How heads and nozzles can result in water savings

March 23, 2022 -  By
Understanding the available pressure and flow at each site is key to selecting the correct irrigation heads and nozzles. (Photo: Rain Bird)

Understanding the available pressure and flow at each site is key to selecting the correct irrigation heads and nozzles. (Photo: Rain Bird)

As irrigation contractors strive to reduce water waste in clients’ landscapes, experts say the significance of sprinkler heads and nozzles must not be overlooked.

They are the main components that will positively affect irrigation systems’ water efficiency.

Kelsey Jacquard

Kelsey Jacquard

To ensure you select the proper irrigation heads and nozzles, understand the available pressure and flow for each site. For instance, if a site has high pressure use pressure-regulated spray bodies, which decrease pressure down to an optimal amount for the nozzle utilized.

For example, Kelsey Jacquard, CID, CLIA, category manager for mechanical irrigation products at Hunter Industries, says the company’s spray nozzles work best at 30 psi, while the manufacturer’s MP Rotator nozzles are most efficient at 40 psi.

“Using the optimal pressure for the nozzle will reduce flow rates and misting, resulting in higher uniformity and larger water droplets that don’t fly away in the wind,” says Jacquard. “MP Rotator nozzles, on the other hand, provide higher uniformity and a lower application rate than spray nozzles.”

Stand apart

Steve Thompson, a service technician for Lee Engineering in Kennedale, Texas, has used MP Rotators to achieve water savings of up to 30 percent when compared to traditional spray nozzles. Lee Engineering provides irrigation, drainage and foundation watering services to residential clients.

Lee Engineering often pairs MP Rotators with Hunter Pro-Spray PRS40 spray bodies at a high application rate, especially on properties with native clay soils. The Pro-Spray spray bodies decrease water psi to an optimal level of 40 psi, decreasing misting and evaporation loss.

Thompson says he selects Hunter Pro-Spray PRS30 spray bodies often, especially if clients need to utilize standard spray nozzles rather than MP Rotator nozzles, or if he’s upgrading existing systems to new pressure regulated heads.

“These heads and nozzles help us stand apart from other irrigation contractors, as we focus on the watering savings someone can have just by changing out something as simple as a head or nozzle,” Thompson says.

Achieve a high ROI

Mike Sowby

Mike Sowby

Meanwhile, Mike Sowby, owner of Sinc Constructors Co. in Centerville, Utah, installs Rain Bird’s pressure regulating sprayheads and rotors, along with its MPR (matched precipitation rate) U-Series nozzles on each of his projects. Consequently, he says he can achieve higher distribution uniformity, leading to high-quality turf for his commercial landscaping and irrigation clients.

“It’s difficult to calculate, but all contractors will agree that having a green lawn — without any dry spots or stressed areas ­— is very valuable when it comes to closing out warranties and being paid,” Sowby says.

Sinc Constructors serves clients in the Salt Lake City area and its suburbs where high water pressure is common. Contractors mitigate high water pressure by using pressure-compensating and pressure-regulating products, like drip lines, emitters, heads, nozzles and valves.

To enhance the efficiency of nozzles, Sowby says the operating pressure of the heads must be correct. To provide more water at a fast rate, he advises his clients to use pressure-regulated heads and MPR nozzles.

“Pressure-regulated heads and MPR nozzles are the icing on the cake of a well-constructed irrigation system,” Sowby says. “When used properly, they can boost contractors’ business in countless ways. There’s definitely a high return on this investment.”

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