Irrigation System FAQ’s


How To Measure Flow Rate

The flow rate of your water supply determines how much water you have available for your irrigation system and is commonly measured in Gallons per Minute (GPM).

The greater the rate of flow of water, the more drip emitters you can put on a single watering zone.
To measure your flow rate you’ll need a 5-gallon bucket. Fully open your Faucet and record how many seconds it takes to fill the 5-gallon bucket. Then calculate the flow rate to determine Gallons per Minute as follows: (5 gallons ÷ X seconds) X 60 seconds/minute = Gallons per Minutes (GPM)

 Example: If it takes 80 seconds to fill your 5-gallon bucket. The formula is: (5 gallons ÷ 80 seconds) X 60 seconds/minute = 3.75 GPM

Before starting your project you must also take into account the Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) of your water source. This is quite easy to do with a pressure gauge attached to your main water source.

The PSI is an important number to be aware of as it will allow you to calculate the length of your main line and the amount of water pressure lost to do friction.

What is a Valve?

A valve is used to control the flow of water and comes in many different varieties depending on its use (see types of valves below). On an irrigation system the solenoid valve is generally connected to the controller through a group of wires.

The controller then sends a signal to open or close the valve during the irrigation cycle. When the valve is open it allows water to flow through the valve and activates the sprinkler zones.

Types of Valves Supplied Include:

  • Ball Valve for on/off control without pressure drop
  • Check Valve or non-return valve, allows the fluid to pass in one direction only
  • Double Check Valve consists of two check valves assembled in series
  • Gate Valve mainly for on/off control, with low pressure drop
  • Globe Valve good for regulating flow
  • Solenoid Valve used with irrigation system to activate sprinklers

What is an Irrigation Controller?

An Irrigation Controller is a programmable device which is used to operate automated irrigation systems. It can also be referred to as timer, clock, or controller. The controller allows for efficient management of the sprinkler system from one central location. The controller sends an electrical signal to the sprinkler valves which causes them to open and close which allows the valves to let water through to the individual sprinkler heads.

What is a Sprinkler?

Sprinklers are basically the point where the water sprays from the system and are generally installed in groups, and a group of sprinklers are commonly referred to as a watering zones or simply “zones”.

Each irrigation valve controls the sprinklers in a zone. It is best to design your sprinkler layout to accommodate for different types of plants (grass, trees, vegetables, etc) and weather conditions (sun, shade, and wind). Since water output varies with the type of sprinkler installed, be sure to group similar sprinkler types together on the same zone.

Sprinklers are available in a variety of different types and spray distance from 5 feet to 50 feet and in full circle to half circle as well as many other spray ratios and configurations.