1. Does my installation contractor have to be licensed?
Yes, lawn sprinkler systems are directly connected to your city water supply. They must meet local codes for attachment to the potable water system. The kind of contractor's license required varies from state to state. Your city building permit office or local Better Business Bureau can tell you what kind of license is required in your area.
2. Will the system be custom-fitted to my property?
The design of your Weather-matic system will take into account such factors as changes in terrain elevation, sunny and shaded areas, and the landscape planting in place or planned. These factors are important in determining sprinkler placement, zoning, your watering schedule and the length of watering times.
3. How do you determine what water pressure to use in the design of my system?
Piping hydraulics to insure the proper operation of your sprinklers must be based on correct determination of the available water pressure. Your installer will take into account your planned watering schedule and projected changes in water pressure in your neighborhood. On larger properties, the installer may recommend increasing the size of the water meter. The cost of installing a larger meter may be offset by savings on extra valves and piping. If the governing utility in your area will not permit you to install a larger meter, your system can be designed with the existing meter.
4. Will your design and equipment help me save water?
Your Weather-matic system will use the most efficient type of sprinklers and nozzles available to put just the right amount of water where it is needed. Your watering schedule will also be planned to minimize waste caused by runoff, wind drift and evaporation.
5. How deep should the pipe be laid? What kind of pipe will be used? Will it be laid in trenches or "pulled" into the ground?
Lateral piping should be as deep as the height of an assembled sprinkler head, fitting and nipple. In the South this is usually a minimum of 6 to 8 inches. Main-line pipes should be 8 to 10 inches deep. Excessive depth makes repairs difficult, while extremely shallow installation may interfere with turf maintenance and result in damage to pipes or wiring. One of two types of pipe are in common use: Polyvinylchloride (PVC)and Polyethylene (PE). Both are serviceable, but whichever is used, it should be clearly marked as approved by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). Both trenching and "pulling" are acceptable methods of installation.
6. What do you do to avoid damaging existing landscaping?
Your Weather-matic installer can design a system that will not require moving existing plants. It may require some hand excavation. If your property is not yet landscaped, the installer will work closely with your landscaper.
7. Which is better, a manual or an automatic system?
Most residential lawn sprinkler systems are now installed with an automatic control so that your lawn and landscaping will stay healthy and green whether you're home or away. Except for very small areas, the difference in cost is usually insignificant.
8. Is the controller easy to read and program? Is it flexible enough to handle my watering needs without being overly complicated?
Weather-matic lawn sprinkler controllers are designed for easy operation, flexible watering schedules, and long, trouble-free operation. You have a choice of electro-mechanical or the latest in microcomputer technology. Your installer can demonstrate both types of controllers for you and recommend the unit which can best accomodate your system requirements and budget.
9. Will I be able to set the controller to comply with water rationing regulations if necessary?
During water shortages you may be restricted to watering on certain days and during low-demand hours--usually at night. Your Weather-matic controller can be set to conform to these restrictions, including watering while you sleep.
10. Where should I put the controller? Is it waterproof?
Your Weather-matic controller can be located wherever installation and operation are convenient. Normally that would be in your garage. However, Weather-matic has models approved for outdoor installation if desired. Of course, the installation will be in accordance with local electrical codes and utilizing a non-switched circuit connection.
11. Are the remote-control valves reliable?
The remote-control valves are the "heart" of your automatic system. Responding to commands from the controller, each valve will open and close more than 100 times during an average watering season. Weather-matic valves feature the finest plastics and corrosion-resistant metal components to insure that they work for you day after day, week after week, year after year.
12. What kind of wire will be used for the remote control valves? How are the connections made?
Since the valves operate on a safe low voltage, local electrical codes normally do not apply to their wiring. Except for larger projects, 18-gauge, single strand, underground burial wire is recommended. All valve wiring connections must be waterproofed. Ask your contractor to show you samples of wiring and waterproof connectors they will use.
13. Can my system have an automatic override that keeps it from watering unnecessarily when there is enough rain?
Yes, a rain sensing station is available that senses heavy rainfall and shuts off power to the valves. The program you set in the controller is not disturbed, and your system will begin watering again on schedule when additonal water is required.
14. Are all pop-up spray sprinklers alike?
All pop-up spray sprinklers are definitely not alike! Weather-matic manufactures a selection of spring retraction sprinklers for low or high cut turfgrass and ground cover applications. All Weather-Matic sprinklers are made with the finest plastic and stainless steel springs and are designed for many years of reliable service. Weather-matic brass nozzling offers the designer an almost infinite variety of arcs, angles, flows and precipitation patterns for custom designing your system.
15. What about rotary sprinklers?
Sprinklers that turn while throwing out a stream of water are best suited to large open areas--areas where pure economics or low gallonage water supplies make fixed spray sprinklers impractical. The area of coverage will vary with model and available water pressure. Some models are suitable for open areas in residential systems. Rotary and spray sprinklers are often combined in the same system. Separate remote control valves and controller station timing will be used to control variations in rate of application that exists between sprays and rotary spinklers. Weather-matic manufactures both gear and impact-driven rotary sprinklers.
16. What kind of risers will be used for shrub or ground cover areas?
In open areas of high foot traffic or auto traffic, such as along driveways, sidewalks, etc., or in the middle of beds where fixed risers would be unsightly, your installer will recommend use of Weather-matic extra-high rise retractable sprinklers. In areas where traffic or aesthetics are not a problem, shrub heads may be mounted on fixed risers.
17. Will all the components of my system come from a single manufacturer?
Your integrated Weather-matic system will have companion Weather-matic remote control valves and controller. Your installer will also design your system with our matched performance full- and part-circle lawn and shrub sprinklers and/or rotary sprinklers. Weather-matic does not manufacture pipe, fittings or valve wiring. Your installer will select these components from quality local suppliers. In addition, your Weather-matic system will have backflow prevention in accordance with your local plumbing code.
18. Will the quoted price for my system include all extras such as the required backflow prevention devices, meter changeout (if required), permits, taxes, etc.?
Yes, your Weather-matic installer will quote a price for a turnkey job.
19. What about after-the-sale service?
Your Weather-matic installer has trained service staff and access to an inventory of the parts necessary for prompt service. You will probably want to ask about the benefits of pre-scheduled maintenance.
20. Is there a possibility of freeze damage to my system?
It depends on your geographic location. In cold climates where the ground may freeze to a considerable depth, your installer will probably recommend automatic drain valves and having the system blown out with compressed air for winterization. It is also a good idea to check your system before turn-on in the Spring. If the freeze line in your area is shallow, your Weather-matic installer will bury your pipes and valves deep enough to prevent their freezing. Sprinklers and above-ground shrub heads can be protected with automatic drain valves when necessary.
21. Will my system be warranted? Who backs up the warranty?
All Weather-matic components are warranted by Weather-matic. Your installer can advise you about warranties on the pipe, fittings, wiring and warranty on service labor.
22. Can I get names of other customers who have had their systems for more than a year?
Your Weather-matic installer will be proud to give you local references. The best are from customers who have used their systems for at least one season, because it may take several months of use before problems owing to inferior components, improper design or faulty installation become evident.
23. Should my new shrubs be watered as often as the sod?
New shrubs should be watered daily for the first two weeks. After that, they should be watered, depending on the temperature, rain, sun, shade, etc. 2-3 times per week.
24. Should I hire a lawn/shrub treatment company to treat for insects, weeds, fungus, etc.?
Yes, Pettys highly recommends a regular treatment contract with a quality applicator.
25. How often should I fertilize?
A balanced fertilizer with a slow release form of nitrogen such as 13-13-13 stems better overall results at establishment, and then us a 3-1-2 (i.e. 21-7-4) at 5lbs per 1,000/SF. As a general rule, fertilizer takes place two times a year (spring and early fall) on St. Augustine & Zoysia. On Bermuda, use 3-1-2 at 5lbs per 1,000/SF in the spring and fall with an additional Nitrogen application of 21-0-0 at 2lbs per 1,000/SF in early June. These are general recommendations that can change due to weather conditions, quality desired and landscape use. If using any products, read and follow all label directions. The amounts of N, P & K in commercial fertilizers are represented on the bags by the analysis. Three numbers separated by dashes, for example 10-10-10, express the analysis. There is a common misconception that these numbers represent the amount of N, P & K. Actually, the fertilizer analysis represents the percentage by weight of N, P & K found in the bag. Nitrogen always is the first number, phosphorous always is the second number and potassium always is the last number. Ironite should be applied according to label instructions at least once in May & preferably again in August. This combined with fertilizing will result in dark green thick turf.
26. How often should I mow my lawn?
Generally sod should be mowed every 7-10 days depending on sod type and time of season. Best results are noticed if you mow a little shorter in the spring (1 ½”), and a little taller in the summer (2”). This will help insulate sod during the summer and fall, also promoting new growth in the spring and early summer.
27. When can I mow & fertilize my new sod?
Once sod has taken root (about 2-3 weeks), you may mow & fertilize your new sod. For best results, use a balanced fertilizer with a slow nitrogen release.
28. How often do I water my new sod?
The first two weeks after installation is extremely important for proper establishment of sod. Sod should be watered daily, or often enough to keep the sod moist for approximately two weeks. Foot traffic should be kept to a minimum for the first two weeks, and once the roots have taken hold, watering can be cut back to help establish a deeper root system. A general rule for watering after initial rooting stage is about 1 inch per week, generally 3 times a week for 15 minutes on spray stations, and 30-45 minutes on rotor stations is sufficient, however, this may vary with climate, sun and shade conditions on your property. During prime growing months (April - September), sod will require approximately 1 inch of water per week. During the winter months, this amount should be adequate enough for approximately a 2-3 week period. Don’t forget to make sure your sod is moist before a freeze during winter months to help protect the root system.