If you haven’t used your sprinkler system since last summer, just know that a lot can happen to it over the course of fall and winter. The sudden changes in temperature throughout the seasons have been known to crack the pipes and harsh winters can leave them frozen. If the sprinkler heads suffered any damage in their off-season, you might not know it until spring. If you have an automated system, the electronic components such as the weather sensor may have been damaged and so on.
How To Check Your System
Now, chances are that everything’s fine. The point is you don’t really want to run your sprinklers in the spring until you’ve done a check of the system. This needs to be done to make sure it’s in working condition, and so you can replace and repair any parts that may have been damaged. Here’s how to run your checks:
- Do a quick visual check. Look for any damage to the sprinkler heads, see if any of them are submerged in mud from the winter or caked in dirt. A stray piece of gravel can do a lot of damage if it clogs the wrong hole.
- Start digging. You want to go about a foot into the dirt to make sure that the ground is actually thawed. If it’s still frozen, then chances are your sprinkler lines are as well, and you might want to wait for a sunny day to start your system back up.
- Open the main system water valve slowly. If you let it go full-blast into the pipes, you run the risk of cracking your lines with pressure surges. If you let the water into the pipes slowly, this is less likely to happen. Think of it like going to the gym, you’ve got to start slow with warm-ups and stretches before you hit the weights.
- If you have an electronic system, activate each zone manually from the controller and check them one at a time.
- Check the pressure on each sprinkler head. If the pressure reads lower than you’re expecting, that could point to a cracked line, a loose joint, or a missing sprinkler.
- Adjust any sprinkler heads that need adjusting. They can shift in the months when they’re not in use, and there’s no point raising your water bill just to keep the sidewalks nice and moist.
- Finally, if you have an electronic system, just make sure your weather sensor is uncovered and clean and go ahead and replace any batteries that need replacing.
Why Checking Your System Is Important
Nine times out of ten, you can go ahead and turn everything on and you’ll be fine. But, running this check shouldn’t take you more than fifteen minutes. The one time out of ten that it proves necessary, it could save you the money you’d spend on repairs and a lot of long days spent digging up your beautiful lawn and replacing your lines.