By Wayne Wheeler, The Source, Inc.
Routine maintenance is part of keeping an automobile in good working order. Changing the oil, wiper blades and brake pads ensures top performance and prolongs the useful life of the vehicle.
Irrigation systems also have components that wear out over time. With the large number of irrigation systems installed in the last 25 years, the irrigation maintenance, repair and overhaul business is expected to grow at twice the rate of installations in the next 5 years.
Smart contractors are increasing focus on the fast-growing service end of the business. These companies can benefit by learning more about the unique products, tools and technology available that can equip an efficient, effective field service team.
The Source, Inc. has developed a number of handy and affordable products that are particularly helpful in the diagnosis, maintenance and repair of older irrigation systems.
“Universal” Replacement Solenoids
Many original manufacturer valve solenoids will have a useful life of less than 7 years, while the overall system is expected to last for over 30 years. Therefore, solenoids are commonly replaced several times over the life of the system.
With a wide variety of brands, types and styles of valves already in the ground, it’s almost impossible for a contractor to carry an exact fit for every situation. The Source, Inc. offers a universal solenoid kit that adapts to many older brands of valves. Every service truck should carry with one of these kits so technicians can complete repairs to oddball valves without needing to special order parts.
Electric Valve Repair / Rebuild Kits
Internal operating parts within irrigation valves wear out with regular on/off operation. With larger-size plastic or brass valves, it always makes sense to rebuild or repair the existing valve rather than replacing it entirely. With a rebuild, there’s less disruption to the system and less chance for damage to or contamination of other components. For over 30 years, The Source, Inc. has packaged the well-accepted R Co. comprehensive repair kits that enable the technical to replace all wear-related parts during a rebuild (diaphragm, spring, o-rings). These handy kits are clearly labeled by brand and size so there’s no guessing on which parts to buy or replace.
Electrical Diagnostic Tools
Many companies are adding new technicians to keep up with customer demand for irrigation service. New technicians appreciate the convenience of jobsite diagnostic tools that point them directly to the problem component. The Source, Inc. offers handy devices especially for irrigation troubleshooting that make it simple to check system components (controller, valve, wiring) with simple pass/fail indicators. These products include the Checkmate III and Checker Jr. In addition, the handy Chatterbox is the most economical tool available to locate unmarked/buried valves.
Electrical Repair Problem Solvers
A common problem found on many older irrigation systems is failures of electrical splices and cables. Improper splices or nicks in the wire jacket eventually corrode, leading to open circuits. Valves fail to operate and the landscape dies.
Often the cost of trenching in new cable to replace runs that have gone bad is prohibitive. Tracing and repairing bad wiring can take days and involves a lot of digging and trial-and-error. The alternative, installing replacement cables, may require significant landscape or hardscape disruption.
A widely accepted way to solve these “broken wire” issues is to work around them. The market leading solution is Add-A-Zone from The Source, Inc. which enables the contractor to implement individual timed control of two different valve solenoids with only one good pair of electrical wires. Unlike traditional “doubling” devices, the Add-A-Zone’s patented design is easier to install and requires no work-arounds in programming or operating the timer.
For systems with multiple bad cables, devices like the Switch Hitter or Splitter can help a contractor control even more valves with a single good pair of wires. These devices make electrical repairs faster, easier and less disruptive, allowing the technician to deliver a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Tap into the growing market in profitable irrigation service with smart solutions that help technicians be more productive and successful in diagnosing and completing repairs. Learn more about the helpful products and tools available at www.thesource-online.com