As you prepare for irrigation winterization, now is a great time to evaluate your customers’ systems and look for opportunities to upgrade outdated equipment and add-on new technology and services for the coming year. Technology is moving at warp speed. Beyond that, our industry has seen a huge push for sustainability and water efficiency. Because of this, the opportunity to increase sales with retrofitting and upgrading current systems is tremendous.
In the past, the main reason to upgrade an irrigation system was when it was broken and not functioning. Today, that is not always the case. Customers may want to alter or add on to their existing system with water efficient solutions or controllers. More and more, customers are looking toward technology and smart devices. They want smart controllers and nozzles that use less water and prevent run off. Even more, customers are always connected and they want to be able to be able to control everything from their mobile devices.
With that in mind, we reached out to our irrigation experts, Doug Armour and Shane Kreis, to learn what questions contractors should be asking, so that their irrigation system retrofits and upgrades are efficient, effective, and profitable.
From the Experts:
When going into any new project there are things that you need to consider and questions that you need to ask. Retrofitting and upgrading a current irrigation system is no different. Below you will find the 4 questions that you should look to answer when determining the best upgrade options and the right retrofit equipment.
- What system is currently installed?
Make sure to find out how old the system is and learn about its efficiency. This will help you determine how easily a retrofit can be done and the best options for the upgrade.
- What needs to be changed and why?
Determine if the upgrades are going to improve the performance of the system existing system or if the current system simply does not work anymore. If the system is broken and needs to be fixed, there may be an opportunity to upgrade and make parts of the system more efficient.
- What is the budget for the retrofit or upgrades?
It is important to identify the priorities based on the budget. Everything costs money, so the more that is done, the more budget you may need.
- How does everything fit together?
You’ll need to consider how everything fits together. Make sure that the existing hydraulics are powerful enough to water everything in the time period you need. If you are swapping out spray heads to a more efficient rotary nozzle, does the precipitation head match the valve? Rotary nozzles are up to 85% more efficient, so you need to make sure that the pieces work together or you may lose efficiency.
How far are you from the controller? If the upgrades are more than 1,100 feet from the controller, you may need to run more electrical. Finally, think about how your customer plans on connecting to the controller. Is it through ethernet, cellular, or Wi-Fi? Ethernet is faster and more dependable but cellular and Wi-Fi give you the option to control on the go.
Products for Irrigation Retrofits
Below you will find a handful of products and equipment that have retrofit capabilities.
The Hybrid 3D is a simple yet powerful, plug and play device that allows you to:
- Add a Master Valve and Flow Sensor to any irrigation controller using existing wires.
- Add 1-24 new valves to your existing system without running new control wires.
The Hybrid 3D empowers water conservation efforts by helping to measure and evaluate the impact of your water conservation-based irrigation system upgrades. It’s a simple, cost-effective solution to the potentially complex and costly problem of running new dedicated control or communication wires/cables.
Rain Bird Spray-to-Drip Retrofit Kit
This is a simple kit that easily converts a conventional spray zone to a low-volume irrigation zone. Rain Bird® 1800-RETRO is the easiest and fastest way to convert a conventional spray zone to a low-volume irrigation zone. The 1800 Retro internal assembly is easily installed into any existing Rain Bird 1804 spray head bodies to retrofit existing system to Xerigation® products.
Hunter MP Rotators
Convert your standard existing sprinklers from inefficient sprays to the highly efficient MP Rotators. The MP Rotators apply water using heavy droplet streams at a matched precipitation rate – this means water is optimally applied at a rate that the soil can best absorb. This slower application rate allows water to gently soak into the soil and achieves an even distribution throughout the area being irrigated. This increased efficiency results in 30% less water use when compared to traditional sprays and significantly reduces wasteful runoff. The MP Rotator can be installed onto any conventional spray head body or shrub adapter, transforming them into high uniformity, low precipitation rate sprinklers with matched precipitation at any arc and any radius.
Baseline Systems BaseStation 3200™
The BaseStation 3200™ site management controller provides users with more control and more information than ever before. It supports the patented two-wire technology from Baseline, as well as conventional wire and retrofit solutions. Its advanced flow management features and flexible communication options allow users to network devices through the cloud or using a local area network.
The BaseStation 3200 combines soil moisture sensor-based intelligent watering technology from Baseline with the industry’s best practices for weather-based irrigation into a single user interface. The BaseStation 3200 can help you reduce water use by up to 62 percent.
We understand that retrofitting an existing irrigation system can be complicated. Trust Central for help, whether it’s information on the newest technologies, technical questions about installation, or recommendations on the right products for the job. If you would like more information on the products mentioned or have questions reach out to your local branch or rep. Central stays at the leading edge of the industry. We’re ready to help you grow!