After winter has passed, just simply starting up your irrigation system is never a good idea. Instead, air and water may surge through the pipes, often resulting in damage when this occurs.
Rather than find yourself repairing its key components, do some prep work beforehand to get it working up to par:
Check the Soil
As your first step, check the soil surrounding the sprinkler system. Specifically, dig into it with a spade or shovel to ensure it’s free of frost at least 12 inches below the surface. If it’s not, your system’s pipes could experience some freeze damage.
Reduce the Pressure
At this point, when you go to turn the sprinkler on, you want to avoid what’s called surge pressure, which can be up to 15 times what the system can handle. Even if you don’t see damage now, you still risk failure down the line.
So, to reduce the pressure, remove the sprinkler heads located at each zone’s highest point. This pushes the air out right as the system starts refilling.
Refilling the Sprinkler
You want to take this slow, too, to reduce any possible surge pressure and to ensure peak functionality of all shutoff and zone valves. First, start with the sprinkler’s main line, slowly opening the shutoff valve a quarter turn.
After the main line is filled and checked, go through each zone with the same approach.
Then, when you notice that the water coming out of the open riser is free of air bubbles, close off that specific zone. Continue to check until all zones are filled.
Test the Sprinkler
As soon as it’s completely filled, run each zone for exactly two minutes to test your automatic timer. At the same time, this gets rid of any residual air and lets you see if the sprinkler heads are working properly. As this goes on, glance at each valve and sprinkler head to ensure all are level with the ground, that they’re spraying correctly, and that none of the parts display any cracks or breaks.
After you’ve gone through these crucial steps, you still need to give your sprinkler a once-over for:
- Sprinkler head rotation and adjustment
- Spray coverage
- How filters perform
- Your timer’s accuracy
Because winter could have damaged your sprinkler’s parts, there’s a chance you may need to purchase fittings, risers, heads, pipe, primer, or cement. When this occurs, be ready with a replacement from Sprinkler System Store. Browse today for all listed above and more essentials.
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