#163 - Irrigation Vitals
The Sprinkler Nerd ShowApril 12, 202434:0713.66 MB

#163 - Irrigation Vitals

The "vital signs" of irrigation systems, akin to those in medical practice, are crucial for diagnosis and management.

In this insightful episode, Andy and Paul reflect on their recent project, delving into the complexities and vital importance of pressure in irrigation systems, especially pertaining to a vast green rooftop. While the specifics of their project remain confidential, the co-hosts openly discuss the general scope, centered around the deployment of wireless sensors for data analytics, enabling the client to monitor conditions of the landscape more accurately.

They outline the project's challenges, from the discovery of low water pressure on the rooftop to the absence of water meters and pressure gauges, illuminating how their technology provides the client with crucial insights previously obscured. Emphasizing the critical role of monitoring, they illustrate how their wireless sensors and dashboard platform reveal the "vital signs" of water infrastructure, much like a medical check-up reveals the health of a human body.

Paul and Andy share anecdotes from their fieldwork, where they identified a significant leak due to a mainline break, likely caused by inadequate winterization. The revelation of this break underscored the hidden nature of water problems and the need for meticulous observation and the right tools to diagnose and manage such issues effectively.

The episode pivots to a discussion about data collection, particularly the innovative use of wireless technology. They replaced a failing wired system with a more robust wireless one, including soil moisture sensors and water meters with both analog and digital capabilities. This transition from wired to wireless signifies a substantial improvement in monitoring and managing the system, with the potential for real-time insights and rapid problem detection.

Throughout the podcast, the hosts compare an irrigation system's vital signs to human vital signs, with pressure transducers acting like a blood pressure monitor, providing real-time feedback on system health. They argue that knowing the pressure in an irrigation system is paramount, even more crucial than flow rates in some cases, as it can instantly signal issues such as leaks or system malfunctions.

A central theme is the emphasis on the importance of starting diagnostics at the water source rather than the controller and the need for constant pressure monitoring to ensure system integrity. This approach could potentially transform maintenance routines and system diagnostics in the industry.

Key takeaways and insights include:

  • The "vital signs" of irrigation systems, akin to those in medical practice, are crucial for diagnosis and management.
  • The conversion from wired to wireless systems represents a significant step forward in monitoring capabilities.
  • Real-time pressure monitoring can reveal issues that flow monitoring might not, highlighting the need for comprehensive diagnostic tools.
  • The hidden nature of water systems necessitates the adoption of visual and digital tools for accurate assessment.

Andy and Paul's dialogue underscores their commitment to innovation and their continual learning process, as they seek to enhance their understanding and management of irrigation systems. Their hope is to develop tools that will become industry standards, ensuring that businesses can effectively manage their water systems.

As the episode concludes, the sense of partnership and mutual respect between the two is palpable, as they look forward to their next project with anticipation. Listeners are left with a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of irrigation systems and the evolving technologies that monitor and manage them.

Key Points:

  • The importance of pressure in monitoring irrigation and plumbing systems.
  • Discovery of a significant leak due to a mainline break on the project's large green rooftop.
  • Transition from a problematic wired system to an innovative wireless one.
  • The utility of wireless soil moisture sensors and dual water meters for both analog and digital monitoring.
  • Comparison of irrigation system diagnostics to checking human vital signs, emphasizing the crucial role of pressure transducers.
  • Importance of starting system diagnostics at the water source for accurate assessment and management.
  • The discovery that booster pumps were cycling without effectively raising the pressure, affecting rooftop irrigation performance.
  • The podcast's emphasis on continuous innovation and the application of new diagnostic tools to improve industry standards.