Is having more rotors and spray heads always a GOOD thing?

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by mizzles, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. mizzles

    mizzles New Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    I recently obtained 5 estimates for a sprinkler system for my front yard.

    While 4 of the estimates had similar numbers for number of mist and rotors (28 and 7 on average), one of the estimates came back with 36 mist and 14 rotors! This estimate is only a few hundred dollars more than the others.

    My question is - is it safe to assume I'm getting a "better deal" with the last guy because he's giving me more spray and rotor heads, or is it possible he's overdoing it? I mean is having more rotors always better or can it hurt?


  2. hokieinidaho

    hokieinidaho New Member

    Apr 25, 2009
    There are many variables that go into addressing the question at hand, so the much dreaded answer is, "it depends".

    several things that stand out in my mind:
    - maintenance - one school of thought might be that more heads is going to mean more maintenance. That's not a black and white truth, but also depends on some other factors. I have over 100 sprinkler heads in our common areas in the subdivision that many have failed (due to the fact that small rotors were installed, which I learned from my last house never to use again). I also noticed that in our 1 acre's park they did what the last bidder did for your estimate. They installed as many of these crappy rotors as they could. I, on the other hand, went to the other end of the extreme when I installed my own sprinklers. I designed around the smallest number of heads I could get away with, and also max'd out each zone to the limit of gpm we're allowed to take (30gpm). I left no headroom, which may have been a mistake.

    - overlap - 1 must ensure that there is proper overlap patterns with the placement and design of the heads. With odd-shaped yards, it requires more heads to get tangential-approximations of curves, etc. Or, you just overwater the boundaries which works too.

    I'm sure there's quite a few other things I haven't mentioned.

    My last thought is if the 5th bid seems odd, out of the norm, that's because it is. Why would a 5th quote differ so much from the norm? Could be the guy is a perfectionist like me, and wants to do things right. Or maybe he doesn't know what he's doing. Hard to say.

    Good luck!
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  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Well, you have to cover the area. Rotors are probably the better choice to cover larger, regular shaped areas. But they can be 15' rotors or 40' rotors, so that would account for the different numbers.

    I hope they are not mixing rotors and fixed spray heads on the same zone...not a good idea.
  5. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    Another variable is how much thought the different designers gave to different watering needs of different areas. Around a typical house, you will see several distinct regions with different watering needs, based on how much sunlight it gets, how good the drainage is, how hilly it is, etc. It's possible that the more expensive quote took more of those details into consideration.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    The only thing that counts is getting overlapping coverage from the heads, and I cannot imagine ANY yard of substantial size being covered adequately by 7 rotors.
  7. PSLawnService

    PSLawnService New Member

    May 16, 2009
    Lawn Service - Owner
    You must have extensive landscaping in your front yard with such a high number of misting (fixed spray) heads. More often, most irrigation is done with rotating spray heads. Do stay away from the small rotors (20 to 25 ft radius) as they do seem to fail at a higher rate than the the large rotor-ones covering with a 30 to 32 ft radius. The even smaller misting heads are notorius for just getting lost in lush grass. Stay away from fixed sprays as much as possible.
    ASK FOR REFERENCES If lawn irrigation is common in your area, these professionals should be able to refer you to homeowners nearby who have their systems. Compare BRANDS. Learn as much as you can about the brand of heads they want to install. Some brands have a very high failure rate-as high as 40% in five years or as good as only 5% over 15 years.
  8. wallskev

    wallskev New Member

    May 14, 2009
    Manufacturing Consultant
    North Carolina,USA
    # of heads vs Flow

    The number of heads is depenednt on the Pressure and flow and size of the and type of source.

    The most likely reason most showed 7 heads is that the tyical installation has 7 per zone and then that is no problem on most well based sources. has a good tutorial for the calculations:)

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