Sprinkler System Spring Startup

When those cold, barren days of Winter have finally come to an end, it’s probably time to fire up the old irrigation system, right? So you go outside, open the supply valve wide, turn on the timer, and suddenly, without any warning, a geyser erupts.

So what happened here? Although a myriad of factors come into play here, one thing is certain: neglecting to properly start up your irrigation system doesn’t bode well for your lawn, let alone your wallet. Fortunately, we’re here to help you avoid this daunting scenario.

With just a few simple steps, we can protect your irrigation system from immediate and unforeseen damage that occurs after improper startup. Not only that, a sound sprinkler system startup ensures those underground pipes remain reliable for years to come.

Sprinkler System Startup

Why Is Proper Sprinkler System Startup So Important?

Lots of homeowners have turned to underground sprinkler systems because they are one of the most convenient ways to keep a lawn looking lush and green.

But that’s not to say that using a sprinkler system is a completely effortless process. In fact, shutting down the system for Winter and reopening it in the Spring requires lots of specialized equipment:

This includes a collection of spare irrigation parts’ fittings, risers, sprinkler heads, and nozzles. Also, you’ve got those extra PVC and/or poly pipe, primer, controller batteries, and in some cases cement as well. 

It goes to show, if you’re not well-equipped for the job, it might be better to let a professional do it for you – and we at Better Blossoms have got the experience to get the job done in a couple of hours!

It’s in our interest that all your worries boil down to avoiding the sprinkler heads with your lawn mower. And even if that happens, we can replace them in no time!

Steps We Take To De-Winterize Your Sprinkler System

Making sure the soil isn’t frozen

Prior to dewinterizing, the first order of business is to make sure your lawn agrees that the Winter is indeed over. We do that by using a shovel to dig at least one foot into the soul in an inconspicuous part of your lawn. This dig test is super important because starting the sprinkler system while the ground is still frozen solid can result in broken water pipes.

Pro tip: If your watering just can’t wait, best to hook up the hose and do it the old-fashioned way while the soil thaws.

Making sure the soil isn’t frozen

Turning on the control panel

The de-winterization process starts at your sprinkler system’s brain or the main irrigation control panel. Once we turn on the control panel, we then review the current settings for time, date and irrigation zones.

Pro tip: If your system has a battery backup but the batteries are over six months old, now might be a good time to replace them. 

Cleaning the sprinkler heads

This tends to be the most time-consuming step depending on the size of your lawn, but the methodology is rather simple:

  • Inspect the sprinkler head assembly for damage. If our technicians notice a nozzle is damaged, they will unscrew it from the head and install a suitable replacement.
  • Clean the nozzles thoroughly. Obstructions that affect the spray pattern will be removed since they can cause uneven distribution of water.
  • Make sure the sprinkler valve is closed. However, if the valve is far from the main water source, there won’t be much cause for concern if it remains open.
clean heads

Opening the main valve SLOWLY

This is when DIY folks tend to make their most expensive mistake. Opening the valve too quickly can send a torrent of water and air through the pipe system, creating an effect commonly known as the “water hammer”. This surge of pressure can crack pipes, break valves and even send sprinkler heads rocketing into the air.

That’s why we always say: the main valve needs to be opened SLOWLY. In this stage, it is important to trust your ears here and listen to the water flow. After several minutes of feeding the water into the main line, we can open the valve just a few degrees wider every couple of minutes. We repeat this until it’s fully open.

Checking the irrigation zones

Once the sprinkler system is now fully primed for its first watering of the year, there’s one final thing to do: testing the irrigation of each of the zones (one at a time) and verifying the spray patterns. If there are any malfunctions, we will clock them and repair them.

Checking Irrigation Zones

Don’t see what you
need fixed?

It’s all good! Better Blossom Irrigation has over 30 years of experience and we can identify the sprinkler system parts causing your sprinkler system failure. Whether it’s lack of water pressure, lawn sprinkler pump, sprinkler valve manifold repair, electrical related such as wireless connectivity, sprinkler rain sensor, your sprinkler timer controller or anything else contact us today for free consultation and quick service.

Want to upgrade or expand your system?

Better Blossom can take any residential or commercial underground sprinkler system to the next level! Whether you want to redesign a layout for a new landscape, add new zones, incorporate drip irrigation or convert your controller to smart technology, you want a fair quote and professional installation. Contact us today regarding your new irrigation project!

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start my irrigation system in spring?

Your sprinkler system is a unique garden tool that can be used to water your plants and grass. Opening the system for this season will depend on local weather condition trends,as well as individual watering needs. If you’re an early planter we recommend waiting until mid to late April before opening your sprinklers for the season!

What is the best time to turn on sprinklers?

The early hours of dawn are a perfect time to program your sprinklers to water your lawns and gardens because there is less wind during these times than in later portions of the day. Watering before sunrise also helps prevent water loss and fungus problems.