Spring Start-Up Guide for Your Lawn Irrigation System

Winter has a way of making everybody sort of sluggish. 

Bears hibernate. Your couch is extra popular. Even your sprinkler system is out there lazing around, asleep under its blanket of snow. 

But spring is like a jangling alarm clock. Time to kick things into gear — including irrigation system spring startup.

It’s not exactly raring to go. Remember last fall, when you shut your system down for the winter, blowing out the pipes and turning off the water to protect it from winter damage? It’s been asleep for a few months. The water is off. Heads are probably clogged with debris. Maybe they got bumped by snow plows so they’re pointing the wrong way, or broken. 

Spring sprinkler system startup makes sure everything is working properly and your sleepy sprinkler system is ready to wake up and get started on a new season of efficient watering. It’s a key part of irrigation services in Idaho. 

How to start up an irrigation system in spring?

Let’s take a look.

How to Turn on Your Sprinkler System After Winter

Spring sprinkler system startup is a process, with a few key steps involved:

sprinkler heads water flowers

1. Head to the Main Valve

It’s likely in your basement or crawl space. Make sure it’s in the off position. The handle should be 90 degrees to the pipe.

2. Set the System to Manual

You’ll be testing each zone to make sure it’s working properly, so you need it set to manual, not automatic. 

3. Close the Screws on the Vacuum Breaker

Find your vacuum breaker, outside near your sprinkler control valve. It should have two large valves with rubber handles and two smaller bleeder valves with screw-type shutoffs.

Use a screwdriver to twist the screws until they’re perpendicular to the valve.

4. Open the Large Valves on the Vacuum Breaker

Now open the large valves on the vacuum breaker, turning the handles a quarter turn until they’re parallel to the pipes.

sprinkler head waters grass

5. Replace the Bleeder Valve Caps

Your vacuum breaker bleeder valves typically have caps over their threads to protect them that are removed over the winter to prevent them from freezing. Now that it’s time for irrigation system spring startup, twist them back down with a pair of pliers.

6. Slowly Open the Main Valve

Head back to the main sprinkler control valve and slowly open it. The key word here is slowly. You want to allow the pipes to fill with water gradually. Water suddenly rushing through your irrigation system can cause damage, breaking fittings, valves, and sprinkler heads. Easy does it.

7. Test Each Zone

Manually activate each irrigation zone from the controller.

Is each head rotating properly? Spraying where it should? Do you see any leaks? 
As you inspect each zone, adjust heads as needed and remove any debris that might be clogging them. 

Does the pressure seem low in any of the heads?  Low pressure can indicate problems, like a leak in your line.

8. Reprogram Your Controller

Remember, you can’t just set your controller and forget it. Watering needs change throughout the seasons, so adjust accordingly.

Better Yet, Leave it to the Pros

Does all this sound like a foreign language? Are you suddenly panicked about water surging through your sprinkler system? Do you have way better things to do with your time, now that spring is finally here? 

You can actually damage your sprinkler system with irrigation system spring start up tasks if you’re not sure what you’re doing out there.

Why not leave it to the pros?

sprinkler heads water grass

Our irrigation technicians in Idaho Falls will turn on your water, check each zone of your system, and take care of any fixing, replacing or adjusting that comes with spring sprinkler system startup.

A spring irrigation system startup visit typically lasts between 30 to 60 minutes. And since we have most of the parts necessary for repairs on our irrigation maintenance trucks, we’re ready to get your system running right away.

This detailed attention isn’t a one-time thing. Plan on sprinkler inspection and tune-ups at least once a year to make sure your system is working perfectly, your landscaping is thriving and you’re not wasting water. 

Regular sprinkler inspections will also help us catch potential problems before they become big, costly ones.

Ready for Sprinkler System Spring Startup in Idaho Falls? Trust Outback

How to turn on your sprinkler system after winter? Easy. Give us a call.

At Outback Landscape, we have years of experience in irrigation services in Idaho.

We have the latest technology, techniques and tools including smart controls, efficient water delivery systems, rain sensors and much more, making sure your plants receive just the right amount of water, especially during the hottest months of the year.

Located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, we serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties. Call us at 208-656-3220, or fill out the form here to schedule an onsite consultation.

We’d love to hear from you.