Last Updated on
Are you in need of answers about how much an irrigation system cost?, though I have some experience working on irrigation projects performing cost break downs, that question is too broad? First of all, you have to be sure which type of irrigation system will suit your needs. This depends on the type of plant you want to spray, the terrain, field area, and quantity of water available. In this article, I will focus on sprinkler system cost.
Therefore, to answer the question “how much is a sprinkler system?” you need to look first at factors contributing to the pricing of this system. These are the size of the property, labor costs, installation costs, and maintenance costs. This article will discuss these factors with their respective average price or price ranges, but first, let us go through what’s available on the market, which is sprinkler systems on offer.
What’s available on the market
Suppliers offer two classes of sprinkler irrigation systems, namely above-ground and in-ground systems. As their names say, one is placed above ground while the other placed in the subsurface. These different sprinkler types are also different in terms of mechanism and have their pros and cons. And this affects their pricing in turn.
Above Ground Sprinkler Irrigation system
Well, on average above ground sprinkler system cost $2150 per acre. Here are the three types of aboveground sprinklers.
1. Traditional Sprinkler Irrigation system
These are the most common types that are used by people for both landscaping and irrigation purposes. Water is applied radially. The designs consist of sprinkler heads or emitters and headers as main parts. They are available in two main designs, that is rotating and non-rotating.
Rotating sprinklers have moving parts that turn to distribute water uniformly using the momentum of water gathered when it exits. Examples are impact type, gear driven, and the rotor type. Manufacturers claim a higher uniformity for the rotor sprinkler compared to the impact one. In addition, the vibrations imposed on the riser caused by impact sprinklers are absent.
These systems can be water wasteful considering some spots can end up not getting any water if unique technology is not incorporated, I shall later expand on this. Then non rotating examples are spray sprinklers and stationary micro-sprinkler.
2. Floppy Sprinkler
This design manufactured from stable engineering plastic and silicone tubing. It has a built-in flow controller, making it suitable for undulating terrain. This sprinkler does not have moving parts though it produces a unique flow pattern of water.
3. Drip sprinkler Irrigation
This system consists mainly of a system of mains, lateral pipes, both rigid and flexible. What sets this irrigation system apart is that it applies the water directly to the plant, reducing wastages of any. Due to this, this system is more costly compared to the traditional sprinkler system. And this brings us to the question, “how much is a sprinkler system?”
In ground Sprinkler Irrigation system
This system also comes with an option for a drip system and other rotating types. However, the entire system is immovable, in this case, having placed in the subsurface. This makes it convenient for other operations such as mowing of the lawn to go ahead without obstructions. On average, an in-ground sprinkler system costs $3000 per acre.
Material costs contribute to the sprinkler system cost significantly., In general aluminum and stainless steel, sprinklers fetch higher figures while those made of plastic are cheaper. The efficiency of the system in terms of the quantity of water applied per hour by emitter/sprinkler head also contribute. Below are some standard emitters you would find on the market.
- spin-clear – has a large wetting diameter ,flow rate range 25 to 200l/hr
- Vibro spray- has a medium wetting diameter, flow rate range 20 to 160l/hr.
Manufacturers also charge each component differently. People are paying this much for the following parts:
- Rotary nozzle – $8.50 for each.
- Impact rotor – $10.50 for each.
- Gear-driven rotor – $8.50 for each.
- Drip type – $7 for each.
- Micro sprinkler type – $ 3 each.
Area of property to be irrigated
The size of the land to be irrigated will determine the number of sprinkler heads needed and their arrangement for optimum distribution of water. This will also include additional costs for piping from the reservoir to the field. For Lawn Irrigation System Cost, the average cost of the per area of lawn is as below:
- system for 1/4 acre : $2180 – $3380
- system for 1/2 acre: $ 4360 – $6750
- system for 3/4 acre: $6530 – 10130
In order to put the system to great use, the land is divided into zones depending on the particular plant water requirement of the specific division. On average, the system’s cost based on zoning lies in the range of $500 -650 per zone. The material costs are also contributed by the number of components apart from already mentioned headers. These are as follows:
(i) Sprinkler pipes
Depending on the pressure and climatic conditions, a specific type will be selected through PVC is the pipe of choice for most people. Customers are roughly paying $0.50 -$1 per foot. High-density PVC(HDPE) type will require you to pay more than you would pay for low-density PVC (LDPE).
(ii) Sprinkler electric valves
These are automated and open or close independently depending on what has been programming on the master controller so that zones can be watered separately. You will find these going for $12-$48.
(iii)Sprinkler back flow preventers
These prevents siphoning from occurring, and you will at most be charged $300.
Sprinkler System Installation costs
Before any installation can kick-off, a permit must be obtained from local authorities to make sure water regulations are correctly followed and to eliminate any backflow. In case the system calls for some degree of excavation, there is also a need to uncertain that no utility lines lie beneath. Thus a professional who will be familiar with processing is ideal and can map out the zones well-paying attention to the terrain.
Labor costs are charged differently depending on the contractor. However, you might consider them a bit expensive though installation also requires the professional to do the design layout, which would give the best performance. The cost breakdown for this part is as below:
- average cost – $400-$7000
- minimum cost – $2200
- maximum -$11000
Note that the sprinkler system cost per zone vary greatly from each state. This also includes the way they charge. The typical range being $40-$100 per hour!. If this is too steep for you, then you can do a DIY (do it yourself) installation. Diy costs can be $100-$700; however, you would require to spend a lot of time on lawn irrigation system cost and have some special set of tools that might not be readily available.
Generally, factors that contribute to installation cost variation are:
Number of zones – The more the zones, the more the time and complexity of the mapping, the more you get charged.
Size of the property – This affects the number of zones, more so the more extensive the size, the more the labor hours.
Site preparation – Inground sprinkler system will cost more if the installation is done after landscaping. If your land somehow rocks and quite compact, labor costs will be higher as more time will be spent on excavating.
Obstructions – These make the mapping more complicated and make it necessary to increase the number of zones. Sometimes the obstructions do call for specialized risers.
Plumbing – A new irrigation system may require upgraded pf existing plumbing systems, such as replacement of some LDPE pipes with HDPE, which can handle higher pressure and temperatures. Plumbing charges average in the range of $45-$200.
Maintenance and repair costs.
If you want your sprinkler system to have a long functional lifespan (which I know you do), then you need to service the system perhaps annually, depending on the frequency of use. While it’s essential for you to do initial inspections on the sprinkler system, you will need a professional to finalize. This will cost you $70-$100 annually. Replacing a broken component will mean you will need to pay up to $70-$500.
How to install sprinkler system using Smart technology
Earlier on, I mentioned about technology being used to manage water to reduce significantly any wastages. These technologies make use of computers for remote control, maintain the rate of water application, manage the application or distribution of the water, and time when the irrigation process stops and starts. Examples are center-pivot sprinkler systems used for agriculture purposes and most in ground sprinkler systems. You can get an automated system for an in ground sprinkler system with the average of $4356-$6571 per 1/2 acre.
The automated systems can be integrated with smart irrigation technology in which you get charged an additional in the range $150 – $350. Smart irrigation encompasses smart timers and sensors that get real-time weather reports and 5G technology, thus enabling the system to function with very little human interference. You probably think this is too expensive, you probably right but to be fair this system is quite attractive also. The automated system is highly efficient ( not less than 80%) and greatly reduces water wastages by applying specifically the plant water requirements.
It is thus crucial for you to consider your specific sprinkler irrigation needs before ordering the system’s components. Let me also stress that you need to involve an irrigation expert for installation & count by sprinkler system cost calculator. Unless you are an expert yourself, then do not go ahead with their DIY; otherwise, you would end up even spending more due to trial and error. In addition to this, do seek expert advice on servicing your system, especially if the sprinkler system is complex. Though it exceed the budget for lawn irrigation system cost.
However, a well-researched DIY will be ok if your budget is not able to meet the costs. Finally, though automated or smart systems can be quite expensive, consider them a long term investment in which costs you incurred will be recovered fast. Picture this; automated intelligent systems allow you to maximize your watering with little water, significantly reducing that much-dreaded water bill. I hope this answers your question.