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Spring Irrigation System: What You Should Know Before Turning the Valve

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

With spring just around the corner, now is a good time to prepare your irrigation system for the spring planting season and tough summer months that follow. Since many homeowners live in cold climates, their systems are winterized to prevent damage when temperatures drop below freezing. The winterizing process usually involves draining and sealing the system to prevent damage from freezing temperatures. After the thaw, many homeowners simply turn on their irrigation system in the spring without realizing the damage this can cause until they experience busted pipes, cracked fittings, and flying sprinkler heads.

Avoid Water Hammer

Water hammer is the leading cause of irrigation system damage during the initial spring startup. The sudden rush of water traveling through drained pipes compresses trapped air within the system causing a buildup of air pressure that can crack fittings, rupture pipes, and pop sprinkler heads. If this happens, your wallet could suffer a drain by absorbing the repair costs to get your system up and running properly.

Protect Our Natural Resources

According to the National Resources Conservation Service, lawn irrigation accounts for nearly half of residential water use. Often, the damage from improper sprinkler system startup goes unnoticed. Since many of the pipes and fittings within the system are underground, months could go by before you notice a leak. Not only will this waste one of our most precious natural resources, but also will lead to increased utility bills as your system uses more water than necessary. In addition, if your irrigation system is leaking, it could fail to deliver the necessary amounts of water to your landscaping.

Start Your System Correctly

Your plumbing contractor has the experience and knows how to start your irrigation system correctly without causing unnecessary damage. During a routine irrigation startup, your plumber should perform the following tasks.

  • Slowly charge the system with water to avoid water hammer and allow air pressure to escape.
  • Test water pressure to ensure the system is not leaking. Monitoring the system water pressure allows them to identify any leaks.
  • Activate individual zones to verify the main controller is functioning properly.
  • Inspect each sprinkler head for proper operation including coverage and direction.
  • Make any necessary adjustments and/or repairs to the system including timers, controllers, and sprinkler heads.

A well-maintained and operating irrigation system is a crucial component of a lush yard. If it fails to deliver, you could face the additional costs of landscape replacement.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.