Winter is tough on an irrigation system. Water can potentially seem into the system and cause damage in colder climates. The sprinkler heads might be clogged or your pump might need some special attention after sitting idle for several months. Don’t just turn on the water and hope for the best. Inspect your irrigation system for damage before you turn it on.
This post will provide a checklist of items to be on the lookout for when getting your irrigation system up and running for spring.
You can also read our other post that shows you how to prepare your irrigation system for summer.
#1: Carefully Inspect Sprinkler Heads
This is definitely the most vulnerable component of your irrigation system. They can easily become clogged with dirt or grass clippings. They can also be damaged with lawn mowers or snow plows. During winter, they might get covered and clogged with debris.
If some of the holes are clogged, then water will not be distributed evenly. It might hit some areas fully while missing others. The health of your landscape will suffer.
Repair clogged and damaged sprinkler heads before you start up your system in the spring.
#2: Inspect the Pump
Having a faulty pump is going to cause a lot of problems. The pump could run but not deliver water efficiently to the heads. Or it could just randomly shut off after it’s been running a while.
Run the pump for a good bit so that you can spot potentially troubling problems. You need to make sure it’s running at peak efficiency so that it doesn’t break down at the worst possible time.
#3: Inspect System Components
You should also check behind the scenes so to speak. Inspect all of the valves and mechanical components that are used to regulate water throughout the system. A leaky valve can cost you a lot of money in wasted water.
Performa visual inspection of each valve to make sure they are operating as intended.
Finally, check the timer to make sure that the date and time is correct. Replace the battery so that the memory doesn’t get wiped during a power outage.
#4: Slowly Turn on the Water
One of the biggest problems that we see causing damage to irrigation systems is when the water is turned on for the first time. The surge of pressure into pipes can suddenly burst pipes and cause a lot of problems. If you turn on the water too suddenly, the system can be damaged. In fact, it can be damaged in ways that are unnoticeable until it suddenly fails during the summer.
Restore water to your irrigation system slowly. Open the value a little bit at the time until it is all the way open.
#5: Consider Hiring a Professional
Since startups are what lead to the biggest problems, this is the perfect time to bring in a professional to perform an annual inspection of the system. They will also help you start up the system and check for problems.