after overseeding, my water bill is how much??? did i over do it?

fourstringdrumsSeptember 16, 2007

First let me start from the beginning. I had an irrigation system put in around 5/22 and I watered my lawn about once a week for an hour per zone across 5 zones. Depending on the weather and when I was still getting used to it, I may have done watering twice a week a few times during that time. Then I had my existing lawn that was put in last year overseeded on August 30th and was watering 3 times a day, for about 30 minutes per zone, sometimes 40 minutes during the afternoon depending on the weather. Unfortunately we had a lot of hot weather during this time so I felt it was necessary.

So, I got my water bill for the irrigation which is on a separate meter so I'm not charged sewerage. To my horror, it was $747 billed from 5/22 - 9/10. Most of that I'm sure came from all the watering I did in the 12 days or so since my overseed. It says that I used about 8,840 gallons, although my town uses a multiplier of 10, so I got billed for 88,400.

The grass is thickening up for the most part that I can see, although there are just a few small patches that don't have anything yet. At this point I just plan on watering once a day, about 2-3 days a week early in the morning for about 35 minutes, and then after that, going back to my regular once a week schedule of an hour per zone, or two waterings of a half hour per zone.

Should this be alright? I can't afford to water any more than I have been. I'm really happy with how the lawn is looking, save for just a few areas that are starting to thicken up and those few patches that don't show anything yet which I can probably patch next year.

Granted I can't go back in time, but did I water too much? I was never watering to the point of puddling on the lawn, but I felt like 30 minutes or so 3 times a day was enough to keep the surface moist for the most part all day. My landscaper said that once early in the morning and once in the late afternoon/evening per day should have been good, and that even if the top most surface seemed dry, the seed bed was probably fine. I had a bad experience over seeding last year due to it getting done too late, so I didn't want it to go to waste this year and I was just being cautious. Was I TOO cautious in my watering times and my frequency?

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blip01(7, NJ)

Holy crap. I think my last bill was $165 for around 40,000 gallons.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 10:33PM
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Yeah, see that's not right. My town must have a much higher price per gallon than other towns and states for that matter.

My regular water bill which includes sewerage was billed at 14,000 gallons and it was $183.

Actually now that I think of it, our Governor had a "radio call in" day on a talk station here, and a woman from a town near Boston was calling to complain about the price of her water bill. She said she was paying $700 a month.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 10:43PM
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Wow, you get raked over the coals on water. Warranted, mine was $500 this quarter, but I was keeping the old lawn up and healthy so I could Roundup, decaying the old grass, and then bringing in seed.

The next quarter will be high, but not even that high.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 7:06AM
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blip01(7, NJ)

Did the second meter go in at the same time as the irrigation system? Any chance the charge for installing that meter is added to the first bill?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 7:23AM
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That could be right, depending on where you live.

Even though my pressure sucks, this maks me happy to have well water.

Although my rural area I do need to pay $35 a month for trash pickup!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 9:02AM
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turf_toes(SE Pennsylvania KBG)

To my horror, it was $747 billed from 5/22 - 9/10.

At that price, you'd be wise to consider an irrigation well. I have municipal water. But we are allowed to install a well for irrigation purposes.

I've been quoted about $5k for a well in my area. It would only be a few years at the prices you are paying before it would pay for itself.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 10:54AM
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Prices of water very greatly around the country so it is hard to say. But from the sounds of your monthly bill of $183 sems to be in line with your irrigation.

Anyway this may give you a clue if you do not mind doing some math. It takes 623 gallons of water to cover 1000/ft2 with 1-inch of water, or 1 gallon of water will cover 231/in2 1-inch deep.

So to get an idea of how much water to cover your area with 1-inch of water lets assume you have 5000/ft2 of lawn, so 5 * 623 = 3116 gallons of water per application.

Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 11:11AM
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Billl(z7 nc)

As to your original question, yeah - you overdid it. If you are watering 3 times a day, you don't need to leave it on for 30-40 minutes per zone. I'm sure you could have done 10 minutes 3 times per day and been fine. Going forward, if you have a couple of patches that still need help, cut back on the overall watering and just hand water those patches on the mornings you don't water everything.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 11:12AM
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I was charged $400 for the meter when the irrigation system was put in because it was done at the same time. I paid it then, so it's probably not added to this bill.

10 minutes per zone doesn't seem like enough to me. When I was first watering, I did 20 minutes, and within an hour, the first zone was completely bone dry on the top.

Well I'm just hoping that the areas that still have to come in, do so with just watering once a day in the morning for a week, and then 2-3 times next week, and the back to my normal schedule the week after for what is left of the watering season before my system gets shut off.

Oh yes, and my $183 wasn't for one month, that was spread out over 3 months. I pay quarterly.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 12:18PM
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I thought I read somewhere that something like 60% of the water consumption of a house is for lawn watering. If you water your lawn for six months out of the years, and your other water use is steady, then you are using 80% of your water within those six months. So, if your yearly water bill totals $1,000, then you are consuming $133 a month in water during your lawn-watering periods and $33 a month other times.

This is obvioulsy over simplified but you get the point. Lawn watering drastically increases water usage way more than laundry or 1-hour showers or dishwashers can ever do.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 12:58PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

Assuming your normal watering schedule of 1 hr per zone is putting out roughly the recommended 1" per week, a half hour 3 times a day is total overkill. That would be 1.5" a day or 10.5" a week. That is closer to a monsoon than a nice spring shower. If it worked for you, great.... but you probably could have gotten by with significantly less water.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 1:55PM
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Well it's all just something to think about should I ever overseed again, which my wife won't be happy if we do :) I'll just have to learn to be fine with say 15 minutes per zone 2-3 times a day even if I think I may need more.

I just hope I didn't do anything negative to the lawn by the watering. Like I said I have noticed a definite improvement, but I still have some areas that are yet to fill in. Just the same though I'm still cutting back the water for my bill's sake and to give the grass that is up the deeper watering it needs.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 2:25PM
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I guess what I'm wonder is, might I have done damage to the seeds by watering more than I should have, or might I have just delayed germination a bit? I plan on doing 20 minutes once a day, early in the morning for about a week, and then doing 30 minutes 2-3 times a week for a week, and then doing my 50-60 for a week.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 3:37PM
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I'll just have to learn to be fine with say 15 minutes per zone 2-3 times a day even if I think I may need more.

No you don't.

All you have to do is Calibrate your Sprinkler System (the tuna can test). This is the only way, to know for sure, how much water your applying in each zone. It will also show you if your system is applying water uniformly. Once you do this you can then set your timer accordingly.

Check out the link below for detailed info.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Calibrate Your Sprinkler System

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 4:46PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

If you watered enough to completely waterlog the ground, you could have caused some of the seeds to rot. That isn't very likely though. Seeds are pretty hardy, so as long as you didn't wash them away, they should grow. If you think you might have lost some in spots, sprinkle out a little extra seed and you should be fine. As long as you get some grass growing, it will thicken up substantially on its own and you can fix any minor imperfections later.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 4:47PM
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