Customers Corner

Welcome

The Naturescape Design team takes great pride in how we have developed wonderful relationships with our customers during more than three decades of doing business. We always have and always will value the personal contact that we have with our clients and are readily available to assist them with their questions or any issues that may arise. This section of our website is available to both old and new customers to provide quick answers and solutions to some of the common questions that we encounter on a regular basis that can be answered on a general basis. This is also the area where customers might find assistance with payment and scheduling information (coming soon).

We Have the Answers

FAQ

We quote based on the number of zones on the property and location.

For the activation, we need access to the clock and water supply, so we usually need to meet someone on site. For winterization we need access to the clock, water supply and any inside drain so again, someone may be needed to meet us on site.

An audit is a look at the progression of your system over a few years. Sometimes due to landscaping changes or growth, the “original” positioning of the sprinkler heads may no longer be effective. Similarly, there may be areas that did not require irrigation in the past, but now they do. Operational pieces such as controllers and sensors are also checked to determine whether or not they meet your present landscaping requirements. After an audit, our team will make recommendations, if needed as to what changes might be considered. There is no charge for an audit as it is solely an evaluation – no repairs are made. These are most often done for our new customers or for customers who we have served for a while whose system may not have kept up with changes in pathways, turf and plant positioning. An inspection involves checking and testing your system to ensure full functionality. Repairs and adjustments are made if the need is discovered during an inspection and standard time and material charges will apply.

Often they will, but not necessarily always. Most of our technicians have been with us for many years and usually cover some of the same homes annually. Emergencies, sickness, or departures from our company can and do happen and in those instances, there may be a short or long term change in a given technician’s area coverage. For these reasons, we keep a detailed record of the essential components of your system. This way, any service tech will be able to properly service your system.

An RPZ is a backflow device that must be inspected annually by a CCCDI certified plumber. Procedures and deadlines on this vary between municipalities. To learn more about RPZ’s and our certification process, please see our Q&A, The ABC’s of Backflow Prevention. Generally, we try to schedule certifications for RPZ’s that are inside during the winter and early spring. RPZ’s that are outdoors are typically scheduled after the system has been started. If you have any specific questions about RPZ certification scheduling, please call 847-639-6900.

In the spring we start calling customers once the weather has gotten warm enough but if you ever want a start-up before you hear from us feel free to give us a call to get on the schedule. It’s the same for shutdowns – feel free to call us at any time if you don’t hear from us before you would like to be scheduled.

We service all makes and models. That is not to say that we will replace parts on your existing system with products from the same manufacturer, but we assure you that it will be comparable or an improvement.

As for our installation mix, we select the top performing product in each category and not necessarily the same manufacturer’s line. After 30 plus years in the industry, we have had the opportunity to use a variety of different manufacturer’s parts and have developed a mix of very reliable, well made products.

Numerous money-saving smart sensors and controllers are available for your system. There are also nozzles that can be changed that offer reduced flow of water. For smart recommendations, it is best to meet with an irrigation professional that can show you the array of options available. For more information, click on, SAVING WATER IS THE BEST WAY TO SAVE MONEY.

If you have a display on the controller and the manual operation mode seems to be working properly, try bypassing the rain sensor. It may be possible that the sensor is wet, a wire is broken. Or, if you don’t have a sensor, a jumper at the terminal may be missing. If you still are without water, check to see that the supply is open. The next operation is to check if the terminals are beginning to age; that check should be performed by a technician.

Naturescape Design

”WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?”

IRRIGATION AND LIGHTING TERMINOLOGY CAN BE CONFUSING, SO HERE’S A GLOSSARY OF USEFUL TERMS AND WORDS

The process to prepare the system at the start of the season. This includes shutting off all drains and/or "Quick-Connect" valves. Open the main water supply and check for leaks. Turn on the clock/controller(s) and set the correct time, watering schedule, watering duration time per zone, and battery back-up, if applicable. Test each zone, from the clock, for proper operation and adjust the spray heads for freeness of operation and for the proper spray pattern. Advise the property owner if there is a need to repair or replace any damaged or defective parts and the costs associated with their replacement.

states that as the speed of a moving fluid increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. Decreasing the size of the pipe will not create more water pressure, it does just the opposite. Making the pipe smaller and trying to force the same amount of water through it means that the water must travel faster (higher velocity) to squeeze through that smaller pipe. See it for yourself: Click here.

A small piece used to connect two pipes of different sizes together. A standard reducer bushing has one male end (for the larger pipe) and one female connection (for the smaller pipe).

RPZ or Reduced Pressure Vacuum Breaker is a cross connect device that connects the main water supply to the sprinkler system. Illinois State law requires that all reduced pressure vacuum breakers have an annual test and certification. This certification, done by a licensed cross connect plumber, shows that the RPZ has been tested and is operating properly. All reports are submitted to the city or their agent and customers are provided with a copy as well.

"to grab" or "to bind." – this is a particular way that ions and molecules bind metal ions through the formation or presence of two or more separate coordinate bonds. Usually these are organic compounds, called chelants, chelators, chelating agents, or sequestering agents.

Controllers (also called sprinkler timers), are devices that control when your sprinklers turn on and how long they run. The controller is the brain of your sprinkler system. They send electric signals to the valves, which regulate the flow of water to the sprinkler system - these signals tell the valves to open or close and allow water to run through the sprinklers.

Any type of irrigation system that applies water to the soil very slowly, thus the name "drip" irrigation. Currently this is the most efficient irrigation technology in terms of both water and energy use. Also known as Trickle Irrigation.

Typically performed during mid-summer. Check on the clock / controller(s) to verify the correct time, watering schedule, watering duration time per zone, and battery back-up, if applicable. Each zone is tested from the clock, for proper operation; spray heads adjusted for freeness of operation and for the proper spray pattern. Advise the property owner if there is a need to repair or replace any damaged or defective parts and the costs associated with their replacement.

The name given to the pipes which go from the control valves to the sprinklers or drip emitter tubes.

The mainline is all the pipes between the water source (POC) and the irrigation zone control valves. Another definition is that mainline is any pipe that is always pressurized with water.

This is the small piece at the top of the sprinkler head that determines the water’s pattern and distance of distribution.

A mechanical pump in which pressure is provided by the movement of a constriction along a tube, similar to biological peristalsis.

The standard name used in the irrigation industry to describe the point where the irrigation system taps into a water supply; essentially the “start” of the irrigation system. It is standard industry practice to label the location of the water source on irrigation plans with the letters “POC”.

PSI

Abbreviation for the term, "pounds per square inch".

PVC

Abbreviation for poly-vinyl-chloride. A type of plastic used to make water pipe. Usually white in color but sometimes is gray, brown, tan, or purple. If it's purple it means "reclaimed water", the water in it is not potable.

A transmitter and receiver that come with or can be added to work with most lawn sprinkler system controllers. The remote control is helpful when doing work or maintenance on the sprinkler system, or if the owner wishes to operate the controller from a remote location. Spring check-ups and maintenance can be much easier as zones can be turned on and off without walking back and forth to the timer.

This is a backflow device which is installed to prevent backsiphonage and or backpressure into a home water supply. This is the device prescribed by most national, state and local codes to protect drinking water cross-connections with non-potable applications from an irrigation system. Backflow devices other than RPZ’s which are connected to a home irrigation system are usually not compliant with code and should be replaced. These devices include, Atmospheric Vacuum Breakers (AVB’s), Anti-Siphon Valves, Pressure Vacuum Breakers (PVB’s) and Double Check Type Backflow Preventers.

Devices that automatically adjust the system's functionality when changes in the weather such as wind, temperature or rain occur. Some controllers have these built in while others require an add-on device for such tracking.

This is the mechanism where the water departs the system and is applied to the desired area such as a lawn or garden. Sprinkler heads come in a variety of sizes, shapes, models, and brands, but most of these variations fit into four main categories:

  • Pop-up sprinkler heads - Probably the most widely used irrigation head; pop-ups are typically used for residential and small commercial sprinkler systems. There are two types of pop-up heads; stationary sprays and rotating heads, called rotors. Pop-up spray heads are designed to supply a continuous stream of water, and are fitted with a nozzle.
  • Impact rotors - These provide single or multiple streams of water to the landscape and distribute water in an arc pattern typically ranging from 40 to 360 degrees. They are designed to cover a larger area than a pop-up spray head would; the spray radius for most rotors is 20 to 150 feet with a precipitation rate between 0.1 to 1.5 inches per hour, so they are more suitable for larger properties. Impact rotors are often made of bronze or brass and may cost twice as much as a plastic, gear driven rotor. But, they can last for years, and have a much longer “field life” than plastic rotors.
  • Gear-driven rotors - These are some of the most commonly used sprinkler heads for medium- to large-scale sprinkler systems. Advantages over impact rotors include low cost, quiet operation, and versatility. They typically require less maintenance because the enclosed body design prevents clogging of the drive mechanism from dirt and other debris. Best suited to small commercial sites or large residential areas, gear-driven rotors work better than pop-up spray heads in areas with slopes or clay because their lower precipitation rate increases water absorption.
  • Large turf rotors – Typically these are used at golf courses, parks, and certain commercial properties. These rotors require an operating pressure of 50 to 100 psi, and can cover radii up to 100 ft. with flows as high as 80 gallons per minute.

A fitting used to branch a side pipe off of a pipeline (shaped like a “T”).

Most valves have the same fundamental function; they are devices that control the passage of fluid through a pipe or duct. Isolation valves are used to shut-off water for repairs. Control valves turn on and off the water to the individual circuits of sprinklers or drip emitters. Check valves allow the water to flow in only one direction. Master valves are located at the water source and turn on and off the water for the entire irrigation system when not in use. There are three basic ways that these valves operate. Manual control valves are simple; the valve has a handle that you use to turn it on and off using your hand. Remote control valves are either electric or hydraulic operated using a timer or other signaling device to tell them to open and close. The electric solenoid valve operates on 24 volt alternating current (vac) and is turned on and off by the controller.

For the zone control (solenoid) valve in the diagrams below, water enters the valve from the system main line and exerts a force against the center of the valve’s diaphragm.

The key components are:

  1. Valve bonnet
  2. Flow control handle
  3. Bleed screw
  4. Solenoid

Key internal components include:

  1. Diaphragm seat
  2. Diaphragm
  3. Diaphragm seat

(Diagrams courtesy of Hunter Industries)

A small orifice in the diaphragm allows the water to flow through to the upper chamber between the diaphragm and the bonnet. The water continues to travel on through a port in the bonnet to the solenoid area. The solenoid has a light spring loaded metal piston that, when the valve is closed, covers the inlet port hole. The surface area that the water comes in contact with on top of the diaphragm is greater than the surface area on the bottom of the diaphragm, so the valve stays closed until the water in the upper chamber is released.

This is the process to prepare the system for winter dormancy. The main water supply is turned off. Then all manual drains and/or "Quick-Connect" valves are opened. Bleed valves are opened if the backflow preventer is of the pressure type (PVB). If the backflow preventer is of the reduced pressure type (RPZ), then it is removed and put in a warm place such as the basement or garage. If the system is not self-draining, then compressed air is used to blow out all of the water in the system; the highest elevated zones are blown out first, progressing to the lowest elevated zones. The applied air is regulated and does not exceed 90 PSI.

** NOTE: In order to winterize a system, it must be in complete working condition. If not, a proposal will be provided to the property owner to bring the system to a condition in which a proper winterization can be completed.

An area where the irrigation is all controlled by a single control valve. Each valve zone must be within only one hydrozone.

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