Temperatures are warming up, and that means it’s time to water your lawn once again! Be the envy of the neighborhood with a lush, hydrated lawn and conserve water by properly starting up your sprinkler system. If you use a sprinkler service to shut down and start up your sprinkler system every year, then give them a call and schedule your sprinkler start up and inspection.
If you typically start up your sprinkler system yourself, then start by taking a lap around your yard. Check the sprinkler heads to make sure they weren’t trampled during a snow-football game are level with the ground.
Before you turn your sprinkler on for the first time this spring, trim the grass around the sprinkler heads.
Next, turn on the water to your sprinkler system by turning on the valve on your sprinkler supply line. If it’s a ball valve, turn the handle so that it is parallel to the supply line (it is off if it is perpendicular to the supply line). If it’s a gate valve, it will look like a small wheel. Turn the wheel counter-clockwise as many times as you can so that it’s wide open.
After you have opened the valve, tighten the petcock, a round part located near the valve that looks like a large metal toothpaste cap. In cold climates, the petcock should be left open all winter to prevent pipes from bursting, but now that the weather is warmer, tighten it to prevent water drips. If you don’t see the petcock, then you may not have one.
Now that the water is on, it’s time to turn on the controller for the sprinkler system. If you have a mechanical controller, simply turn on the electricity for the controller. Your controller will be located inside your home or garage.
If you have a solid-state controller, you may have set it to “rain mode” during the winter. For spring, change the mode back to its active mode.
The first time you run the sprinklers, run each station for around two minutes to double-check that each station works properly, that the sprinkler heads are not damaged, and that they are directing water in the proper direction.
Note: If your “backflow preventer device” was removed when you shut-off your sprinkler system for winter, re-install it prior to turning on the water. Unless you're familiar with good plumbing practices, we recommend you hire a plumber or sprinkler service to assist.