Is Your Sprinkler System Ready for Summer?

Craig Plumbing Blog Posts-SPRINKLERS

As the warmth of summer approaches, there's nothing quite like having a lush, green lawn to enjoy. However, achieving that picturesque yard often relies on one crucial component: your sprinkler system. While many homeowners focus on the sprinkler heads and water schedules, two often-overlooked heroes play a vital role in keeping your system efficient and safe—vacuum breakers and hose bibs.

Understanding these components, their importance, and how to prepare your sprinkler system for the summer can make all the difference.

Understanding Sprinkler Systems

How Sprinkler Systems Work

Sprinkler systems are designed to deliver water evenly across your lawn, ensuring every patch of grass gets the hydration it needs. These systems consist of multiple components, including pipes, valves, sprinkler heads, and a control unit that dictates when and where water is dispersed.

Types of Sprinkler Systems

  • In-Ground Systems: Permanently installed underground, providing a seamless and automated watering solution.
  • Drip Systems: Efficiently waters plants directly at the root, reducing water waste.
  • Rotary Systems: Ideal for larger lawns, these systems distribute water in a rotating pattern.

An efficient sprinkler system isn't just about convenience; it’s also about water conservation and maintaining a healthy lawn. By using the right system and components, you can minimize water waste and ensure your grass remains vibrant.

Vacuum Breakers: The Unsung Heroes

What Are Vacuum Breakers?

A vacuum breaker is a device that prevents backflow, ensuring that water from your sprinkler system doesn’t contaminate your home's potable water supply. When water pressure drops, there's a risk of water from the sprinkler system siphoning back into your clean water lines. Vacuum breakers act as a barrier to stop this from happening.

Why Are They Important?

  • Health and Safety: Prevents contamination of drinking water.
  • Legal Requirements: Many local codes require vacuum breakers for systems connected to potable water supplies.
  • Maintenance Tips: Regularly check for leaks, ensure the device is properly installed, and replace it if damaged.

Hose Bibs: More Than Just a Faucet

What Are Hose Bibs?

Hose bibs, also known as outdoor faucets, are the points where you connect your garden hose to your water supply. They are crucial for a functional sprinkler system and general outdoor water use.

Types of Hose Bibs

  • Standard Hose Bibs: Basic outdoor faucets.
  • Anti-Siphon Hose Bibs: Incorporate a vacuum breaker to prevent backflow.
  • Frost-Proof Hose Bibs: Designed to prevent pipes from freezing in colder climates.

Importance of Hose Bibs

  • Prevents Water Damage: Properly functioning hose bibs prevent leaks and water wastage.
  • Ease of Use: Makes connecting hoses and sprinkler systems straightforward.

The Interrelation: How They Work Together

Integration in Sprinkler Systems

Vacuum breakers and hose bibs work hand-in-hand to ensure your sprinkler system operates efficiently and safely. The hose bib provides the water access point while the vacuum breaker prevents any potential contamination of your drinking water.

Common Issues

  • Leaks: If either component leaks, it can compromise the entire system.
  • Improper Installation: Incorrect installation can lead to inefficiencies and potential water contamination.
  • Wear and Tear: Over time, components may wear out and need replacement to maintain optimal performance.

A faulty sprinkler system, vacuum breaker, or hose bib can lead to numerous problems that may affect both your lawn and your home. If a sprinkler system malfunctions, it can cause overwatering or underwatering, leading to a patchy, unhealthy lawn. A damaged vacuum breaker might allow contaminated water to backflow into your home's potable water supply, posing significant health risks.

Similarly, an improperly functioning hose bib can result in leaks and water wastage, potentially leading to water damage around the foundation of your home and increasing your water bill. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are essential to prevent these issues and ensure the safety and efficiency of your watering system.

Preparing Your Sprinkler System for Summer

Inspection Tips

  1. Check Vacuum Breakers: Inspect for leaks or damage. Ensure they are properly installed and functioning.
  2. Examine Hose Bibs: Look for signs of wear, leaks, and ensure connections are secure.
  3. Adjust Sprinkler Heads: Ensure they are clean and positioned correctly to cover the intended areas.
  4. Set Watering Schedules: Program your control unit to water during early morning hours to reduce evaporation.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Turn on the System: Slowly open the main water valve to avoid pressure surges.
  2. Inspect Each Zone: Manually run each zone and check for coverage, leaks, and proper operation.
  3. Clean and Adjust Sprinkler Heads: Remove any debris and adjust the spray patterns.
  4. Check for Leaks: Inspect pipes, valves, and fittings for any signs of leakage.

Professional Inspection

While DIY inspections are manageable, consider a professional check if:

  • You notice persistent issues.
  • You have a large or complex system.
  • Local regulations require certified inspections.


As summer sets in, ensuring your sprinkler system is in top shape is key to maintaining a beautiful lawn. Vacuum breakers and hose bibs, though often overlooked, are essential components that guarantee the efficiency and safety of your system. Before the hot months arrive, take the time to inspect and prepare your sprinkler system. Should you face any challenges, don't hesitate to seek professional help to ensure everything is functioning perfectly.

By taking these steps, you’ll not only keep your lawn looking its best but also protect your home’s water supply and make the most of your sprinkler system. So, roll up your sleeves, get your tools ready, and make sure your sprinkler system is ready to tackle the summer heat!

Don't leave the condition of your sprinkler system to chance this summer. Reach out to Craig Plumbing, Heating and Cooling to ensure your system is expertly serviced or repaired. With years of experience and a team of skilled professionals, we have the knowledge and expertise to tackle any issue, from leaks to improper installations. Our thorough inspections and maintenance routines guarantee your sprinkler system will operate at peak efficiency, keeping your lawn lush and green while protecting your home's water supply. Contact us today to schedule your service and enjoy peace of mind knowing your sprinkler system is in the best hands possible.