Basic instructions for springtime start-up of a residential irrigation system
- You will want to begin by closing all the drains within your system.
a. Locate your irrigation control valve box. Use a sprinkler key to turn the drain valve all the way to the right to the closed position.
b. Locate your vertical valve and drain sleeves. Use a sprinkler key to close the drain(s) by turning it all the way to the right.
c. Locate your backflow assembly. Turn both small test cock screws in either direction so that the ball valves inside are in a closed position.
- Now you are ready to activate your system.
a. At the vertical valve and drain sleeve use a sprinkler key to turn the valve left to the open position.
b. At the backflow assembly, turn the #2 shut-off valve to a 90-degree angle. Turn the #1 shut-off valve quickly to the open position (the handle should run parallel to the pipe). You should hear a “pop” and no water should leak from the top of the assembly.
c. Slowly open the #2 shut-off valve on the assembly to start filling the system.
- At this point you should hear water begin to fill the system, but none should come into the sleeve. Turning the #2 shut-off valve should be done slowly to allow the water to gradually fill into the irrigation system. Going too quickly could be damaging to parts of your backflow.
- Check your system for leaks.
a. Watch the low-flow indicator on your water meter. If it is still, no water is being leaked.
b. If the low-flow indicator is moving, first be sure no water is being used within the home, then:
- At the vertical valve and drain sleeves, be sure there is no water filling either sleeve.
- Check your backflow to be sure there is no water dripping from the flat handles, the test cock screws or the black bonnet (pressure vacuum breaker) located at the top of the assembly.
- Be sure the drain in your irrigation control valve box was closed snugly and there is no water dripping.
- Turn on your irrigation timer or clock.
a. Your settings from last year will likely be saved, but you may wish to do some re-programming. Ensure that clock times reflect spring settings so that watering times are accurate for current weather conditions. This would be a good time to check that your watering days are correct as well.
b. Turn your system to “manual” to run each zone for a few minutes. Walk each zone as it is running to be sure everything is working properly. Check that all drip lines are functioning and sprinkler heads to ensure they are not broken, blocked, cracked or misdirected.
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To view a video version of these instructions, see below.
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