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kcrossley
03-14-2009, 01:15 PM
Last summer I got hit with a $1,367 water bill for three months. My lot is size is about 1/3 of an acre and my irrigation system has eight zones. On average, each zone is set for 15 minutes, three times a week. According to my utility company, I used 111,750 gallons for irrigation purposes.

They've agreed to remove the sewage fees, but clearly something is not right. The system is shut down for the winter so I won't be able to check it until this spring.

Because I live in a water conservation area, the cost of water is really high:
<15,000 gallons: $2.85/1,000 gal
>15,000 gallons and <30,000: $3.45/1,000 gal
>30,000 gallons: $9.80/1,000 gal

Regardless of what's wrong, I still need to reduce my irrigation water usage. I'm considering a Weathermatic 1600 with SLW10. Does anyone have any experience with a similar setup? Is this the best solution for reducing my water consumption?

Thanks,
Kelly

Wet_Boots
03-14-2009, 01:34 PM
A separate meter might be needed for not paying sewerage, in the long run. As for the watering needs of the property, the 'standard' of one inch of water per week translates to 27,000 gallons per week per acre. In an entire season, you can easily use over 100,000 gallons on a third-acre.

AI Inc
03-14-2009, 01:36 PM
How old is the system , does it have a master valve? You may have some use do to valve weeping. What type of controller do you have now?

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-14-2009, 01:39 PM
I believe a WM SL and SL10 will help if for no other reason that it will adjust your system. Not sure where you are but a VA poster here named HOKIE may weigh in and be able to service you personally.

Go to my site and read my blog intended for homeowners.

Mike Leary
03-14-2009, 01:41 PM
Before you get too carried away, purchase a inexpensive moisture meter, available at nurserys and home centers. By checking the zones, you'll get a better handle on your plants needs and adjust the clock accordingly,

kcrossley
03-14-2009, 02:02 PM
A separate meter might be needed for not paying sewerage, in the long run. As for the watering needs of the property, the 'standard' of one inch of water per week translates to 27,000 gallons per week per acre. In an entire season, you can easily use over 100,000 gallons on a third-acre.

Yes, I already have a submeter. The 111,750 gallons I used was for 3 months.

kcrossley
03-14-2009, 02:03 PM
How old is the system , does it have a master valve? You may have some use do to valve weeping. What type of controller do you have now?

System is less than two years old. I believe it does have a master valve. The controller is a cheap Toro model. TNC-212 series. What is weeping?

kcrossley
03-14-2009, 02:06 PM
Go to my site and read my blog intended for homeowners.

What's the specific link?

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-14-2009, 02:06 PM
Yes, I already have a submeter. The 111,750 gallons I used was for 3 months.

My order of checking
Is the meter stationary when no water is in use?
Have you done a 5 gallon bucket test?
Are you certain you have no phantom programs in your controller?
Have you walked the system to determine no leaks or breaks?
How many gallons per minute is each zone using?
It is a math problem once everything else has been eliminated.

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-14-2009, 02:07 PM
What's the specific link?

http://www.irrigationandwaterconservation.com/Blog/Entries/2009/3/14_what_every_irrigation_customer_should_know.html

It is a guide for finding a contractor

irritation
03-14-2009, 02:22 PM
It's possible the water co. had been estimating your water usage for a few months and when they finally did read it, it was underestimated. Now they are making up the difference.
I'm not saying this the case but it's possible.

Wet_Boots
03-14-2009, 02:27 PM
If you must reduce the water consumption, you may need to replant with drought-tolerant groundcover. If you want a lush landscape, it takes water to nourish it.

Then again, you could drill a well, water the hell out of everything, and push your region further into supply problems.

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-14-2009, 02:34 PM
It's possible the water co. had been estimating your water usage for a few months and when they finally did read it, it was underestimated. Now they are making up the difference.
I'm not saying this the case but it's possible.

Good point and I've seen that more than once.

I've also had the opposite happen. My utility company bill went up 200/mo higher than the previous year. I thought it was fuel costs but when it stayed that way in spite of all my conservation efforts I called them to doublecheck my electric meter. It was being misread and I had a 600.00 credit when it was all done with.

Mike Leary
03-14-2009, 02:59 PM
http://www.irrigationandwaterconservation.com/Blog/Entries/2009/3/14_what_every_irrigation_customer_should_know.html

It is a guide for finding a contractor

Well done, Peter. :clapping:

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-14-2009, 03:07 PM
Well done, Peter. :clapping:

Well thank you Mike. Hopefully our fellow contractors can use that as a closing the sell tool on quality irrigation.

Wet_Boots
03-14-2009, 03:36 PM
Quality means drip irrigation? Bah humbug!

Sprinkus
03-14-2009, 05:26 PM
It's possible the water co. had been estimating your water usage for a few months and when they finally did read it, it was underestimated. Now they are making up the difference.
I'm not saying this the case but it's possible.

I've seen this many times out here.
In fact the house I used to live at had a broken off meter dial on the gas meter. I reported it but they never fixed it, so the reading was always estimated for the gas.
You might go look at the glass window on the meter to see if it has been cleaned off recently. I've seen them so dirty that you couldn't see anything at all!

Mike Leary
03-14-2009, 06:00 PM
You might go look at the glass window on the meter to see if it has been cleaned off recently. I've seen them so dirty that you couldn't see anything at all!

Umm, in other parts of the more civilized world, the purveyors have a sensor on top of the box to read the meter. We have had good luck spotting leaks with the meters that have the "spinners", as long as we know the clients are gone and no water is being used. The "deduct meter" idea has been going on for a long time: so far in the NW, only commercial sites qualify. :cry:

mitchgo
03-14-2009, 10:29 PM
Umm, in other parts of the more civilized world, the purveyors have a sensor on top of the box to read the meter. We have had good luck spotting leaks with the meters that have the "spinners", as long as we know the clients are gone and no water is being used. The "deduct meter" idea has been going on for a long time: so far in the NW, only commercial sites qualify. :cry:

So last week I went to a house to do some irrigation repairs due to a company replacing this houses water line. The trench was still dug up waiting for inspectors to come. So I finish my repairs ( 5 Main Line Breaks, 4 lateral breaks and they cut the wire twice... amazing sense it was a straight trench only 60'.

But these idiots.. didn't check the leak detector! I Get done with my repairs and check the detector and notice it's moving. So I shut off the DCVA and it's still moving. This other company is there so I start talking and asking them about this and they are like... hmm that's weird!!
So I ask them where the house shut off is and they say oh there isn't one.
I Say What?? How in the world can you determine if the leak was in the house or outside??? $100-200 is a lot cheaper to install a shut off at the house then replacing the whole water line!

I Bring out the customer and ask him if he's using any water.. Nope
So basically the customer got screwed. I told the customer straight up with the other company right there that he should be pissed and make them fix there mistake for free.

kcrossley
03-15-2009, 12:43 AM
Based on what some posters have said, I suspect the reading was correct. Unfortunately, it looks like irrigation systems use a huge amount of water. That, and the fact that I'm in a water conservation district makes for a bad combination. I think my only recourse is to use an irrigation controller, like the Smartline, that is as frugal with water as possible. If there are no other equipment recommendations, then I'll give the Smartline a shot.

mitchgo
03-15-2009, 12:59 AM
The controller itself does nothing.
Knowing how to program it is everything
You should get the wireless weather station for it as well.


This is pretty broad but an average zone can use 5-15GPM

kcrossley
03-15-2009, 01:17 AM
Yeah, that's what I meant. I currently have a Toro controller, so I'm going to need the controller as well. I'll probably get the SL1600 plus an SLW15 wireless controller, which I just found out is available.

Wet_Boots
03-15-2009, 12:18 PM
Hunter is also in this game, what with their SolarSync device. But actual water savings might be elusive, because these controllers are going to try to deliver optimum plant health, if programmed correctly, and that means watering. More than what you get when you might do all the activation manually, when you observe the landscape looks dry or stressed.

HokieAg07
03-20-2009, 11:10 AM
Dont know how I missed your post but if you need any recommendations as to a good contractor in the Williamsburg area I can make a few phone calls. Les on here is from Tidewater and may be able to service you if need be.

kcrossley
04-04-2009, 10:16 AM
Hey Chris, thanks for getting back to me. Sorry for the delay in responding. I called my regular irrigation company, and they don't know anything about these smart controllers. If you can recommend a few local folks who can install the SL1600 and weather station for me that would be great!

kcrossley
04-21-2009, 03:40 AM
I'm bumping this thread for more input.

FIMCO-MEISTER
04-21-2009, 07:55 AM
Ask specific questions. We don't just chat you know.

AI Inc
04-21-2009, 07:57 AM
Or at least post a friggen recipe or a ballgame score.
BTW , sox rocked Baltimore like 12-1 yesterday.

kcrossley
04-21-2009, 09:04 AM
Looking for a contractor in Williamsburg who can replace a Toro controller with an SL1600, or is this something I can do myself?

FIMCO-MEISTER
04-21-2009, 09:14 AM
Looking for a contractor in Williamsburg who can replace a Toro controller with an SL1600, or is this something I can do myself?

I'd get a contractor. Hopefully he will follow the suggestion list in my blog.

http://irrigationandwaterconservation.com/?p=26

Mdirrigation
04-21-2009, 09:19 AM
The controller is only as good as the person programing it .

Kiril
04-21-2009, 10:39 AM
The controller is only as good as the person programing it .

I agree. Just about anyone with even an ounce of common sense can install a SL1600 if plugging it in, but programming is a whole different ball game (regardless of what your typical lawn jockey says).

Mike Leary
04-21-2009, 04:09 PM
I agree. Just about anyone with even an ounce of common sense can install a SL1600 if plugging it in, but programming is a whole different ball game (regardless of what your typical lawn jockey says).

Yup, after years of using only RM and Total Control clocks, switching over to the W*M clock instead of the Total Control was a actual reading the manual experience. We've got the traditional and two-wire units in service and they have given us no problems other than those caused by "pilot error". As I predicted, Russ is having problems with the two-wire clocks when the system is expanded because of the re-programming of the decoders to give continuity during a walk-thru. With no remote available, yet, it's a pain.

Wet_Boots
04-21-2009, 04:28 PM
Stick with DumbLine Controllers :)

http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=93588&stc=1&d=1195052359

AI Inc
04-21-2009, 05:38 PM
God I hate those things !

Mike Leary
04-21-2009, 06:42 PM
God I hate those things !

I've walked away from many sites that had those clocks: I knew the system was junk.

Wet_Boots
04-21-2009, 06:54 PM
pikers bail

Mike Leary
04-21-2009, 07:00 PM
pikers bail

You bail when you realize the would-be clients cannot afford what you do.
I knew my territory so well that my caller-id told me to show or blow-off.

Wet_Boots
04-21-2009, 07:17 PM
I know a few systems that had intermatic clocks and safe-t-lawn heads and they were as good as it got