How to Turn on Sprinkler System

After the harsh winter season, comes springtime. Depending on where you live in the United States, reopening your sprinkler systems might be during early spring in the South, and later in the North. The estimated time is to assure that the occurrence of freezing sprinkler pipes will not happen. 

And so, how do you open your sprinkler system for springtime? This post is to help you open up your sprinklers without problems. Follow these steps, and you’ll have your sprinklers running!

1. Investigate the lawn first

The first thing you need to do is to determine if the sprinkler system is ready to operate again for the spring season. By checking the ground beneath if it’s still frozen, you can prevent the scenario of having broken pipes and other damaged components, which can end up with costly repairs. 

Begin by digging up soil at a remote area in your yard. The depth should be at least 1 foot deep. If the ground beneath is still frozen, that means you have to postpone your plans to reopen the sprinkler system. Wait for a few weeks until the soil beneath is not frozen anymore.

2. Turn on the control panel

Once the ground is not frozen anymore, you can now open up the sprinkler system! Before that, you need to do some things first. First, locate the control panel installed outdoors. Open it up, and check the settings to determine if there are changes or you want to make changes. Replace the batteries of back-up power if it has one, if all of those are past six months old.

3. Inspect the sprinkler heads

Before opening up the main valves, you should check the condition of the sprinkler heads first. Otherwise, it will cause problems like uneven irrigation in some areas in the lawn later on. Make sure almost all the sprinkler valves are closed, except the one far away from the water source since that’s where the stuck-up air from the pipes will come out. Then, inspect the sprinkler heads one by one. If the nozzles have obstructions, then brush it off with an old toothbrush. 

4. Open up the main water supply valve slowly

Once the visual inspection of sprinkler heads is over, it’s time to open up the main water supply valve gradually. Suddenly opening up the main valves will cause the pipes and valves to suffer extensive damage due to sudden and immense build-up of pressure. 

The proper way to do this is to slightly open up the main valve (preferably about ¼ of full opening), to reintroduce water into the pipes. The gradual opening will also force out the air at the open sprinkler head at the farthest distance from the main valve. Wait for several minutes, then gradually open in intervals of every few minutes until fully opened.

5.  Check for any problems while the sprinkler system is running

While your sprinkler system is now operational for its first watering in springtime, use this as an opportunity to detect unseen problems. Begin by using the control panel to open up one zone at a time and check if there are unusual occurrences like malfunctioned sprinkler heads. The instance of a water stream coming out of sprinkler heads at low pressure is a possible indication of a damaged water supply pipe. 

To verify if it’s a damaged water supply pipe, maintain the water supply at the zone to see if an area in that zone becomes soggy. If it occurs, turn off the main water supply and replace the broken pipe. 

There might also be instances where some sprinkler head’s spray pattern is unusual. Which is why, noting which sprinkler heads need adjustments during the first watering is crucial. 

After resolving the issues that occurred in the first run, do another run and see if there are other issues. If everything is now okay, then it’s good to run until before winter.

And with that, you can now turn on your sprinkler systems by yourself! If you think this has helped you, then please don’t hesitate to share this with others!