Travis Irrigation Plans and Supply


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Sprinkler FAQs

We sincerely hope you will find helpful information in these pages. Be sure to check our indexed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Answers pages first to see if your questions have already been answered. If you can't find the answer you are looking for, submit your question to and we will consider including your question in our FAQs pages. Unfortunately, due to the volume of questions we receive, we can't answer them all personally, but we'll let you know if we decide to include your question and answer on our site.

What is a rotor? What types are there?
Rotors are sprinklers that shoot a jet of water. The stream is moved back and forth across the area to be watered. Over a period of time, the water distribution is uniform. Rotors usually have a relatively low precipitation rate, so one station of rotors can cover a large area. There are single stream rotors, multi-stream rotors, full circle and part-circle arc rotors. The best rotors are gear driven rotors. Avoid impact rotors because the open cases cause big reliability problems.
What is a spray sprinkler? What types are there?
The spray sprinkler sprays water over the whole area to be watered the entire time it is watering. In other words, the spray pattern does not move back and forth like a rotor. Spray sprinklers come with interchangeable nozzles to provide varying radius and arc choices. While most spray sprinklers do pretty much the same job, there is a big difference in the quality of the seals and ability to "pop down" reliably, so be sure to get commercial grade versions.
Which type of sprinkler is best, rotors or spray?
Rotors work best for large areas (over 50 ft) without a lot of complicated lawn area shapes. The only time they work well in smaller yards is in unobstructed rectangular areas that happen to measure at an even multiple of the radius distance. For example, if the rotor throws water 30 ft, they can be used in a square area 30 ft on a side, or an area that is 30 ft by 60 ft. They are ideal for very large lawns of a half acre or more. Spray sprinklers do a better job of watering small yards or yards with lots of obstructions such as trees and bushes, walls, fences, etc.
What is a built-in check valve? Should I buy them?
Built-in check valves are used to keep water from seeping out the low sprinkler head after the valve shuts off. This helps save water by reducing run-off. They are particularly useful along curbs and on steep slopes, but don't do much in very flat yards.
How do I lay out the sprinklers?
Use a square or triangular pattern for even coverage. See our design section for info on good layouts. By switching between square and triangular patterns you should be able to fit an area of just about any size or shape.
How far apart should they be spaced?
Use a spacing equal to the radius, or preferably about 10% less than the radius. If you stretch them apart too far, you'll get dry spots.
The sprinkler description says they cover 25 to 50 feet. How do I know how far they'll reach after they're installed?
The distance that a sprinkler throws water is determined by the pressure at the sprinkler during operation. The radius can also be adjusted within certain limits using the radius setting of the sprinkler. Each sprinkler accepts certain nozzles, and you'll find the radius information on the nozzle data page for that sprinkler. A link to the nozzle data page is found on the page describing the sprinkler itself. On the nozzle data page, you'll see the radius listed for each nozzle size or radius, and up to the recommended operating pressure you'll see that the higher the pressure at the sprinkler, the larger the radius. You can also reduce the radius of any sprinkler or nozzle we sell up to 30% by adjusting the radius screw on the sprinkler or nozzle. Do not reduce the radius more than 30% or watering uniformity will suffer.
A sprinkler sticks up too high or down too low, how do I fix it?
If it's too high, you can build up the ground for a few feet in all directions by adding dirt, or you can dig it up and lower the pipe. If it's too low, the easiest thing to do is add a longer nip ple between the sprinkler and the fitting.

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