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17 Ways to Extend Your Well Pump's Lifespan  

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
Garden Well

Repairs and replacements of water well equipment is typically expensive. Below are some basic steps you can take to maximize the life of your well, water pump, and pump motor.

1. Check Valves

Install check valves to protect your water pump from losing prime and being forced to work to regain prime. Normally, a check valve should be in place for every 250 feet of deep well depth. Even shallow wells should have a check valve (or foot valve).

Most pumps have an integrated check valve. However, installing an additional check valve at the topside of your well or along the well pipe can reduce the load on the internal valve of your water pump and extends water pump life.

2. Low Water Cutoff

Have a low water cutoff installed in order to protect your well pump motor against overheating in case the water level drops.

3. Smart Tank

Preserve your water pump by reducing its cycling rate by using a smart tank or another device for water pressure regulation.

4. Amperage and Temperature

If the pump motor feels hot to touch, the water pump motor may be running hot. Check the motor draw (amperage) while the motor is running. If the amps being drawn are significantly over the amperage stipulated on the motor's data tag, there may be a wiring or mechanical issue requiring professional attention.

5. Pump Circuit Voltage

Check voltages available on your pump's motor circuit. Some motors can fail prematurely if forced to function at voltages below the voltage range for which they are designed. Normally, pump manufacturers specify that voltage must be within ten percent of specification.

6. Pump Installation

The submersible well pump must be installed sufficiently far away from the well bottom, in order to avoid drawing in dirt or debris that can damage the pump or impede its optimal operation.

7. Pump Mounting

Your well pump and all pipes must be protected from twisting that can be caused by the start-up of the motor. Have your system inspected to ensure every part of the system is properly secured.

8. Pump Maintenance

Perform pump maintenance and have inspections as needed. Replace bearings, impellers, and other internal parts as often as necessary (as early as four to five years from the time of installation). This can help prevent the premature need for a complete equipment replacement.

9. Pump Lubrication

Some well pump motors (above ground) require lubrication periodically. Use manufacturer's recommended oil, rated specially for electric motors. Caution: Do not lubricate a motor that was not designed to be lubricated.

10. Pump Noises

Listen to your water pump while it is running. If you notice increased motor noise, such as grinding or screeching, or whining, your motor or its mechanical parts may require urgent repair to prevent breakdown.

11. Sediment filter

A sediment filter may be necessary for above-ground water pumps. Most installers place a filter past the water pump, or the pressure tank instead of before these parts. But, if the sediment level is high, then it is advisable to place a sediment filter before the point at which water enters the water pump. This can significantly increase the life of your well pump in such cases.

12. Short cycling

There are lots of reasons that can cause your well pump to rapidly cycle on and off. It is important to maintain more consistent water pressure in the tank to prevent shortening the life of your water pump.

13. Water chemistry

Highly corrosive water can adversely impact the life expectancy of your water well pump's impeller and various other parts. Install a water treatment system to remove corrosive pollutants, if needed.

14. Water flow rate

Submersible pumps require adequate rate of water flow for adequate cooling. If flow rate is insufficient, or runs below specifications, the well pump life can be reduced.

15. Water temperature

If your water pump is handling hot water, for example, from a thermal spring, ensure that the incoming water temperature does not exceed your pump's rating. Forcing the pump to operate under temperatures that are too hot can shorten its life span.

16. Water Pipe Leaks

Check for leaks throughout your water pipe system to prevent excessive running of the well pump. This increased workload can shorten the life of the pump. Symptoms of pipe leaks include leaks in the well itself or air in faucets.

17. Heavy Use

Keep in mind that running a washing machine, dishwasher, multiple showers, filling a swimming pool or pond keep the well pump continuously running. Punishing your well pump by extremely heavy use constantly over time can significantly shorten the life of your well pump, or even damage the motor.

For More Information

For more information about how to maintain your water well system, contact Irrigation Outlet to speak to one of our water well maintenance experts to discuss the specifics of your particular water well.

3 Effective Ways to Prevent Standing Water on Your Porch/Patio  

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
Woman Enjoying Her Patio

Puddles of rain water on your patio, especially up against your house, can damage plants, furniture and can cause very expensive problems with decay and pests. Here are several of the most commonly used ways to protect your patio from standing water.

1. Install a Channel Drain.

Channel drains provide one of the most effective solutions, and, they're among the most economical alternatives. Installing a channel drain is a straightforward process.

1. Remove a section of stone or concrete from your patio, at the location where the standing water occurs.

2. Install the channel drain and the grate cover in the trench you have created in your patio surface.

3. After installing the channel drain, backfill around the drain with concrete. Trowel the concrete to re-level the surface to its proper grade.

4. The channel drain will rely on gravity to send incoming through the drain, away from the patio.

Channel grates are available in a selection of colors to match your stone or concrete. And, these also come in various metals (such as cast iron or brass).

2. Insert Catch Basins.

Catch basins are effective in collecting surface water from your patio, driveway, or lawn.

1. Water falls through the openings of a grate covering the basin.

2. As water collects in the basin (also called a box), gravity works to send it through the pipe and away from the patio.

Install a filter in your catch basin to catch debris and stop it from obstructing the flow of water through the drain pipe.

3. Dig French Drains.

French drains installed along the perimeter of your patio, sidewalk, or other hardscaped area (or near your home's foundation) are effective in drying areas that problematically remain wet after rain has stopped. French drains are simple to create.

1. Dig a trench

2. Place a perforated pipe in the trench.

3. Use gravel or another coarse aggregate to backfill the trench.

4. Cover the drain with no more than 3-4 inches of topsoil and turf (sod).

The French drain establishes a well-draining space for water to readily leak into. Note: These drains are less effective than catch basins or channel drains in eliminating large amounts of water. French drains are most useful to dry out areas that stay wet for too long after rains have ended.

Additional preventive measures

Other measures you may consider for either quick temporary or permanent solutions to prevent standing water on your porch.

  • Install storm windows.
  • Install awnings.
  • Install Trench Drains.
  • Build in a floor slope.
  • Cover openings with plastic tarps.

For More Information

Before you decide to replace your porch or to undertake other major construction in order to correct a problem with standing water on your porch or patio, contact Irrigation Outlet to speak to an expert about alternative solutions for your specific situation.

6 Ways to Illuminate Your Yard with Landscape Lighting

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
Outdoor Lighting on Patio

Landscape and architectural lighting can be used to give an upscale appearance to your home's exterior. It's also a great double-duty safety and security feature, permitting safer footing on walkways, and rendering entries less inviting to unwanted visitors.

There are many ways to light your yard, either using accent lights to feature certain small points of interest or by using ambient lighting to illuminate wider areas. The information below is to help you start to develop your plans to install landscape lighting or improve your existing lighting.

Decide on your landscape lighting purposes.

Before you invest in any landscape lighting, ask yourself what your purposes are for wanting illumination in your backyard.

1. Romantic evening ambience

Create a soft effect by tucking landscape lights beneath shrubs.

2. Safer walkway

Use a series of small path lights along walks to prevent falls.

3. Enhanced water feature

Highlight a fountain with a spotlight. Use soft lights around edges of the pond.

4. Security for bench or dark corner

Add lighting sufficient for security to yard corner or bench side.

5. Occasional lighting for entertaining

Strategically place LED lights in trees and over and/or around patio structures to add ambience.

6. Showcase architectural or landscape features

Direct accent lights, floodlights, or combinations of the two to make your home and/or yard areas more visible from the street at night.

Draw a lighting schematic of your yard and desired lighting placements.

After you decide on your lighting purposes throughout your home's exterior areas, consider each space and exterior feature which you may want to illuminate including: driveways, walkways, entryways, stairs, decks, patios, paths, trees, shrubs, flowerbeds, mailboxes and water features.

Combine lighting styles for visual interest.

Achieve a fuller, more cohesive and aesthetically appealing lighting design by combining several of the following lighting types and purposes.

  • Use ambient lighting to illuminate the entire landscape.
  • Use task lighting to accomplish purposes in specific areas.
  • Use accent lights to feature architectural or landscape elements.

Watch out for light pollution.

The intended effects of your lighting scheme can be overpowered and ruined by:

  • Positioning lights in ways that shine directly into pedestrian's eyes, or into neighboring windows.
  • Using lighting that is too strong, glaring, or washes out star light. Using glare guards or other lighting shield as necessary.
  • Be sure to use bulbs that operate on wattage levels that do not produce harsh lighting and instead emit a more elegant, pleasant appearance.

Choose your lighting types.

  • LED Landscape Lighting: Halogen lights have been largely replaced by LED lights for landscape lighting over recent years. LED lights last much longer than any other landscape lights (up to 100,000 hours), and they're exceptionally durable, withstanding shock and severe weather. And, they're incomparably versatile, featuring dimmers for added dimension to your lighting scheme.
  • Solar lighting: Solar lights do not require professional installation, and are otherwise very inexpensive to use.

For More Information

For more information about exterior lighting for your home contact Irrigation Outlet to speak to one of our experts in residential lighting strategies and products. We are here to answer all of your questions and to help you realize your vision for your landscape lighting design.

3 Easy Fixes for your Drainage Problems

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
Dog in Puddle

Your lawn or garden shouldn't remind you of the wetlands. If you have standing water, you might have a drainage problem.

Luckily, drainage can often be solved with the right equipment and a little do-it-yourself elbow grease. Try these 3 easy fixes to solve your drainage problem.

1. Divert Excess Water

Analyze your yard to determine where the excess water is coming from. If it is trickling in from a particular location, such as a downspout or driveway, you may want to divert it. Drains, including channel drains, are an excellent way to divert excess water quickly and easily.

2. Install a Catch Basin

Set up a catch basin to trap water and debris. As water fills the basin, it runs out into a drainage pipe, directing excess water to a safe area. Other debris, such as mulch and leaves, remains in the basin - so don't forget to clean it out on occasion!

3. Use an Atrium Grate

Flat grates can sometimes get covered up by debris. Atrium grates stick up from the ground, which prevents them from being blocked. Combined with channel drains or catch basins, an atrium grate might be the ideal solution to your drainage problem.

Contact the Drainage Experts at Irrigation Outlet

Don't let standing water turn your lawn or garden into a swampy mess. Contact the experts at Irrigation Outlet with your questions. We'll help you solve your drainage problem today!

8 Tricks For Troubleshooting Your Sprinkler System

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
Woman fixing her sprinkler

Automatic sprinkler systems keep your grass nice and green during the sweltering months of summer. When well designed, they provide the right amount of water to all areas of your lawn, without requiring you to go out and move sprinklers. However, they can require maintenance or experience breakdowns just like any other system.

The good news is that you can fix most problems by yourself - without the bill from professional repair services or in-depth knowledge of sprinkler systems. Below are just a few quick fixes for some common sprinkler system issues:

Sprinkler Head Issues

Issues with sprinkler heads are easy to identify. The head's casing could be cracked or broken, heads may not pop-up when they are supposed to, or water may spray sporadically if at all. There are two ways to fix this problem quickly and easily:

  • Replace the broken sprinkler head
  • Clean out the heads and reset

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can stem from various malfunctions in the system, but all are easy to fix with the right tools.

  • Check backflow device:First, check that the valves are completely open at the backflow device.
  • Repair leaks: While more time-consuming, leaks are a simple fix. Find the leak and replace the damaged pipe with a slip-fix couplng.
  • Reroute obstructed pipes: Tree roots can grow around and through your pipes. If this happens and causes obstruction or leaks, simply reroute your piping, away from the tree roots.

Zone Malfunction

If you notice certain zones not working when your system is on, try these tricks.

  • Check the voltage to the bad zone: Using a multimeter, check the voltage for the zone that has stopped working and replace the controller if the voltage is low.
  • Check transformer and fuse: Connect your multimeter to the transformer. Most irrigation controller transformers should supply 27-28 volts AC.
  • Replace bad valve solenoids: Remove defective solenoid from the valve and replace them with new solenoids.
  • Irrigation Outlet can provide all of the tools and supplies you need to keep your sprinkler system running perfectly. If you have any questions or difficulties with the upkeep and maintenance of your sprinkler system, the professionals at Irrigation Outlet are happy to assist you. Feel free to contact us today.

3 Best Irrigation Systems for Your Garden

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
Irrigation

Water is vital to the health of plants, and watering your garden regularly is a must. However, watering by hand can quickly become a hassle. An irrigation system takes all of the pain out of keeping your plants nourished. If you are considering installing an irrigation system in your garden, it is important to determine which system will best suit your needs.

Soak Irrigation Systems

Soak irrigation systems get to the root of the problem - literally. Soaker hoses can be attached to regular hoses and placed around your garden. They work by slowly soaking the soils, and providing nourishment to the roots of your plants. If you have plants with a large amount of foliage, this is a great option for you, as it will cut down on disease issues. Soaker hoses also conserve more water than traditional methods while still watering a large area.

Drip Irrigation Systems

If you want to keep individual plants watered, such as squash or tomato plants, drip irrigation is a great choice. Instead of watering a large area of soil, a drip system has heads located by each plant to provide deep, slow irrigation. This method cuts down on water usage even more than the soak irrigation system and is a great option if you have hard water.

Spray Irrigation Systems

Spray irrigation is a great option for extremely large gardens, such as perennial plantings or ground covers. Sprinkler heads are interspersed throughout the garden and provide uniform coverage for your plants. Additionally, many sprinkler heads have an adjustable head so that you water your garden, not the sidewalk.

The irrigation system that is best for you depends on the size of your garden as well as the types of plants you have. If you have any questions about which system is best for you, feel free to contact us today.

7 Tips to Keep Your Outdoor Architectural Water Feature Algae-Free

Posted by: Irrigation Outlet
Air Filter

Algae overgrowth in fountains is not only unattractive but will also erode fountain components and clog pumps. These seven great tips can help keep your water fountain operating smoothly by eliminating algae growth:

1. Minimize Sunlight -- If possible, choose a shady area for your water fountain. Sunlight activates nutrients in water which promotes algae growth.

2. Use Algaecide -- Algae preventatives (algaecides) can help prevent algae growth in water fountains that do not contain plants or fish. However, it is important not to heavily use chemicals. The pump used to power the fountain may not able to withstand a large amount of harsh chemicals.

3. Check the Filter -- A clogged filter can cause your fountain to become an embarrassing buildup of debris. Consistent light maintenance can reduce the number of times your water feature requires a thorough cleaning, but the filter still needs to be checked regularly. Cleaning your filter often or switching to an automatic filter can help stunt algae growth.

4. Keep it Fresh -- Fountains can become a dumping ground for cigarette butts, gum, and trash which can provide nutrients for algae. Depending on the size of your fountain you will need to have it thoroughly cleaned once every one to three months. To be certain that algae does not have a chance to accumulate it is best to have the surfaces of the fountain scrubbed or power washed, and the filter cleaned.

5. Turn Off the Lights -- Algae needs 8-10 hours of light a day to grow. Turning off the lights on your fountain late at night, even if it doesn't get much sunlight during the day, can reduce the amount of algae that is able to grow.

6. Try Natural Cleaners --To keep in-ground water fountains algae-free, invest in natural algae eaters like pond snails, the common Plecostomus fish, Flying Fox fishes or Gold Nugget Plecos.

7. Clean feature surfaces -- Cleaning the surfaces of your feature monthly is important especially bowl fountains because algae will grow on the surface of these fountains regardless of the algaecides used to keep the water clear.

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