Starting up an irrigation system in the spring is an important task to ensure that your plants and lawn receive the proper amount of water they need to thrive. Here are some steps to follow as a guide to get your irrigation system up and running for the spring season:
1. Check your lawn for frozen ground
You don't wanna take steps before your lawn agrees that the winter is over. Dig at least one foot into the soil in an inconspicuous part of your lawn. If you strike frozen ground, you’re too early and should wait for one to two weeks before activating the system.
Starting your sprinkler system while the soil is still frozen can result in broken water lines during the startup process or even hours later, if the ground is cold enough to freeze the water in the lines.
2. Inspect the system
Before turning on the water, take a walk around your property and check for any visible damage to the system. Look for broken sprinkler heads, leaks, or other issues that may have occurred over the winter.
If the nozzle is damaged, unscrew it from the head and buy a replacement at your local lawn care center. If there’s more extensive damage to the entire head assembly, the repair can be a bigger project that you might want to outsource to an irrigation maintenance professional.
3. Check the water source
Make sure that the water source for your irrigation system is turned on and functioning properly. This may be a well, a municipal water supply, or another source.
4. Slowly Open the Main Valve
Open the system main water valve slowly to allow pipes to fill with water gradually. Opening the valve too quickly sends a rush of water and air through the system, creating an effect called a “water hammer”. This surge of pressure can crack pipes, break valves and even send sprinkler heads rocketing into the air.
5. Run a manual test
Quick run zones one by one, then go watch your sprinklers at work. If the spraying range of a particular nozzle is significantly smaller than the other nozzles, that’s often a sign of a water line break or leak. It's possible that something is stuck in the nozzle or the valve. Watch for soggy spots to develop in your soil to pinpoint the area of the break. Clean the nozzles thoroughly, an old toothbrush helps with this job.
6. Adjust the system as needed
As the spring weather changes, you may need to make adjustments to your irrigation system to ensure that your plants are receiving the right amount of water.
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