Commercial Property Irrigation Audit: What is it & Why is it Important?

Michael Hatcher

Nov 30, 2021 11:04:12 AM

Any kind of audit sounds sort of scary. So let’s clear up any concerns.

No need to hide in your office, turn off the lights and pretend you’re not there.

A commercial property irrigation audit has nothing to do with your taxes, and everything to do with saving water and saving money.
Your commercial irrigation system doesn’t just run magically on its own.

It needs a few tweaks now and then.

Valves leak. Heads get clogged or broken. Your controller sometimes gets out of whack.

A commercial property irrigation audit detects the small issues before they turn into big costly problems.

Now that you can breathe easier and come out from under your desk, let’s dive into the details.

What is an irrigation audit?

It Starts with the Irrigation Controller

Stop number one is your controller, the brains of your entire irrigation system.

An irrigation technician will check all your run times to make sure your system isn’t watering your landscaping too much or too little.
Irrigation team adjust sprinkler controller
Sometimes customers think they have a leak, because they’re using more water than they think they should be.

But it turns out their controller is set to turn on too many times.

An irrigation audit will make sure nothing is out of whack.

Next Up: The Backflow

Irrigation audit stop number two: the backflow device. This allows water to go through your irrigation system in one direction but prevents it from going backwards in the opposite direction.

Sometimes the handle on your backflow valve gets inadvertently shut off. When it’s off, it restricts any water from flowing past the backflow and to your sprinkler system valves.

It should be on.

The Irrigation Leak Test

Next up: the technician turns off the water to your system. Is it losing pressure, or staying steady?
irrigation system leaking water into parking lot
They’ll check the leak indicator. If it’s spinning, it means there’s a leak in the system that needs to be fixed.

The Zone Test

Up next in our commercial property irrigation audit: a two-minute test on each of your commercial irrigation system zones.
irrigation system watering lawn
As the water sprays, the technician looks for several things:

  • How much water is hitting the ground?
  • Are any heads leaking or broken?
  • Are any spots too wet or too dry?
  • Is water hitting only where it should, and not over spraying on pavement or hitting buildings?
  • How many minutes of watering does each zone really need?
  • What size nozzles are installed in each zone? Maybe there’s a nozzle that sprays 15 feet, but it only needs to spray eight feet.
  • If a head or nozzle is clogged with debris, the technician will blow or flush it out to clear it.
  • Is there a need for commercial irrigation repair?

Irrigation Audit: The Detailed Notes

As your irrigation technician is observing all this, they’re taking careful notes, jotting everything down, so they can communicate it all to the account manager for the property, and to the client.

The Walk-Through

If you’re on-site the day of your irrigation audit, your irrigation technician will invite you to walk through your property with them, to point out exactly what they’re doing and explain any issues they discover.
client and technician walk property
Technicians like to review the controller with customers, if they have time, so they know exactly how many minutes each zone should be running.

Not there? No worries. You’ll receive a detailed follow-up report after they leave.

Beyond the Irrigation Audit: What You Can Spot

There are some potential commercial irrigation repairs that an eagle-eyed property manager can easily spot.
irrigation technician makes repair on broken sprinkler system
What to look for:

  • Dry spots where water isn’t hitting.
  • Wet spots that are getting too much water.
  • Irrigation heads that seem to be leaking.
  • An unexplained increase in your water bill.

Are You Wasting Water on Your Commercial Landscape?

Chances are, yes.

Outdated sprayer heads, leaky valves, old controllers are all at fault, pumping out more water than your property needs or spraying it haphazardly where water isn’t even needed.
irrigation system waters plants
You don’t want to waste water — or money. But you don’t have time to constantly check your irrigation system for problems. You have more pressing issues every day.

A commercial irrigation audit will zero in on any water waste. Irrigation technicians will also spot the little issues that can lead to bigger problems later, from cracked lines and leaky valves to clogged nozzles or broken spray heads.

Time for a Commercial Irrigation Audit in Memphis? Trust Hatcher

So, there’s a lot going on out there with your commercial irrigation system.

But you, a property manager, have a lot on your plate. It’s more like a platter, right?

You don’t have time to keep track of how much water is spraying — or not spraying — on your property. Not everybody thinks staring at sprinkler heads is as fascinating as we do.

Let us keep track of it all, so you can relax, knowing you made the right choice to put your property’s health in expert hands.

Are you ready to put your mind at ease with a commercial irrigation audit in Memphis? Talk to one of our commercial landscaping experts today! We’ll meet at your property, create a custom plan, and get you on your way to enjoying a beautiful, worry-free property.

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Michael Hatcher

Written by Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is president of Michael Hatcher & Associates.