Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - With warmer weather upon us, you may be getting ready to boot up your irrigation system to return your landscape to its former glory. Before you get started, remember that winter can take a toll on your sprinkler system, causing anything from cracked pipes to broken sprinkler heads. This type of damage can result in lots of wasted water.

Americans use nearly 9 billion gallons of water outdoors every day, primarily for landscape irrigation. Up to half of that is wasted due to evaporation, wind, and runoff from overwatering. In fact, a single broken or missing sprinkler head can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water and more than $90 over a six-month irrigation season—plus, it’s not healthy for your plants!

To reduce water waste (and avoid rising utility bills) this summer, consult a certified irrigation professional to spruce up your sprinkler system this spring. An irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense-labeled program is equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to get your watering system in tip-top shape. Go with a pro to:

• Audit: Test your irrigation system to confirm that it performs properly and efficiently.

• Install, maintain and repair: Select and service the appropriate equipment and site layout, as well as ensure proper scheduling of your irrigation system to optimize performance.

• Design: Customize your irrigation system to best suit your landscape and account for local climate conditions.

Even if you don’t need a full irrigation makeover, before you ramp up your watering efforts, give your system a little sprinkler spruce-up with these four steps: inspect, connect, direct and select. Inspect your sprinkler heads for cracks; look for leaks where sprinklers connect to hoses and pipes; direct spray onto your landscape and away from driveways and sidewalks; and, if you are currently using a clock timer to schedule watering, select a WaterSense-labeled, weather-based irrigation controller, which uses local climate data to provide only the water your plants need.

You can learn more about how to maintain a water-smart irrigation system, find a certified irrigation professional, and search for WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers by visiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense website at www.epa.gov/watersense/outdoor/watering_tips.html.