Hopefully you prepared your irrigation system for the upcoming winter by draining all the components fully last fall. If you didn’t, keep an eye out for signs of a cracked or compromised underground pipe (more on this later).
It’s no small undertaking to get all your sprinklers up and running properly again, so it’s best to follow these recommended steps.
Be Sure Winter Is Over
Before you decide to fire up your irrigation system, make sure it’s really spring. Check that the ground isn’t still frozen by seeing how far down you can push a stick or garden implement. If you can get down at least 12 inches, you’re good.
Also check and see if any frosts are in the upcoming forecast. One rogue frost is unlikely to do any harm, but a full-on cold front might.
Beware of Air Pressure Hazards
If you’ve ever had to turn the water off in your home, whether to do repairs or for another reason, you may have heard the banging sound emanating from the pipes when you use them again after turning the water back on. Water may splash and spurt forcefully from your faucets as well.
This is due to pressure buildup that results when water flows suddenly into an empty pipe. This can be annoying and even a bit jarring in your bathroom, but it can cause real problems with your irrigation system.
The latter is not made up of the more durable type of residential plumbing components you have in your home. Many irrigation systems use flexible tubing instead of PVC, which is fine — as long as the pressure doesn’t build up.
If your irrigation system was installed with pressure release valves, make sure you open these before turning the water on for the first time. If you don’t have valves, remove the sprinkler heads.
This will help avert an unpleasant situation like witnessing the heads launching from the lawn like space shuttles at Cape Canaveral. Or, just as bad, built-up pressure could cause your hoses to break or components to separate underground.
Check All Components
Even after you release the pressure, turn the water on slowly. Replace the sprinkler heads (if necessary), and check to make sure each one is working properly. A weak sprinkle could indicate a cracked or loose hose underground.
If everything looks good, set your timers and get ready for your beautiful, green lawn to emerge! If anything seems awry, call Earthworks Landscaping. We can get your irrigation system back up and running quickly, with minimal damage to your lawn.