This depends on the size of your lawn, the type of sprinkler head, and the type of flowers that you are trying to water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should install one sprinkler head per every 8-10 square feet of lawn. Some sprinkler heads cover 5200 square feet or more.

Most sprinkler heads can spray 360 degrees around them. You also have to make sure that it doesn’t splash on your home as this can damage the insulation or wood. 

Most sprinkler systems are modular and it is quite easy to add another sprinkler later on. 

Check the manual of your sprinkler head to see how many you need for your garden. If you have a smaller garden, 2 or 3 sprinklers should do. If you have a big garden, more than 5 sprinklers might be needed. 

In the latter case, you can consider adding a software system to manage it. This allows you to find the best time to sprinkle water and also adjust it based on your plants. Sensors are used to see how much water each type of plant needs to grow.

How many sprinklers can a pump run?

The amount of sprinklers a pump can run depends on the size of the pump, the source of the water, the size of your sprinkler system, and the type of the sprinklers. You have to look at the gallons per minute that are needed.

You have to look at the specifications of the sprinklers. This will give you an indication of how much water they use per minute. Once you know this, you can find the appropriate pump for your needs. 

A good rule of thumb is to only run as many sprinklers as your pump can handle. 

The pump has to be able to deal with pressure loss if your garden is uneven.

Most pumps can handle anywhere from 2 to 6 sprinklers.

The source of the water also has an impact on the pump that you need:

-If you are using well water, you have to find a pump that can pump the water high enough. You should also add a filter to avoid damage to your pump or sprinklers.

-If you are using city water, you can use a weaker pump as the water is already under pressure.

 If you have a small yard, you may be able to run a single sprinkler head with a low-pressure pump. If you have a large yard or would like to water your lawn at different times, you’ll need a high-pressure pump.

If you need a big system, it is often better to work with a specialized company as they can calculate how much water pressure (measured in psi) the pump needs to generate.

 Test for leaks and repair any damage

After you’ve installed your sprinkler system, it’s important to test for leaks. This is an essential part of the installation process; it will ensure you don’t waste water that you’ll have to pay for later. 

First, turn everything that uses water off in your house and turn your sprinkler system off. Then, you can check your water meter and write down the number that you see. Wait for 15 minutes. At this point, you check the water meter again. If there is a big difference between the two numbers, there might be a water leak.

You can consider adding the sprinkler system on your roof as this can work out pretty well.

A plumber has advanced systems to locate a water leak. This ranges from heat cameras to listening devices.

Sprinkler systems can be quite complex. In this post, we have answered some common questions. This will help you to pick the right system for your garden. We have to keep in mind that some systems are very complex and need help from a professional. Some plumbers can help you out with this as well but it requires some specialization.

This will help you to avoid common sprinkler and irrigation system issues.