Getting Your Irrigation System Ready for Spring
Spring is here, and it’s the time of year when you refresh, replenish and rejuvenate. That can mean bringing new life to your garden and lawn by having the irrigation system take care of it all. Flowers, trees, and grass need a combination of water and sunshine to flourish in warm weather. Spring is the time when you want blooming flowers and vibrant green lawns that can make spring come to life in your yard. How do you make sure your irrigation system ready for spring?
Dewinterize Your Sprinkler System First
In late-fall, early-winter, when you shut down your sprinkler system, you essentially put it in hibernation until the next spring season. Underground sprinkler systems are usually operated on an automated setting, an effortless process for most people. Preparing an underground sprinkler system to be ready for winter can be challenging to do correctly, just as much as it can be to open it back up. A thing that you always want to avoid is hitting the sprinkler heads when you mow the lawn, which is perhaps the natural part of the maintenance process. Spring de-winterization of your sprinkler system can take upwards of around two hours, although property size, the state of the sprinkler system, and sprinkler heads impact it too.
How to Get Your Irrigation System Ready
Check if the Ground is Frozen
First, you’ll have to check to see if the ground is still frozen. To check, dig around one foot into the soil using a shovel, and if the shovel hits the frozen ground, it’s best to wait a couple of weeks before doing another dig test. It is not wise to start your sprinkler system if the area is still frozen; this could cause breakage of the water lines while the sprinkler system is being started, or sometime later, when the ground freezes the water and causes the water line to break. If you have to water your lawn, use a proper old hose to do the job and to not risk permanent damage to your irrigation system.
Fire Up Your Control Panel
The control panel works as the brain of our sprinkler system, and this is where de-winterization gets a jump start. You’ll want to start up the control panel and check the settings for features like date, irrigation zones, and scheduling. Check to see if the battery needs to be replaced if been used for six months or more.
Open the Main Valve to Start Up Your Sprinkler System
Open up the main water valve, being mindful not to be quick in doing this, which could push water and air through the system too fast. This could cause the “water hammer” effect, which can result in cracked pipes, valve breakage, and damage to the sprinkler heads. Begin opening the main valve and listen for the water flow, then allow the water to feed into the main pipe. Every few minutes, open the valve wider until it’s fully open. If you have a system with multiple branch lines, you’ll need to repeat the process at each line’s main valve after the mainline is filled with water. Assess the faraway sprinkler valves after that process is completed and ensure that dirt and debris buildup in the line is pushed out. Close the valve once the water clears up, remembering to refasten the nozzle.
Assess Your Irrigation Zones
At this point, your sprinkler system is ready for its first spring use. Make adjustments to the sprinkler nozzles if you need to, and check the irrigation of all your zones to look for even spray patterns. You want to make sure your lawn is watered adequately. When the irrigation system is started up, check for malfunctioning sprinkler heads, soggy spots, and low water pressure, and low water pressure. This is when you’ll see if you have a line breakage, which would require you to shut off the main valve until the repair is completed. Complete a final walk-through inspection of each area when your irrigation system is fully activated and ready. If everything is all set, your irrigation system is ready for sp