The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the grass… isn’t growing yet? While using an irrigation system is the best way to take the work out of watering your lawn, it still takes some work to transition from winter to spring. Dewinterizing and starting your sprinkler system is a fairly large time commitment, especially if you have a larger property with more sprinkler heads. This guide will help you through each step to ensure you get your system set up right for the spring.
Check Your Lawn for Frozen Ground
Spring, especially in the northeast doesn’t exactly all happen at once. While we might have a few warm days in February, it’s best to wait for more consistency before you dive into this project. Make sure to test your lawn to make sure the ground is completely unfrozen before you start your system, otherwise you may cause damage to your water lines during the startup process. If you simply cannot wait, you might need to grab the hose and start to irrigate the old fashioned way.
Check Your Control Panel
Ah yes, the all important control panel. Without the brains of the operation, your system couldn’t operate. Make sure to review all the appropriate settings for scheduling, date and time, and irrigation zones. It’s also never a bad idea to replace the batteries at the beginning of the season so that you don’t have to worry about it later. If you are having issues, a quick google search of the model number can help clear things up.
Service Each Sprinkler Head
Depending on the size of your property, you may have many heads to inspect and clean. This can be rather time consuming, especially if there’s damage from the winter weather conditions.
Make sure to clean each nozzle, any blockage can interrupt the spray pattern, which could make certain areas of your lawn too wet or too dry. If there’s any damage to the nozzle, simply unscrew it and replace it. It’s a good idea to have at least a few spare nozzles on hand for this very purpose. If the damage goes deeper than the nozzle, you might want to call in a professional.
Slowly Open the Main Valve
The key word here is slow. Opening the valve all at once can be pretty harmful to your irrigation system as a whole. If water floods the system too quickly, it can generate some serious pressure that has the potential to crack pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads.
Slowly open the main valve just a few degrees until water begins to lightly flow, and wait a few minutes while it reaches the main line. Then continue to open it up a few degrees at a time. If your system includes multiple branches, repeat this process for each one.
Pro tip: Remove sprinkler heads while opening up the valve to allow dirt and debris to flow out. Once the water runs completely clear, close the valve and reattach the heads.
Check Each Irrigation Zone
After working through each zone individually, activate your full irrigation program for one final walk-through inspection. If you like what you see, you’re all done until it’s time for winterization
Your irrigation system is nearly ready to go! But before you check it off your list for the season, it’s a good idea to check to make sure each zone is working as planned. This works best when each zone is tested one at a time using your control panel. Activate a zone, then monitor the spraying pattern of the sprinklers. Two things to look out for are low pressure and over watered wet spots in the lawn. These are the signs of a water line break that you will need to get repaired before you start the season.
To adjust the spraying patterns, unscrew the nozzle, lift it out of the head assembly and reinsert it with the selector on the desired setting before screwing the ring back on. Rinse and repeat for each zone of your property until everything is just right. Now you’re finally good to go until next fall!
While this might be a daunting task, it’s worth it to make sure there’s no serious damage to your system. Don’t have time to do it yourself? We offer a comprehensive Spring Startup Service that covers everything in this article and more!
For any question about your irrigation system, or any repairs that need to be made, please give us a call at 781-828-2029, or contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.