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Maintaining Irrigation Systems:an Interview with Greg Vinella of Ecosystems Landscape Services

By Greg Vinella

Tell us about your company and its foundation.

EcoSystems Landscape Services is an Austin, Texas based full service landscape management company. We specialize in landscape installation and maintenance, plus irrigation services, including installation and repairs. We provide these services for both commercial and residential clients. We also provide design work for our residential clients.

We believe in challenging the status quo. We believe that regardless of the price of our service or product it must be a good value. Our business was founded on one simple principle and that is, "Good business works both ways and it must be good for all parties whether it be our Customers, Venders, or Employees". Good business is good because it is good for all that are involved. This is another way we challenge the status quo!

Please briefly explain what an irrigation system is, and the concept behind it.

An automatic irrigation systems is a collection of underground valves, wires, piping and heads that are used to automatically water ones property. An irrigation system can be set to automatically water whether you are on property or away. You may need to water some areas more than others and if you are under any type of watering restrictions you can make the most of your watering day by setting your system to water in short cycles multiple times on your watering day. The repeated short cycles (three to five minutes) also helps to eliminate run off as the water has time to soak in between run times. Because the system is automatic you may water during the evening and early morning hours which will lesson evaporation.

How often should a homeowner check their irrigation system's pump and motor?

Our recommendation is monthly at least during the growing season. Most irrigation systems are tied into the potable water supply for the residence and run off of the pressure provided by your water supply and do not have a pump or motor. The only time a pump or motor might come into effect would be when the irrigation systems is connected to an underground well or a pond of some kind. In either case you would want to check the pump itself for proper operation as well as any inline filters as our hard water in central Texas can clog them up.

What are three tips for ensuring a working irrigation system, year round?

  • Install a rain/freeze sensor to ensure that water isn't wasted when or shortly after a rain event.
  • Visually inspect the system for pipe leaks, head leaks and overspray monthly by setting the irrigation controller to run each zone for two minutes which should be ample time to look at each head within a zone.
  • Replace the 9 volt backup battery every time the smoke detector batteries are replaced.
  • You may want to turn off the water to your system and drain the main line preceding a freeze event to ensure no freeze damage to your system if some pipes are not installed deep enough to insulate them from the freezing temperatures.

If an irrigation system is acting improperly, what do you suggest a homeowner doing?

Hire a licensed irrigation professional to diagnose and affect any needed repairs. This can save you time, water and money.

What is the best way to contact you and your business?

ECOSystems Landscape Services can be reached by phone at, 512/977-0052 or you may visit our website at, www.austineco.com.

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