Frequently Asked Sprinkler Questions
Affordable Lawn Sprinklers & Lighting Frequently asked Questions
How long have you been in business?
We incorporated in January 2002.
How many customers do you have?
We have installed and maintain over 2000 customers.
How should I go about getting quotes for a sprinkler system?
Research, research, research. I receive dozens of phone calls a year from potential customers who ask if I can leave a quote in their mailbox and I decline. We pride ourselves on providing a great experience from the very first phone call to our first meeting to design your system. We strive to build a customer base of homeowners who value quality versus cheap price. Our customers demand great service. If you want professional service from start to finish, you can’t expect it from the lowest bidder. If you are looking for a great experience, you need to take the time with each bidder and understand the following:
· Is their design well thought out – the designer should be asking questions such as, “Do you want to water the entire property”, “Do you want to water your front yard a different amount of time than the back and/or side”, “Do you want to water your shrubs the same amount of time as your grass”.
· Reliable scheduling – you should evaluate how important it is for the contractor to begin and finish the project in a timely fashion. The most common complaint in the contractor business is delays. You should expect your project to be finished in 2 days if your property is less than one acre.
· Professional supervision – you are paying a company a significant amount of money to do a professional job. It is important the chosen contractor employs both a professional project manager and experienced employees.
· Responsive service – you need to find a company that stands behind its product and will service your needs in a professional way.
Contrary to popular belief, things such as the “brand of the parts” or “number of zones” are the least important factor in choosing a contractor. You need to find a professional contractor who will provide you with the best value, not price.
Will your estimate provide a drawing of my sprinkler design?
Yes, our sales representatives have been through a thorough training program to ensure our customers get the right design for their property. We provide a hand drawn design for all of our potential customers so they can visualize their system before they invest a penny. Customers should request this from each contractor. Here are some things you should look for:
a. How far apart are the sprinkler heads spaced? (Does the system provide head to head coverage?)
b. How many rotor and spray heads per zone?
c. Where are you going to install the valve boxes?
d. Are the valves going to be protected by a Green protective box for easy access in the future?
What will my yard look like after the installation?
We tell our customer to expect blemishes in their property to be visible for 4-6 weeks. In areas like Loudon County, were soil content tends to be rocky, customers should expect to end up with some uneven spots. We recommend customers to purchase bags of topsoil and grass seed ahead of time. We will backfill and reseed the areas we worked in that created noticeable blemishes. Make sure you purchase a high quality bag of grass seed that is consistent with the grass you currently have. Also during the dry hot months of summer, we recommend our customers to water there yards heavily prior to the installation (this softens the dirt and permits the machine to put the pipe in the yard easier).
Do you have a full time service technician?
Yes, we have 5 full time employees dedicated solely to providing outstanding service. We believe having a full-time service technician is essential to providing outstanding customer service. This is something many companies can’t offer and you will see a dramatic difference in the quality of service. Lawn sprinkler systems are put through rigorous wear and tear. Most systems are in use over 400 hours per year. They are exposed to the natural elements (heavy rainfalls, extreme heat, freezing cold, etc). In addition, most customers landscaping plans change over time so it is important to choose a company that documents the layout of your system so they can send the service tech with the right supplies and tools to properly alter your system as your landscaping requires. Providing outstanding customer service is our commitment to you.
Do you have an office manager?
We conducted interviews worldwide for an individual who would provide our customers first class service. After a long search, we found the perfect fit. We recruited Carl LaFrance from Paris France to serve as our liaison between our customers and our service technician. Carl is available Monday through Friday from 8 am til 4 pm. Except for our peak months of April and November, you will generally be greeted and quickly scheduled within an hour of your initial call by Carl.
Do you carry insurance and is that important?
Yes, we have a very comprehensive insurance program. We have the following insurance protection:
• General Liability (covered up to $1,000,000)
• Workers Compensation on every employee
• Auto Insurance
Unfortunately, there are some lawn sprinkler companies that do not carry insurance and the risk is transferred to the owner should any problem arise or if an employee is hurt. We highly recommend you validate they carry a comprehensive insurance program.
Do you offer a warranty?
We offer a warranty for two years from the installation date.
Do you offer an extended warranty?
How much will a lawn sprinkler system cost?
It is difficult to give you an exact price for your project without meeting with you personally and reviewing your properties needs. Here are a few things that can affect your pricing: shape of your property (squares and rectangles are cheaper than pipe stems and trapezoids), amount of landscaping, terrain (rocky soil or areas with a large number of tree roots), and hardscaping (driveways, patios, walkways).
How do I prevent my system from watering in the rain?
We can install a rain sensor to your lawn sprinkler system. This device will deactivate your sprinkler system after ½ inch of rainfall.
What is a backflow preventer?
A backflow preventer’s purpose is to protect your drinking water from the possible contaminants from your lawn. Think of the how an inflatable raft works, you can blow air in, but no air can escape. The backflow works the same way, water can feed into your sprinkler system, but it cannot return back to your drinking water. This is a required device for ALL installations in Northern Virginia.
Poly Pipe vs. PVC
Although you will find a mixture of companies using both types of material in the Northern Virginia area, we feel Poly Pipe is a superior product. Poly pipe is a more flexible pipe that expands and contracts during the winter. PVC is recommended for warmer areas such as Florida, Georgia, California, etc. Poly Pipe is recommended for areas susceptible to long freezes. If you go to North Carolina, you will find all companies using PVC. If you go to Pennsylvania, you will find all companies using Poly Pipe. Northern Virginia is in the middle and that is why you find a mixture of both. We double clamp all our connections to prevent possible leakage.
Rainbird vs Hunter
This has been a hot topic for debate for years, very similar to trying to decide whether Bud Light taste better than Miller Light, truth is most people could never tell the difference if you hid the sprinkler device from view. We feel both companies offer great products, this is why we are willing to customize your order. Often the quality level is more important than the brand name and both companies have different quality products. Think of Toyota, they manufacture the Tercel, Camry and Avalon. Make sure you are always getting the highest quality parts from both companies.
Will the water from my landscaping spray heads, hit the foundation of my house?
This is another area we are very unique. We stagger are spray heads (some heads in front of the bed facing the house and other heads at the base of the house spraying away) for two reasons: 1) It eliminates water shadowing (where plants/shrubs block water from hitting other plants) and 2) It reduces the amount of overspray on the foundation of your house. Typically, it will increase the cost of the total system, but it is the best application for your landscaping today and tomorrow. Nothing is worse than returning from a summer vacation and finding expensive landscaping dead from lack of water.
What is the recommended watering schedule?
Without knowing your property, it is difficult to recommend the perfect watering schedule for everyone. But here is good starting point:
a. Calculate the total time needed to water your entire property (take a sheet of paper, write down the time you will be watering each zone, add up the total time)
b. Evaluate what time your family begins using the water source in the morning (showers, dishwasher, laundry machine, etc). Take this time, subtract the total time needed to water your lawn and there is your recommended water time for your residence. We don’t recommend watering at night due to the possibility of getting fungus.
c. We recommend watering spray zones less minutes per week than rotors due to the constant water flow on spray. During the fall and spring, we recommend watering shrubs 2 x’s per week for 5-10 minutes, during the peak of summer, try watering a little bit longer.
d. For rotors, we recommend watering in the fall and spring 2-3x’s per week for 15-25 minutes. During the summer, you should probably add 20-30 more minutes for each watering session.
Please note, these are only recommended watering times, the best way to ensure the best program is to closely monitor your plants and lawn. If you find your plants and lawn starting to dry out or brown, you should add minutes. If you find your lawn to be really mushy and soggy, turn the watering time down. If you have a professional lawn care company, we would recommend asking them to offer you a recommended water solution for your property.
How much maintenance is required with a sprinkler system?
Maintenance is important to ensure the system continually runs smooth. The most important service is the Fall Turn Off and the Spring Turn On. In the fall, we are available to blow all the water out of the system to eliminate the risk of freezing pipes over the winter months. We also remove any pieces that have the potential to freeze and crack. In the spring, we turn the system back on, evaluate each zone, adjust heads and reset the control box. Please check out our service section for details on our Annual Service Agreement.
Will an automatic sprinkler system use more water than I’m currently using?
Well that depends if you are currently watering your lawn and shrubs. If you are, then no. Many customers have found decreases in their water bill after installing a lawn sprinkler system.
Should I install a separate water meter for my sprinkler system?
If you are a resident in Northern Virginia then you will not need a separate meter for your lawn sprinkler system. The water authorities in Northern Virginia use your average water sewage rate during winter months and apply this rate for your summer months. This is a logical solution to avoid having to pay sewage for the water you use outside your home during the warmer months.
Does having a sprinkler system really save time?
Yes. You won't have to spend another minute of your valuable leisure time watering the lawn. Your new system will do all the watering for you - even when you're away from home.
Will you know where my underground utilities are located?
Before we begin working on any property, we will contact Ms Utility of Virginia 72 hours before we begin your project to mark the following utility lines: water line will be marked in blue, gas will be marked in yellow, power will be marked in red, and cable and phone will be marked in orange. Typically, the cable and phone lines are the only shallow utility lines, they are often only 2-3” deep in the ground. As a measure of precaution from hitting your cable or phone lines, we will hand dig around all utility lines. But, there are no guarantees that you phone or cable line won’t be damaged. There is no way to guarantee that the line was accurately marked or we won’t hit the line hand digging with a pick and shovel. If a utility line is hit, our project manager will promptly inform you and instruct you on how to resolve the issue. Typically the cable and phone companies are very reactive in providing great service and schedule a service tech to your property right away and do not charge a fee.