Many homeowners would like to take the work out watering their yard or garden. A reliable sprinkling system can do that work for you. Before you begin shopping for your new sprinklers, though, spend a few minutes with this article to learn the difference between sprinkler heads. It can help you make the right choice.
First, you should understand that sprinklers heads are divided into two types. These types are based on the method they use to distribute the water.
Spray Heads: This is a very popular type of sprinkler head. You may see them sold as fixed spray heads as well. Generally, these types of heads are small and they produce a fan-shaped pattern of water.
If you decide to purchase this type of sprinkler head try to buy a system that comes with interchangeable heads. By changing the heads you can change the pattern that is sprayed out. For instance, you change the head to make only a half circle of spray or change it again to make a full circle of spray.
You can also find additional types of head called specialty heads. These will allow for patterns that long or narrow depending on the area that you want to water.
For the most part, these types of spray heads are spaced up to 18 feet apart, but this is directly related to the amount of water pressure that you have. They need between 20 and 30 PSI (pounds per square inch) of water pressure to operate properly.
Rotors: Rotor heads operate by rotating streams of water back and forth over the area. Most people are familiar with this type by the sound that it makes. A sort of tic, tic, tic, tok, tok, tok sound. This particular type of rotor head is called an impact rotor.
Impact rotors are quickly being replaced by newer models that are gear driven. These are much quieter and require less maintenance than impact rotors. They are also smaller in size, giving them more flexibility as to placement.
Gear drive rotors shoot out one or more fingers of water. You can find these as multi-stream rotors as well. Multi-stream rotors are more expensive and require a lot more maintenance than gear drive heads.
Rotors can be placed 18 feet to 55 feet apart. Keep in mind that rotors require much more water pressure to operate than spray heads. A simple rule of thumb is that that water pressure at the rotor head must be more than the distance (in feet) between the heads. So, if you wanted to space your rotors at 35 feet apart, you would need at least 35 PSI of water pressure at the rotor head. Smaller rotors that are often sold for residential use generally work well at spacing of 25 to 35 feet.
Some tips to keep in mind when choosing which sprinkler head is best for you include:
Rotor type heads are normally spaced farther apart and require less trenching, but they usually cost much more per sprinkler head.
If the area that you want to water is less than 18 feet wide, you should go with spray heads. Spray heads work well for most average size yards.
If your area is more than 22 feet wide, you may want to consider the rotor type of head. It will cost more, but it may do a better job of watering the area.
Do keep in mind that if your pressure is less than 40 PSI rotors will not work properly. You can contact a professional sprinkler contractor to learn more about what your water pressure is and which type of product is best for you. They can also help you with installing the underground pipes.