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Sprinkler Systems: Should You Install One?

[Updated: Jan 21, 2021 ] May 08, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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If you own a home, you're probably well aware that you could spend just as much time -- and money -- maintaining the exterior of your property as you do its interior. One way to make outdoor maintenance easier is to install a sprinkler system. That way, you won't have to manually water the lawn.

But sprinkler systems don't tend to come cheap, and you have to maintain them, too. Here's what you need to know about sprinklers so you can decide whether it's worth installing a system on your property.

How much do sprinkler systems cost?

The amount you'll spend on a sprinkler system will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The size of your lawn and backyard (the larger they are, the more sprinkler heads and zones you'll need).
  • The features you want your system to have (some come with water sensors so they "know" whether to activate or avoid running right after a rainstorm).

HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI) says that the average cost of a sprinkler system is between $1,734 and $3,399. But for a one-acre lot, you might spend over $10,000 on one.

Benefits of getting a sprinkler system

Sprinkler systems make lawn and yard maintenance easy and convenient. Without one, you'll need to manually water your grass to keep it from drying out. That could be a time-consuming task you'd rather not have on your plate throughout the warmer-weather months. Along these lines, a sprinkler system can help you reach areas of your lawn you may not easily be able to access yourself.

A sprinkler system could also add value to your home and make it easier to sell, especially if you have a larger lot. Imagine you decide to sell your property at some point down the line, and it sits on half an acre of land. Buyers who aren't keen on maintenance might balk at the idea of having to manually water a property that size, but if it comes with sprinklers, that's not an issue.

Drawbacks of getting a sprinkler system

Sprinkler systems can be costly, and the money you spend on one is money you won't have for another renovation that could offer a better return on investment, like remodeling your kitchen.

Also, sprinklers require a fair amount of maintenance. Sprinkler heads can shift or break over time, requiring replacement, and you'll generally need to have your sprinklers winterized by a professional each year to avoid underground water lines freezing. That's a financial commitment right there.

Finally, in some cases, sprinkler systems can lend to added water usage and higher utility bills. When you're not manually watering a lawn, but rather setting sprinklers on a timer, you may not realize just how much extra water you're using. Watering your lawn with a hose could result in lower, more efficient usage.

Should you install sprinklers?

Your grass needs constant watering during warm weather for it to thrive. If you're willing to do that work yourself and have a smaller property, you may not need to spend the money on sprinklers. But if you're a busy person with a home on a larger lot, a sprinkler system could be quite the smart investment.

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Maurie Backman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.