Five Tips For Starting Up Your Irrigation System In Spring

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The soil is thawed, frosty weather is behind you, and the grass is beginning to grow again. These are all signs that it is time to turn your sprinkler system back on for the season.

1. Inspect the Emitters

The first step is to make sure the emitters, or sprinkler heads, weren't damaged over the winter months. Walk the lawn and locate each sprinkler head. You may need to remove debris and turf to reveal pop-up heads since these can easily become covered. A trowel or similar tool works well for carefully digging out emitters without causing them any damage. Verify that the emitters physically appear to be in good condition, without cracks or other signs of wear.

2. Replace Damaged Parts

Before moving on, you will need to replace any damaged emitters or surface sprinkler lines that you find during your initial inspection. Otherwise, you may end up with a failed station in the sprinkler system and poor watering. It's generally best to replace a broken head with the same basic style of emitter unless you are planning to rework and adjust the zones on the entire sprinkler system.

3. Adjust for Startup

There are still a few things to do before you start up the system. The backflow preventer on the system is typically opened during winter to prevent water from collecting in the lines, but it will need to be closed before you turn the system back on. It is also a good idea to remove the last emitter on the sprinkler line so that any debris that got into the lines over winter can be flushed out. Some systems come with a flush-out valve at the end of the line, which can be opened in lieu of removing a sprinkler head. The head can be replaced or the valve closed after you have tested the system.

4. Turn the Water On

It's finally time to turn the water back on. Open the water valve slowly so that water doesn't rush into the sprinkler lines. Too much water too quickly can lead to a pressure issue that causes lines to burst. Once the water is safely flowing, you can set the system's test program so that each zone is briefly activated.

5. Inspect by Zone

Walk the yard a final time as each zone comes on. Look for emitters that aren't working properly or that need to be realigned. Once the system shuts down, you can repair the emitters or damaged lines. It's also a good idea to walk the yard and look for any boggy spots between sprinkler heads, as this can indicate an underground line break.

Contact an irrigation system service like Pacific  Sunscapes in your area for more assistance with your sprinkler system startup.