Spring and warmer temperatures are just around the corner. Pretty soon, irrigation systems are going to be showering water onto lawns throughout the Kansas City area to help bring the lovely green color back to the stark landscape winter left behind. For those who are fairly new irrigation system owners, the process of just turning the system on seems fairly easy. However, there may be more to it than you think.

The fact is, investing in a bit of “spring cleaning” for your irrigation system can help to prolong its life and improve watering efficiency, while helping you save money, water and time.

The Effect of Winter on an Irrigation System

During the winter months, the ground freezes and thaws regularly. While most irrigation systems can make it through this continuous stress, some issues may arise. It is imperative to have a professional inspect the system before turning it on for the first time. If there is a break, block or other type of problem, it can cause even more damage if you try to use the system.

In addition to having the irrigation system fully evaluated and inspected, it is a good idea to use the steps here when turning it on for the first time.

Steps for Turning on Your Irrigation System in the Spring

Step 1: Open the main water valve slowly and let the pipes fill with water gradually. If the valves are opened too rapidly, the sprinkler main lines are going to be subjected to a high surge pressure, water hammer and uncontrolled flow, which may result in them bursting or cracking.

Step 2: Verify that each of the station valves is operating properly by activating all of the zones from the controller manually.

Step 3: Walk through each of the stations on the controller and check for the proper operation for the zone. Make sure to look for issues such as proper operating pressure. For example, low pressure is an indication of a missing sprinkler or line break. You should also watch for proper rotation and make adjustments to sprinkler heads to ensure adequate coverage if needed. Then, check and clean all the filters on any sprinklers that are performing poorly.

Step 4: Reprogram your controller to ensure automatic watering and, if necessary, replace the back-up battery in the controller.

Step 5: Remove the cover from the weather sensor and clean it if necessary.

It is a good idea to remember that if you aren’t sure what to do, or how to do it, it is in your best interest to hire a professional. An irrigation contractor will be able to evaluate all parts of your irrigation system, including layout, watering requirements, hydraulics and more. The skills they offer will ensure that your irrigation system remains efficient and provides you with years of trouble-free operation.