It’s spring, and many lawns are already greening and growing.

The EPA’s WaterSense program recommends a Sprinkler Spruce-Up this time of year to check your irrigation system for broken or leaking sprinkler heads. Maintenance is key to avoiding spikes in your water bill and potential flooding of landscaping.

Since most homeowners run their irrigation systems overnight or early in the morning, leaks from damaged sprinkler heads often go unnoticed. Proactively inspecting your system saves money and can help avoid costly damage to plants and lawns from over-watering. If you do find leaking sprinkler heads, replace them with WaterSense-labeled spray heads like this Rainbird 1800 Series Pop-Up Sprinkler Head, which provides up to 50% water savings. We are often asked, “Why does saving water matter when I still need enough water on my lawn to get to the roots?” WaterSense-labeled sprinkler heads regulate water pressure, which helps avoid over-spraying or -misting, ensuring your system is applying water only where landscaping needs it. Pressure regulation also applies water more slowly and evenly, allowing the water to absorb into the soil rather than being wasted through runoff or evaporation.

Once you have completed your system checkup and replaced heads as needed, consider upgrading your irrigation system controller to a WaterSense-certified version for more control over watering. Two types of systems offer significant savings: Soil Moisture-Based Sensing (SMS) Controllers and Wi-Fi Smart Weather-Based Controllers (WBIC).

Soil Moisture-Based Sensing Controllers

SMS controllers utilize soil moisture sensors that link back to the controller, queuing the system to override scheduled watering when the soil is damp. Manually adjusting watering schedules based on seasonal needs can be tedious, and SMS systems automatically adjust for you.

Wi-Fi Smart Weather-Based Controllers

WBICs are proving to be the most effective of WaterSense-labeled controllers, delivering impressive water savings by giving more control to the user. These controllers use local weather data and forecasts to predict watering needs and implement automatic delays in the event of recent or current rain. Rainbird’s Arc8 8-Zone App-Based Smart Irrigation Controller offers self-adjusting technology that reduces water usage up to 30% by skipping or adjusting watering duration as needed. Rain sensors communicate back to the controller and can automatically shut off your sprinkler system when it rains. The average residential irrigation system has four zones, each with different watering needs based on shade versus sun exposure and lawn versus landscaping. Having more control at the zone level allows homeowners to customize watering based on unique individual zone needs.

Droughts occur every year and pose challenges to communities and local agriculture economies. To combat the impacts of drought, many states have mandated that all new spray sprinkler heads contain pressure-regulating stems (PRS) to avoid water waste. Judy Herrera, Merchant of Irrigation at The Home Depot, advises, “Choosing WaterSense sprinkler heads and controllers means you can set it and forget it. And even better, with a WaterSense smart controller, you no longer have to manually set a rain delay.”


Local utility rebates on WaterSense products are available in many areas, making it easier to choose water-conserving products. Since these rebates vary by zip code, visit The Home Depot’s Rebate Center to see what’s available in your area. Alternatively, while shopping on, be sure to select the store nearest you for both store shopping and delivery zip code, and rebates in your area will appear just below the product price.

Drip Irrigation

Finally, not all landscaping needs an irrigation system or dedicated zone watering. Drip irrigation is an excellent option for landscaping installations and gardens. It optimizes water usage by applying water close to the plant root through slow-release drip application. And drip irrigation doesn’t need to be WaterSense-certified because it already saves 80% more water than a sprinkler system. A proof point of this: Most irrigation systems are measured in gallons per minute, but drip irrigation is measured by gallons per hour.

The Home Depot has been a proud and active partner of WaterSense since 2011, promoting water-conserving products to help people choose products that save water and perform to high standards. In 2023, our company was recognized for the seventh time as a WaterSense Partner of the Year since 2011, receiving the Sustained Excellence Award in three of those years.

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