Is a Sprinkler System Worth the Monthly Water Bill?

Sprinkler system watering residential lawn.

Last Updated: March 6, 2024

If you still water your lawn manually, is it because you’re worried that installing an automatic sprinkler system will increase your monthly water bill? Rest assured that most sprinklers actually improve watering efficiency and lower your water usage! To help you make an informed decision about whether a sprinkler system is worth it for you, our experts will help you determine the costs associated with a sprinkler system and how to maximize your investment.

Of course, the cost of your average water bill with a sprinkler system depends on how much land you need to water and where you live. The average water bill with a sprinkler system will vary by region, so your location will impact the cost of your water bill.In addition to your location, there are other costs associated with a sprinkler system you should know about. Here are some other things to consider.

Costs Associated with an Automatic Sprinkler System

Landscaper performing maintenance on a sprinkler system.

If you’re watering your lawn and landscape manually, all you need is a garden hose and a few attachments, depending on the types of plants you have. The costs associated with an automatic sprinkler system are a little more involved. That said, you still may be able to lower your water bill with a sprinkler system. But first, there’s an initial investment to consider. Here’s what to expect:

  • Installation: While professional installation is more expensive than a DIY approach, you’ll avoid all the back-breaking labour and disruption to your schedule and know the job was done right if you go with a pro.
  • Repairs and maintenance: You’ll need to perform routine maintenance and repair leaks and sprinkler head malfunctions promptly to prevent increased water bills.
  • Winterizing: It’s necessary to blow out and shut down the sprinkler system in the fall to avoid frozen pipes in the winter.

While this might seem like a lot, there are also many benefits to installing a sprinkler system for your property. Here are some of the important benefits of having a sprinkler system.

Benefits of Automatic Sprinkler Systems

Landscaper adjusting automatic sprinkler control system.

While there are significant costs to consider and pros and cons to installing an irrigation system, the benefits are often worth the initial investment. Here’s why:

  • Consistently, accurate watering: Proper irrigation is an art. If you water your lawn and plants too little, they may begin wilting. If you water them too much, you could inadvertently drown their roots or promote the growth of fungus that can damage or kill your lawn. An automated irrigation system featuring soil moisture sensors and weather forecast data makes it easy to walk that fine line between too little and too much water.
  • Perfect timing: Efficient lawn watering is all about the timing. Did you know early morning is the best time to irrigate? After all, watering during the day leads to increased evaporation, and watering in the evening can result in poor water absorption. Early-morning watering also decreases the likelihood of lawn diseases, as plants thrive with at least six hours of drying time before temperatures drop during the night. If you don’t like waking up at 5 a.m. to set up and turn on the sprinklers, you’ll love having an automated system that does the job for you.
  • Water when you’re out of town: Going away on summer vacation is enough to ruin your lush lawn for the remainder of the season. However, with an automatic sprinkler system, you can set the timer, turn on the sensors, and leave knowing your grass will remain hydrated and green while you’re gone.

How to Maximize the Benefits of Your Automatic Sprinkler System

Automatic sprinkler system watering grass.

So, how much does a sprinkler system add to a water bill? It varies. However, you can get the most from your investment and possibly reduce your average water bill with a sprinkler system by using these tips:

  • Decide which type of irrigation system to install: There are many techniques for watering your lawn and garden, including sprinkler, drip, surface, and subsurface irrigation systems. Then, you have different sprinkler heads to consider, including oscillating, revolving, stationary, and others. Each has its benefits, and all are worth considering before you install one or the other. If you’re unsure of what might work best for your property, a local landscape pro can help by providing valuable insight into the type of system and sprinkler heads you need to sufficiently water your lawn, plants, and scrubs.
  • Install an irrigation meter: Many municipalities allow home and business owners to install irrigation meters alongside the sprinkler system. This deducts the water used outside from your sewer costs, helping to reduce your overall water bills.
  • Follow efficient watering practices: Learn the irrigation requirements for your region. And adjust the sprinklers to water your grass and plants, not the driveway and sidewalk. Irrigate the lawn in longer, less frequent sessions to encourage deep root growth. Avoid watering on windy days and when heavy rain is forecast.

Factors Affecting Water Consumption

There are certain factors that affect water consumption, including rainfall and temperatures. And during the winter, when much of our region is covered in snow and ice, we’re not watering our landscape.

Comparing Water Usage with Alternative Watering Methods

The following are common types of watering systems:

Soaker Hose

Soaker hose in a garden.

  • Pros — Delivers water directly to the plant base and roots.
  • Cons — Short lifespan, hose tend to deteriorate over time.

Drip system (the most water-efficient)

Drip irrigation system watering plants.

  • Pros — Efficient water delivery, very little waste.
  • Cons — Installation can be complicated depending on the size of the system.

Automatic spray systems

Automatic sprinkler system.

  • Pros — Saves time, effort, and can cover a large area.
  • Cons — Installation can be high. Must be positioned correctly to be effective.

Rotor systems

Rotary sprinkler system.

  • Pros — Saves time, effort, and can cover a large area.
  • Cons — Installation can be high and requires expertise and maintenance.

Calculating the Cost of Water Consumption

Water usage bill.

One of the best ways to calculate the cost of water consumption is by looking at your water bill and multiplying how many litres you used by the price of a litre of water. Once you have that number, you can check the water usage for different systems you are considering against what you need. You can also ask a neighbour or someone you know in your area who has a sprinkler system if they wouldn’t mind sharing information about the operation cost. This way, you have a few comparisons. Just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when it comes to how much water you use on a daily and weekly basis.

Evaluating Water-Saving Features and Technologies

In addition to the convenience and other benefits of a sprinkler system, you can also add more water-saving features to these systems.. For example, you can install filters on drip systems to keep them from clogging. Manual hose bib timers are also a fantastic water-saving feature.

Rain sensors can be set up to ensure your automatic sprinkler system doesn’t run while it’s raining. You can add rain gauges that automatically shut off a system during rain. You can also place soil moisture sensors in strategic locations in the soil. These sensors will prevent the system from running when the soil already has enough moisture. Soil polymers can also be helpful when placed in the soil, absorbing water so roots can get the moisture they need to thrive.

Long-Term Financial Considerations

While you can lower your water bill with a sprinkler system, it still needs to be efficient to get the most benefits. If installed and properly maintained, your sprinkler system should last between 20 to 25 years. Of course, factors such as snow, ice, and accidents may mean you’ll have to repair or replace parts of the system at certain points.

Environmental and Sustainability Factors

Puddle forming around a sprinkler head.

In addition to keeping your water bills manageable, water conservation is another huge benefit of installing a sprinkler system, which is good for the environment. Using too much water can lead to land erosion, soil nutrient depletion, and insect infestations.

How to Decide If a Sprinkler System Is Right for You

If you only need to water a small patch of grass, then using a hose or single sprinkler should work just fine. However, if you have a large yard with a lawn and other landscaping, and want to keep it all properly hydrated and healthy, installing a sprinkler system can prove to be very beneficial for both your landscape and budget.

Consult with a Sprinkler System Professional

Now that you know the benefits of installing a sprinkler system, you may be wondering how to get started. If you’re interested in benefiting from an automatic sprinkler system but have questions about how much a sprinkler system costs, find The Grounds Guys® nearest you. Our experts will review your options, discuss installation, and can even set up a maintenance plan for you. We’re experts in the design and installation of both residential and commercial irrigation systems. We can design and install one to meet your precise watering requirements. We also provide services to keep your sprinkler system in top working condition throughout the year, and for many seasons to come. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation and estimate.

We’re committed to providing a superior level of service in every job we do. As a part of the Neighbourly family of home service brands, you can count on a high quality of work that’s backed by the Neighbourly Done Right Promise™, which guarantees your satisfaction.