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Four of the most common types of sprinkler systems are wet pipe, dry pipe, pre-action and deluge. The main difference between the sprinkler systems is how they're activated and triggered to release water when the air temperature exceeds a certain level.
According to Houselogic, the average cost to install a new sprinkler system on a quarter-acre lot on your own is around $1,500, with variations based on the type of system used and the quality of the hardware. DIY installation is typically a $1,500 to $2,000 savings over hiring a professional.
A dry sprinkler system, as its name suggests, isn't filled with water. Instead, it's pressurized with compressed air or nitrogen when not in use. It's preferable to other types of systems in colder climates because it's resistant to freezing.
Irrigation uses controlled amounts of water through channels to provide water for various land productions, including crops, landscapes, and turf. Early civilizations used irrigation technology to divert water from rivers; today, most irrigation systems use modern underground plumbing infrastructure.
The cost of an irrigation system depends on the type of irrigation used, the size of the system, and if you use professionals for the installation process. According to Houselogic, it costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to have an irrigation system professionally installed on an average-sized property.
Irrigation systems connect to the water lines on a residential or commercial property. A network of smaller lines carries water to areas around the property, where it's distributed via sprinklers, drip lines, or hoses to provide coverage to plants as needed.
Drip irrigation operates on the same basic principle as irrigation, but instead of using sprinklers, it uses a specialized waterline with small holes along the sides. A low flow passes through these lines and distributes water directly to the ground around the plants.
Drip irrigation systems are easier to install than sprinkler systems and can take a few hours or a few days, depending on the size of space it's tending. You'll need enough drip line to provide even coverage to your entire garden and an outdoor water source to hook up the system. Some systems need pressure regulators to keep water pressure stable.
Most sprinkler systems comprise a network of underground pipes and devices that spray water called sprinkler heads. Sprinkler systems are controlled by valves and often installed in zones that enable the operator to construct the system in multiple different ways while conserving water.
"Blowing out" sprinklers uses compressed air to dry out the lines and prevent freezing during colder temperatures. This is typically done after the growing season since irrigation won't be used for several months. It's a good way to prevent damage and extend the life of the system.
To winterize your sprinkler system means to protect it from unnecessary wear-and-tear in the off-season. In cold climates, you'll need to shut off the water, drain it from your system, and make sure any part of it that's above ground is well insulated to prevent damage from freezing.
The codes that regulate fire safety measures vary between cities and states. Usually, only commercial buildings that pass a certain number of floors or square feet are required by law to have sprinklers; in some localities, those requirements are more expansive.
Most people assume that smoke sets fire sprinklers off. This is incorrect. Most indoor sprinkler systems are designed with small glass bulbs containing a heat-sensitive fluid in each sprinkler head. When the air temperature reaches a certain level, the bulb will break, activating water flow through the lines and out of the sprinklers.
Because both fire sprinkler systems and irrigation sprinkler systems are connected to the plumbing on your property, a plumber can handle the professional installation. It's recommended to find a plumber who has experience with sprinkler systems before hiring them to handle the job.
Indoor (fire) sprinkler systems are covered under your home's warranty because they're inside the home. Outdoor sprinkler systems (irrigation) are not usually covered under a home warranty because most do not consider outdoor plumbing installations to be part of the home.