With the seasons changing, it’s time to start thinking about your sprinkler maintenance for spring. Performing necessary sprinkler maintenance now will help ensure that your system will operate efficiently and keep your lawn watered all spring and summer. Follow these maintenance tips to get your sprinkler up and running for the season.
Closing Open Valves and Drains Left Open from the Fall
First, you’ll want to make sure that your sprinkler system’s control box is turned off. This will prevent the system from turning on until you’re ready. During your fall shutdown, the drains and valves were opened to allow water to drain. Now they all need to be closed again. This includes the valves on the backflow prevention device, the electronic valves in the box, and the drain valves that are located in the in-ground box near the end of the sprinkler manifolds.
Make sure that the drain, also known as the blow-out point, is shut tight. The drain can be either a cap or plug, and can be found near the bonnet which looks like a bell. You’ll need to know where the main water shutoff is for your system. This usually can be found in your utility room, basement, or crawl space. Close the drain valve near the irrigation shut off.
Turning the Water Back On
With all the valves and drains closed, you can now turn on the main irrigation supply line. You will want to slowly turn it on while listening to see if the sound of water running stops within a few seconds. If it continues to run, you probably missed closing one of the valves. Turn off the water supply and go look outside for signs of water spraying. Once you locate the valve, close it and then proceed to turn the water back on.
With the water on and no water leaks anywhere, you can now open the ball valve near the system’s backflow preventer to pressurize the device. Open the other ball valve slowly, leaving it at a 45-degree angle. This will allow the mainline to charge up and will take several minutes, until you hear the water stop running. While this is happening, take a look around at your system to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
Starting Up the System
Now that your system is charged, it’s time to run each individual zone and check for signs of leaks. Over the winter it’s possible that sprinkler heads or pipes became damaged and now require sprinkler maintenance. In some cases, you may only need to clean out clogged nozzles and heads to get them to work properly. If this doesn’t fix the problem, replacing a sprinkler head is an easy part of sprinkler maintenance.
Make sure that your sprinkler heads are not wasting water by spraying your sidewalks or other paved areas. Make adjustments necessary so your spray pattern goes correctly toward your lawn or gardens. Now that your system is ready to go, make sure that your control box is programmed with the times and days that you want your lawn to be watered.