What Is Included In A Sprinkler System Inspection?

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Your landscape sprinkler system is a huge contributor to the condition of your home over time. Did you know if damaged or deficient it can lead to deteriorating fences, rotting siding, mortar deterioration in your brick, foundation movement and much more.

For all these reasons and more, you should expect a lot when it comes to this part of your home inspection. Yet, many homeowners or home buyers overlook this critical system when reviewing their inspection.

People often ask me, can an improperly aligned sprinkler head really do that much damage? Yes, it can. I have seen everything from erosion causing a foundation to lose the support it needs to bricks falling out of the wall from lack of mortar to air conditioning systems rusting in place and on and on and on from the daily deluge they receive.

What Should You Expect Your Sprinkler Inspection To Cover?

As of early 2019, the State of Texas requires inspectors to manually operate each zone from the controller and report on the following as a result at a minimum:

Sprinkler System Inspection Minimums

Sprinkler System Inspection Minimums

  • The absence of a rain or moisture sensor;
  • Inoperative zone valves;
  • Surface water leaks;
  • The absence of a backflow prevention device;
  • The absence of shut-off valves between the water meter and backflow device;
  • Deficiencies in the performance and mounting of the controller;
  • Missing or damaged components;
  • and Deficiencies in the performance of the water emission devices; such as, sprayer heads, rotary sprinkler heads, bubblers or drip lines.

So, this is the minimum you should expect.

What Is The Problem With The Minimums For My Sprinkler Inspection?

In a previous career, I once found myself speaking with an employee during a performance review. We were discussing his rating and I had him tell me, “If the minimums weren’t good enough, there wouldn’t be minimums.” I just stared and blinked thinking wow, what apathy.

The minimums in anything, will absolutely keep you above water so to speak, but they will not put you on the path to success. When it comes to your landscape sprinkler system, here is why the minimums are a problem.

  1. You have no documentation about how many zones you have, how long they are scheduled to run or when.
  2. You have no idea which zones are where and what gets watered when you turn a specific zone on.
  3. You have no idea where your backflow prevention device is, what kind you have or whether you should have it tested.
  4. Controllers are evolving and app driven smart sprinkler system controllers like the Rachio are becoming more and more common.
  5. Depending on your definition of performance, the minimums may or may not identify water being thrown where it shouldn’t be. Like directly onto your wall.

What Does House Fluent Inspections Include In Sprinkler Inspections?

Unlike the guy in that performance review, we absolutely do not think that the minimums are good enough.

In addition to the minimum requirements, our sprinkler system inspections include a location and brief description of each zone along with video of the zone running. We provide you with the location of your backflow prevention device, let you know what type you have and images or video allowing you to see exactly what you have. Our home inspections reports also document video of heads spraying excessively on walls, flatwork, fences, mechanical equipment, etc.

We cover this and more in our podcast episode on sprinkler systems and lawn maintenance.

(Disclaimer: we are not licensed to test your backflow device, in Texas only specific occupational licenses allow for this)

Brian Botch

Brian Botch

Brian is the owner of House Fluent Inspections and is licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission as a professional real estate inspector (TX License # 22824 ). In addition, he is certified by the National Swimming Pool Foundation as a Certified Pool Inspector.

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