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How much does it cost to maintain my irrigation system?

Irrigation systems are fairly inexpensive to maintain. Just like most things, regular maintenance is required.  Some you can do on your own while other maintenance requires a licensed and experienced contractor do the work.  

Maintaining Your Irrigation: Spring Time

$55 - $85

Spring, for the most part, is the time that typically requires the most maintenance.  Over the winter months, irrigation equipment can be damaged by snow removal equipment and heavy loads of snow.  

Heads around driveways and walkways often have broken nozzles or are directed in the wrong direction from snow shovels and snowblowers.  

Valve boxes are typically safe but can also be crushed from heavy loads of snow and ice.  Shoveling snow from the roof can also cause a valve box to get crushed from the speed at which the snow is being dumped from the roof.  

To have a licensed contractor turn on your irrigation system and make adjustments and minor repairs, you’re looking at a range from $55 - $85.  The price usually ranges by how many zones your irrigation system has.  

Maintaining Your Irrigation: Backflow Test

$55 -$85

Every year, the State of Oregon requires you to perform a backflow test and it is up to the water company you are purchasing water from to enforce that test.  All water companies have different rules so it is best to contact your water company to find out which devices you are responsible for testing.  

Maintaining Your Irrigation: Mid Season

$75 - ??

Some common problems that happen mid-season that would require you to contact a service professional:
  • Brown spots in the lawn
  • Watering the side of the house
  • A head not spraying
  • Watering the road
  • A head not rotating
  • A sprinkler zone will not turn on
  • The system will not stop watering
  • Noticed water running down hard surfaces
  • Pooling water
  • A sinkhole has developed
  • A nozzle is not spraying correctly
  • Power outage caused the controller to reset itself
  • Broken pipe caused by working in the yard
  • Broken head from the lawn mower and/or edger

While some of these problems can be fixed by an unskilled professional, it is well worth the investment of a service call to get someone to fix it correctly the first time.  Many times we have been called after one of two things happen:  Either the "gardener" tried to fix it and used incorrect parts, or the homeowner tried to save a couple of bucks and do it themselves.  

While all of these services can mean different costs due to the severity of the problem, you can probably expect to spend around $100 once parts are added to the labor costs.  

Expect to pay for a minimum of 1 hour of work for a service call.  To save your technician some time, you may want to proactively get a list of things together you’d like checked out. Some examples may be straightening a couple of heads, checking your controller’s programming, or raising a head that is too low.

Maintaining Your Irrigation: Winterization (Blowout the Sprinklers)

$70 - ??

Much like  spring services, your winterization is usually based on the size of your system.  Some have a 4 station base price while others have a 5 station base price.  Pricing structure can vary greatly based on the company and the service level they provide.  

In the State of Oregon, only licensed irrigation and plumbing contractors are eligible to winterize irrigation systems.  Services performed by unlicensed individuals can come with consequences.  This can include damage to your irrigation system, damage to your property and other potential liabilities.  Licensed companies are required to hold insurance and bond certificates in the event damage happens to your property or irrigation system.  

The typical time to winterize your irrigation system is between October 1st and November 15th.  I highly recommend you get on a company's blowout list sooner rather than later.  Many companies fill up their schedules quickly.  Some companies offer packages you can pre-purchase at the beginning of the season to receive a discount on your yearly services.

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