Rust is one of the biggest enemies of any irrigation system. If the water on your property has enough iron in it– rust is going to be an inevitable obstacle that you’ll have to face at least once in your time as a homeowner.
Rust deposits clog sprinkler heads and prevent them from spraying the appropriate amount of water across your lawn. But since the water that’s no longer being dispensed has to go somewhere, it ends up overcrowding the pipes beneath the rusted sprinkler head. This can cause rust in the pipes, which is much more difficult to take care of, or in a worst-case scenario, cracks and leaks within the pipes.
So how do you stop rust?
Unfortunately, you can’t just take the iron out of the water without an expensive water analysis and water treatment that requires experts to come by your property. Many irrigation companies make “rust remover” liquid that, when combined with an external pumping system, causes your irrigation system to make sure the iron in the water doesn’t create rust deposits as it leaves the sprinklers.
The unfortunate truth here is that outright preventing rust is often costly and expensive. Very rarely is rust such a large problem that these preventative measures outweigh the cost of just treating rust issues as they come up.
Rust isn’t an incurable disease. Sprinkler heads can be treated and repaired as rust stains and deposits start showing up on them. This will require a specialized rust remover, which, although much cheaper than an external system to remove rust, is still a cost to deal with.
Rusted sprinkler heads can be thrown in a solution with rust remover and then hosed down with water and then further outfitted with a silicone spray which will help prevent further iron and rust buildup. The silicone spray isn’t a permanent fix, but it will help how often you’ll have to use the rust removal solution.
Ultimately, there’s no single fix to rust prevention. Some properties are only going to require reactive measures, while others are going to have enough iron in their water source to necessitate a preventative measure with an initial investment.
The best thing you can do is analyze how often you deal with rust and determine which type of preventative measure works best for your property and your budget. And as always, make sure to get all of your sprinkler installation and maintenance done by an irrigation company that has the expertise to help you figure out what kind of system you’ll need.