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Meet Evan, Our Irrigation Technician

 

Evan 4 resized 600

Evan joined Controlled Rain, LLC last year and has already amazed our customers!!  We look forward to this spring and summer season.  Get to know Evan -

QA

Q: How did you get started in the irrigation industry and how long have you been servicing your customers?

A: Most of my sprinkler experience comes from working at golf courses.  I worked at Castle Pines in Colorado for 2 years and spent another 2 years at the Golf Club at Hawks Prairie in Lacey, WA.  Working with Controlled Rain through one winterization service season has prepared me to meet all their customers in person this spring.  I am looking forward to getting to know Controlled Rain’s customers and helping them get the most out of their irrigation systems. 
 

Q: What is the best part of being an irrigation technician?

A: I like being an irrigation technician because there is always a different problem to fix and it always keeps you on your toes.  Not only have I really enjoyed meeting the great customers we have; I also enjoy fixing things to help people.  At Controlled Rain, I get to do both – so I am a lucky guy.
 

Q: Do you have a story to share about helping a customer?

A: My goal is to go above and beyond to get the job done right while giving our customers the best experience possible.  I work with speed, cleanliness, a good attitude and attention to detail plus superior skills and knowledge.  I look forward to creating some great stories with my customers.


Q: What kind of hobbies do you like?

A: I have a bunch of things I like to do and am very active.  I love to hunt, fish, camp, work on anything with a motor, spend time with family, ride my motorcycle, and go out on the boat.

 

Q: What are some fun facts about you?

A: I served our country as a Marine. 

I am 27.   

I have a beautiful wife, Tiana.

We have two awesome boys: Tristan, age 4 and Aaden, age 1

I do whatever it takes to get the job done right.

 

A little bit about Controlled Rain, LLC:

At Controlled Rain, your service experience is our highest priorities.  Because of that, we offer:

  • A Better Business Bureau A+ rating.

  • Highly-trained, extensive background checked and drug-free technicians.

  • We are constantly mindful of your valuable time.

  • The peace of mind that comes from a knowledgeable technician who will be able to diagnose and fix your problem to your satisfaction.

  • Absolute 100% Customer Satisfaction

  • And much, much more

In summary, there is no company better geared to helping your family and landscape needs than Controlled Rain. We're proud to serve you. 

If you want to meet Evan in person and have him do a Spring Start Up on your system, click here and sign up.

Spring Start Up

 

Controlled Rain Celebrates Giving Tuesday

 

Now that Cyber Monday is over, it is time to focus on Giving Tuesday!

Controlled Rain is landscaping the New Quixote Village (Homeless Shelter) and there is several opportunities to give.  It Takes a Village to Build a Village!  Every year during this time, my family plans to give in some way by donating money, time, food, toys, and clothing to either our church, the homeless, or somebody we know in need.

Homeless City    Homeless City Freezing

Have you heard about the tent city that has to move every so often to keep the city of Olympia happy?  Well, somebody had a dream to create a community for these people and more. The new community is called Quixote Village and is located in Olympia, in an industrial area, near South Puget Sound Community College.

This year, Controlled Rain gets the opportunity to do the landscape work at the new Quixote Village which will provide homeless neighbors with secure and dry places to live while they turn their energies towards improving their lives.

Cottages all in a Row        Community Building

This village has 30 small cottages and a community building that will include a shared kitchen, dining room, living room, library, restroom, showers, and laundry facilities.  This village also will have a common grassy area, BBQ area, and will have areas to grow gardens and a basketball court too.

path2 resized 600

I thought I would give my time and help advertise for this cause because it really does take a village to build a village!  There will be 30 residents in 30 cottages so they need a lot of items not only for the cottages but the common areas too.  Help support this new homeless community by donating items on their needs list: 

FOR EACH OF THE 30 COTTAGES
  • Basic cleaning supplies
  • Light bulbs
  • Toilet paper
  • 4′x6′ (approximately) area rugs
  • wastebaskets &/or small garbage cans
  • twin bed sheets and pillowcases
  • throw pillows (no bed pillows needed)
  • bedside lamps
  • brooms and dustpans

VILLAGE NEEDS FOR THE COMMUNITY BUILDING

  • Dish towels, hand towels, washcloths for the kitchen
  • Pot scrubbers
  • Green Kitchen cleaning supplies
  • Green dishwasher detergent
  • Green shower cleaning supplies
  • Light bulbs
  • Pots and pans of all shapes and sizes
  • Coffee mugs
  • Drinking glasses
  • Flatware for at least 30 people
  • Cooking utensils: spatula, wooden spoons, slotted spoon, cheese grater, etc.
  • Blender
  • Large rice cooker
  • Toasters
  • Optional but welcome: Popcorn maker, food processor, canning equipment
  • Spices
  • Pantry items: sugar, flour, canned goods, coffee, tea, beans, rice
  • Mixing bowls
  • Serving bowls and platters
  • Serving spoons
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Flower vases
  • Iron
  • Bathmats or small rugs for shower rooms
  • Toilet paper
  • Flat screen TV for living room
  • DVD player
  • Dry firewood for wood stove

Since the Village isn't quite finished, please call Jill at 360-753-2095 to make arrangements to drop off your donations.  You can find out a lot more information on the Quixote Village history and other ways to donate your time and money.  Check the village out at http://quixotevillage.com/


So Celebrate Giving Tuesday by helping the Quixote Village in Olympia. Thank you for your generosity to the future residents of Quixote Village!  The residents will be moving in the month of December, early January.
 
KIMG0107 2    KIMG0108 2

5 Reasons to Go Green with a Christmas Tree

 

Live Christmas TreeHere are 5 good reasons to use a live Christmas Tree instead of a cut or artificial tree.  

  1. Helps the environment
  2. Saves our landfills by reducing the amount of waste
  3. Absorbs carbon monoxide and emits fresh oxygen back into the environment
  4. After Christmas, the tree can be planted and it will provide a habitat for wildlife
  5. Get a traditional holiday decoration AND a new addition to your landscape

After you purchase a Live Christmas Tree, set it on a porch near the front or back door for 3 days, then bring it into the house and place it in a cooler location near a window and keep it watered really well.  Once the holidays are over, move the tree back to the porch for 3 days and it will be acclimated and ready to plant in a roomy spot with plenty of space for future growth. 

 

Top 2 Ways to Protect your Plants from Freezing

 
freezing plants all cropped resized 600

The weather has quickly changed from cold to freezing.  It is time to make sure that your outdoor plants will survive the weather elements.  Here are the top 2 ways to protect your plants from frost damage. 

  1. Water the soil thoroughly around your plants;  and

  2. Cover your plants. 

The water holds the heat in the soil and then the cover traps the heat in the ground to avoid root damage.  Wet soil holds heat better than dry soil.  Cover your plants in the evening and then uncover when temperatures rise the next day.  You can find most of these recommended covers right in your home: bed sheets, drop cloths, blankets, buckets, garbage cans, and plastic sheets (make sure plastic doesn’t touch foliage, put a sheet first). Be sure that the cover goes all the way to the ground and should be secured to not fly away or tip over.  The whole idea is to trap the heat in the ground.

Here are 4 more ways to help preserve your landscape for spring.

  1. In the Puget Sound Area, we can get away with covering low plantings with straw mulch and then remove once the danger of frost has passed.

  2. You can also place an outdoor lamp in the interior of a small tree. Holiday lights on a tree can help too.  These lights can emit enough warm heat to reduce frost damage.

  3. When designing your landscape, place sensitive plants close to the house so they have some shelter from the elements.

  4. For potted plants, place them on your porch, in your garage, or under your house crawl space to protect them from the cold, wind, and rain. Potted plants are much more sensitive to frost damage because the cold can get to the plant from all sides of the pot.

With proper nutrition, light, and water throughout the year, your plants will be established and stand a good chance of surviving a freeze.  Covering plants before a freeze is not a guarantee but will definitely help the majority of your plants.

Don’t forget plants are resilient and can come back in the spring even if you think they are damaged.  Always wait to do anything until spring to see if new growth is occurring in your plants.

 

 

Controlled Rain, LLC Celebrates 20 Years

 

From Libbie’s point of view--

Twenty years ago, my husband, Brian decided to start an irrigation company.  Yep, an irrigation company in September, just when the weather starts to get rainy and cold.  Brian had been working in the irrigation industry at supply houses for over 10 years.  He held positions as a warehouseman, salesman, and a store manager.  After 10 years in this industry and dealing with contractors day in and out he knew what the good contractors and the bad contactors were doing.  So he decided to model after the good contractors, having good integrity, quality, and providing a good environment for employees.  I worked for the State, Dept of Ecology and didn’t start full time with Controlled Rain until 1998, 5 years after Controlled Rain started.  Don’t think I wasn’t working though!  I did payroll on Sundays, paperwork on my lunch breaks and did all the month end and quarterly paperwork on the weekends or in the evenings. 

old logo

 

Girls curlers

We had two girls, Kaileen, age 5 and Katrina, age 1.  About this time we unofficially adopted Julie, age 17 who moved in and helped nanny the girls.  She was our creative director developing our first logo.  Controlled Rain started in one side of the garage and the other side was Julie’s room.  It wasn’t abnormal to find the three girls running around the house or office with rollers in their hair.  Good memories.

Brian quickly realized he wouldn’t be able to only specialize in irrigation in this area.  So he hired somebody with the plant knowledge and estimating experience  so he could offer the landscaping piece.  Let the landscape and irrigation begin…

Controlled Rain’s first commercial job was at the Boone Ford Truck Ranch at the Auto Mall,Olympia,WA.  That was the job where Brian was forced to learn how to operate equipment. 

Brian Boone Ford

 

 Girls Boone Ford

While living and working out of our home in Lacey, Controlled Rain purchased its first bobcat.  Our little neighborhood was having anxiety with us running our business out of our home with equipment and trucks in our driveway, so we relocated our home and business to the Spurgeon Creek area in 1996 and really began to grow the business.

In 2002, Controlled Rain relocated to its current location on 93rd Avenue in Tumwater.  Not only do we have nice office space, but we have a huge shop, a yard for our equipment, and over 2 acres to spread out.  We are very privileged and thankful to have such a nice facility.

While growing up both of our girls didn’t want anything to do with the business until recently.  Kaileen wants to learn the estimating side since she has an architecture, mechanical drawing interest.  Katrina fell in love with working outside in the elements and loves being “one of the guys”.  The field team has been teaching and helping her grow in her landscape and irrigation knowledge.  She also doubles as a receptionist (soon to be hair stylist) and works at a new Aveda Hair Salon inTacoma.

Julie also worked for Controlled Rain for a short time to help launch some residential irrigation marketing before she left for missionary work and is now is a dental hygienist. 

Katrina has fond memories of coming home from school and harassing everyone in the office and then she and Kaileen would play using all the trailers and equipment as apartments until it was time for dinner. 

Kaileen remembers wanting to move to the basement to get away from Controlled Rain.  But she first had to figure out how to escape out of the basement if there was a fire.  She had to prove to us that she could climb the wall, open the window, and climb out of the window well that was about 4.5 feet deep outside.  We ended up moving a chest in front of the window to allow her to have success.  She also remembers putting on a hard hat, orange vest and hand watering around Capitol Lake making prevailing wage at the age of 15. She thought she was rich.

Julie felt honored when we asked her to create our logo, and then later creating brochures and residential marketing stuff.  She remembers in the beginning, me coming home from my state job and then having to go out into the Controlled Rain headquarters (garage) to work even more.  She felt a lot of pride in being trusted with making sure the family meals were ready, house was clean, and girls were taken care of so we could get Controlled Rain off the ground.  She also loved it when Brian would occasionally come into the house and talk to her about his problems.  She liked being able to listen to him and help with whatever she could. She felt valued.

Brian and Libbie McClaflin

I admire Brian with all he has accomplished in his life.  He is a great friend, mentor, father, husband, son, brother, and employer.  If you know Brian, you know he has a huge heart and is very giving.  He would literally give you his shirt off of his back if you needed it with no questions!  I absolutely love that about him.  I believe that because he has such a giving spirit with no strings attached, he will always be rewarded in the end.  

It’s funny because both of the girls worked for us through out their lives, from emptying garbage, shredding paper, filing, answering phones, helping with payroll, and saying that they “hated it”.  Well now, they both want to work for Controlled Rain, LLC.  A true success story – being able to work with your whole family together and having them actually wanting to work with us!  What a compliment! Here's to the next 20 years!!

con rain logo

 

 

 

 

How much water do you use? Especially in your landscape?

 

mary ann dickinsonMary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of Alliance for Water Efficiency, was a keynote speaker at a Rain Bird conference in January 2013.  She educated irrigation professionals from all over the nation as well as Canada on water usage, water efficiency, and water conservation. The Alliance for Water Efficiency is dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water; and it brings together diverse range of stakeholders to advocate for water-use efficiency and conservation.

According to Dickinson, Nationwide research shows landscaping as using the most water on a daily basis [See Diagram]. 

 Urban Water Pie Chart

Landscape - 58%
Toilets - 11%
Clothes Washers - 9%
Showers - 7%
Faucets - 6%
Baths - 1%
Dishwashers - 1%
Other - 7%

Two terms she educated us on were:

  • Water Efficiency refers to the product: lowest flow rate; and
  • Water Conservation refers to the behavior of consumers using the product.

We can help the water efficiency movement by upgrading our irrigation systems with more efficient fixtures just like we did with our indoor plumbing industry.  This will help change behavior to think use less water for water conservation when irrigating our yards and shrubs.

You can save up to 40% of your water use by switching out your fixtures to Green Seal products offered by Rain Bird.  This translates into being environmentally responsible as well as saving money on utility bills. How much water do you use in your landscape?  Are you still using a hose to water your plants, shrubs, and grass? Do you have an efficient sprinkler system with a smart controller watering only when needed?  There are many ways to save on your water use.

If you want help figuring out your water usage, you can find a calculator on Rain Bird's website: 

Rain Bird Logo

Or you can call an irrigation professional to audit your system and make recommendations. 

At Controlled Rain, LLC we have a certified water auditor on staff and also have highly trained technicians that can make these water saving recommendations.  Call us today at 360-456-7578 to schedule an appointment.

Celebrate World Water Day - March 22

 

World Water Day was founded in 1993 by the United Nations and has worked with local partners and communities to solve the water and sanitation crises.  Each year, on March 22, we join together to highlight the global water crisis and celebrate the progress made to date.

While different organizations use it to highlight the impact of water on one day, www.water.org uses the entire week to lift up its mission: sustainable safe water access for the 780 million people currently without it. The goal is to make this a reality in our lifetime. So let's celebrate water, the progress that's been made, and that progress we are continuing to make.

Water Conservation

Smart ControllerIn an effort to save water, Controlled Rain is offering a smart controller at a discounted price.  A smart controller can save customers 30-70 percent in water. This type of controller is a weather-based schedule system that measures instantaneous rainfall data and calculates and adjusts the watering schedule preventing over- or under-watering.  Each zone is customized to the location, soil type, landscape slope, plant density, sun exposure, sprinkler types, and root requirements optimizing the watering schedule while reducing water waste and runoff.

If you are interested in participating in World Water Day in the month of March and would like to take advantage of a discounted Smart Controller, click on  "Are your Sprinklers Ready for Spring" and fill out the form and we will contact you to set up a time to install it. 

 

Why Winterize Your Sprinklers Video

 

Yep it's finally finished -- the Winterization Video. 

I had the privilege to go out with one of our winterization teams and winterize several systems.  I have not seen this process so it was a real education for me. 

CompressorThe first thing they did was turn off the water source and hookup the compressor.  The compressor fitting hooked into the quick coupler key, which fit into the quick coupler valve for easy access to the pipes.  The quick coupler valve is normally found in a round valve box.  Once this is all hooked up, each zone was turned on at either the controller or at each valve box.

WinterizationI didn't realize what the sprinklers would look like when our technicians pushed all that compressed air through the sprinkler pipes to the sprinklers.  The sprinklers look normal at first and then they become all mystified and a bit scary, and then all you hear is air pushing up the sprinkler head, then it's time to do the next zone.  You keep doing the same process until all the zones are done and you turn the controller to the "off" position.

Thank you to David and Dustin for allowing me to tag along and ask so many questions.   

watch-our-sprinkler-winterization-video  

9 Steps to Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

 

Hire a Professional to Winterize your Sprinkler System

A trained professional will be able to drain all the water from your system using a winterization blow out method – air compressor.  This method ensures that you will not have any extra water in the irrigation lines, valves, and sprinkler heads that can freeze resulting in breaks and damage to your system.

Generally, there are two types of systems: one that is automatically controlled with a clock and one that is controlled manually at each valve.  I will explain both winterization methods.

Caution:  If you attempt this on your own, wear protective eye protection and never stand over irrigation pipes, sprinklers, or valves during this process.  The manual drain valve or drain cap is pressurized and can cause injury if opened before the pressure is relieved.

For the automatic system, the technician will:

 

  1. Close the mainline shutoff valve.
    Shut Off Valve
  2. Activate a zone furthest from the air connection using the controller.
    This will relieve the water pressure on the mainline.  (Always keep a zone valve open from the ESP SMT controller resized 600time he/she starts the compressor to shut down.)



  3. Attach the compressor hose to the quick coupler valve using the quick coupler key.Quick Coupler Valve
  4. Set the pressure regulating valve on the compressor to 50 psi.gauge resized 600



  5. Turn on the compressor, gradually increasing the airflow until all the sprinkler heads pop up in that zone (be sure not to go over 2 min per zone.)
  6. Switch to the next zone using the controller (never turn off the controller during the process).  Repeat until all zones have been blown out.
  7. Repeat the cycle two or more times activating each zone until only a fine mist emerges from the heads.
  8. Once he/she is done blowing out all zones, the technician will leave one zone on while turning off the compressor. 
  9. Unhook the compressor from the mainline and turn the controller to the OFF position.

 

For the manual system, the technician will:

  1. Close the mainline shutoff valve.
  2. Open the manual shutoff handle on one of the irrigation zone controlcontrol valve resized 600 valves to relieve the water pressure on the mainline (Always keep a zone valve open from the time the compressor starts to shut down.)
  3. Attach the compressor hose to the quick coupler valve using the quick coupler key.
  4. Set the pressure regulating valve on the compressor to 50 psi.
  5. Turn on the compressor, gradually increasing the airflow until all the sprinkler heads pop up in that zone (be sure not to go over 2 min per zone.)
  6. Open the next control valve to winterize before turning off the control valve you just blew out.   Repeat until all zones have been blown out.
  7. Repeat the cycle two or more times activating each zone until only a Sprinklerfine mist emerges from the heads.
  8. Once he/she is done blowing out all zones, the technician will turn off compressor to allow any air in irrigation components to disperse before disconnecting the air hose or valves.    
  9. Unhook the compressor from the mainline.

Register to Winterize Sprinklers

Why Use a Rain and Freeze Sensor on your Sprinkler System?

 

RainBird Rain Sensor resized 600With our Washington weather, you never know if the weather will be freezing out or sunny one minute and rainy the next. 

Have peace of mind knowing you are:

  •       Watering when it’s nice outside, not raining or freezing out
  •       Preventing overwatering
  •       Conserving water
  •       Saving money on water bills   
  •       Preventing possible hazards

Rain Sensor:

With a rain sensor, you can have security knowing that you are only watering when it’s needed.  The sensor has a removable tipping rain bucket that measures the rainfall.  You can adjust the sensor to automatically stop watering when the bucket is filled to an 1/8" up to 3/4".

Rain/Freeze Sensor Combo:

The Rain/Freeze sensor is programmable.  Most people set it at 35 degrees to turn off the system.  This helps prevent possible hazards to pedestrians with icy sidewalks and damage to your sprinkler system and landscape. 

Either the Rain Sensor or Rain and Freeze Sensors connect to most sprinkler controllers.  It’s not too late to install the sensor this year.

  add-a-rain-and-freeze-sensor-today

 

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5 Common Items to Check when turning on Sprinkler System in Spring

 

After your sprinkler system water lines have been recharged with water.  These items should be inspected immediately:

  1. Spring Startup CTAs smallWater Lines Look for breaks in the water lines.  Water bubbling up under grass, bark or shrubs; or a lot of water forming puddles in these specified areas is a sure sign of a broken pipe.
  2. Sprinkler Heads Check each sprinkler head to make sure there aren’t any breaks or buried with grass or dirt. This could be water shooting straight up like a geyser, the sprays will be erratic, or there may not be any water coming out of sprinkler head at all.  Be sure to adjust all spray heads to water your plants, shrubs, and yard and not hard surfaces like walkways, driveways, or your house.
  3. Nozzles Check Nozzles to make sure not broken or plugged. Grass grows over the sprinklers and plugs up the nozzles. 
  4. Valves Check each valve box for any breaks or leakage; sometimes critters get in there and make a mess with the wires and gophers like to make mounds of dirt to cover the valves.  Clean out valve boxes and make sure the valves are working properly.  If there is a lot of water in your box check valves and pipe coming into box for breaks. 
  5. Controller Check to make sure the Controller still has its program from the last season and replace the batteries.  Make sure you have the proper watering schedule set up.

If you have any problems with one of these items, give us a call and we would be happy to come out and assist you with your efforts. 

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