A call we get far too often goes something like this: “Hi, I’m Mr. or Mrs. Customer and we just had a new pool installed- when can you come hook our sprinklers back up and how much will it cost?
Unfortunately at this point any budget friendly solution is out of the question and we start educating the customer the best way that we can in order to prepare them for the sticker shock of the unexpected repairs they may need.
If the site wasn’t surveyed beforehand, and if no lines were raised or capped there are only two viable options:
1. Exploratory digging
2: Installation of entirely new zones.
Exploratory digging starts at around $85 an hour and new zones will be $650-850 each from a reputable company. Typically digging can take 4-6 hours and will outweigh the cost of a new zone in some cases, not to mention that the digging may in fact bring to light the requirement of a new zone anyway
So, What’s One Zone Matter Right?
Well this is part that gets tricky, and usually painful. Depending on when your driveway was poured, and when the irrigation installation crew arrived- there is a very good possibility that every irrigation zone on your property is routed behind the house. Meaning simply that you may need an entire new system. The liability of “hoping” we found all the broken lines while digging is not worth the small savings if any between exploratory digging and installing a new zone.
For this reason, like many other irrigation repair companies we no longer offer exploratory digging. Let’s say 4 zones ran around your house and they were all destroyed, we dig until we find 4 pipes and reroute them around your pool. we spent 6-8 hours on site and your total bill came out to $700 or $800 after labor and materials. That’s a $2,600 savings over the cost of 4 new zones right? Now let’s say we didn’t know it but 10 feet behind where we started digging was a zone than ran directly under your new pool- and now that zone will dump hundreds of gallons under your pool every time your lawn is watered. That $2,600 in savings will equate to $45k-60k in damage in a few short years.
So What Should I do When Installing a New Pool?
The very first thing you should do is speak with your pool contractor about their stance on damages and repair. If they state you have nothing to worry about, that they will cap, repair, or replace your irrigation system make SURE you have that in writing. Nine times out of ten they won’t, they aren’t going to cover the cost and they aren’t going address your irrigation system as a concern.
Before moving forward with your pool project contact a competent irrigation company to come out and look at the site, ask them if they can raise and cap the lines that will be affected by the pool. Ask them what repair options you have after installation and what their experience is with pool excavation damage.
Keep in mind that the wiring for your system may also be damaged, installation of the correct wiring for your irrigation system can be costly as well. And lastly, depending on your current system routing and how long the pool takes to be built- you’re probably going to need new sod.
Chris Sherrod – Halo Lawn Care Owner
Hunter Certified Irrigation Technician.