It seems many of you are interested in irrigation but are uncertain as of how we install the system and how this is going to effect your existing landscape. To hopefully shed some light on this situation we have produced our second newsletter and it is dedicated to the irrigation installation process. As a reminder, be sure to look on our site in the irrigation section because it too contains information on the irrigation installation process and product information that you may find very helpful. At Tompkins we follow a 10-step process for our installations:
- When choosing a contractor, don't just choose the one with the lowest price. Take the time to find a contractor with a competitive price and a good reputation. Your system will require service from time to time and you want to be sure your contractor will still be in business five years from now.
- Look for a contractor who promptly returns phone calls (especially during a busy season), knows the product and presents himself in a professional manner.
- Insist on getting a certificate of insurance from your contractor that says he has both liability and workers comp. Your homeowner's policy does not cover people you hire to work on your property. In the event of an accident, you, the homeowner, could be put in jeopardy of suit if the contractor you hire does not have insurance and one of his workers gets injured on the job.
- Be sure to compare apples to apples. If you have one contractor who says he will do the job with 20 sprinkler heads, and another who claims he can do it with 16, be careful. Not to say that 20 is the right number, but I would be suspect of the 16-head bid. Many contractors stretch the design to win a bid and in July and August when it gets hot, the 16-head systems shows its true colors with burned spots in the lawn.
- If designed and installed properly and with quality product, a sprinkler system will give you many years of service and value with minimal maintenance.
- Ask for references. Your contractor should be able to provide you with the names and telephone numbers of references for you to call. You should feel confident that the contractor you choose can provide you with excellent service no matter what time of year.
- Make sure the contractor is installing a backflow-preventer approved by the local plumbing inspector and/or water department. Also, insist on a rain sensor so that your system is not operating while it's raining.
- Examine the product the contractor plans to use. Most manufacturers produce competitive, comparable products. However, some also make inexpensive items. If it looks cheap and flimsy, it probably is, and that's the way it will work.
- Many contractors use two or three different brands of product on the same system. The reason for this is that they want to install what they feel is the best quality product and what they feel comfortable with. Most manufacturers don't produce a complete line of quality items for a complete system. You want the best product each manufacturer makes.
- The contractor should give you a written bid. That bid should describe the product to be used and the quantity of each, at least on major parts such as sprinklers, valves, and controllers. The bid should also give you an estimated start and completion date. All preparatory and finish work should be included.
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