Cost/ Value FAQs
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- How much does a completed irrigation system cost?
- The cost varies widely depending on the quality of the components you select. You may spend $500 for sprinklers, valves, controller and the backflow preventer required for a small lot (approximately 3000 Square feet) to $1500 to irrigate a lot that is 40,000 sq feet. There is some economy gained by large lots. Large lots will have a smaller fraction of part-circle sprinklers and more full circle sprinklers (the cost is the same per sprinkler). Also, each lot has one backflow preventer regardless of the number of stations. Most do-it-yourselfers drastically underestimate the cost of a sprinkler system because they are underestimating how many parts they will need, so if you think you'll be able to do it for $300 for a typical sized yard you are aiming for a very low quality system!
- How much will an irrigation system add to the value of my property?
- For an accurate appraisal you should contact an appraiser or a real estate agent. In many cases, a well designed and properly installed system made with professional grade parts will add more to the property value than the cost of the parts. A poorly designed or poorly installed system, or one made with parts from a discount hardware store can significantly detract from the value of your property according to appraisers we have spoken with.
- How can I reduce the cost of installing a sprinkler system?
- You can install it yourself, of course, and save money without requiring a compromise in quality. You can buy consumer grade parts, but you will probably pay more in the long run for water and maintenance, and most appraisers will be wary of a system made from cheap parts when it comes time to sell your home. You can, however, defer the cost of part of the system by installing it in sections. It is very easy to work on a sprinkler system in stages as long as adequate planning is done up front. Be sure to lay wires in the trenches in anticipation of future valves, install tees (with a short piece of pipe in them, temporarily capped off) for future station expansion, etc. You can easily add onto the short pipe at a later date to add one sprinkler- or several stations, depending on how the system is designed. You may choose not to water the whole yard right away, but don't eliminate the opportunity for easy future expansion just to save a dollar on a few tees.
- What's the difference between professional grade and cheaper retail parts?
- Professional grade parts are often made by the same manufacturers as consumer grade parts, although the commercial parts carry longer warranties, and have features not found in cheaper parts making them easier to install, more efficient and more reliable. Close inspection often reveals important differences. It may be a Toro 570 sprinkler, but is it a 570Z or a 570C? The Z model has improved seals. The Rain Bird commercial sprinklers come with a flush plug installed, saving you hours of nozzle flushing and filter cleaning. Commercial sprinklers have check valve and flow control options which are actually required in many locations. In almost every case, the consumer line is the five or ten year old commercial line of the same manufacturer, or a commercial line that has been unsuccessful competing in the commercial market. See several case studies we have prepared comparing professional grade parts to consumer grade parts.
- Is an expensive controller really worth the price?
- The controller is the heart of the system. In a real sense, it is the money meter. The controller directly influences your water cost by controlling the watering schedule. Sophisticated features such as seasonal adjust (also called water budgeting), programmable rain delay and multiple programs (at least three are needed usually) are key tools for saving money. A expensive controller can pay for itself many times over in reduced water costs if it has the right feature set. As the most visible item in your system, the controller is a tip-off to home inspectors and appraisers. If they see a cheap controller they know to warn their client about your sprinkler system. If they see a commercial controller, they assume the system was installed by a knowledgeable person.
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