How to Turn a Lawn Sprinkler System Back On in Spring

Turning on a lawn sprinkler system in the spring involves a series of steps to ensure proper functioning and water distribution. You want to inspect the system, turn the water on, check for leaks, and inspect it again while running.

As the winter chill begins to loosen its grip and signs of spring emerge, it's time to revive your winterized lawn sprinkler system and prepare it for the upcoming growing season. Whether you have an automatic system with a controller or a manual setup, a systematic approach to restarting your sprinklers will help you avoid potential issues and set the stage for a lush and well-nourished lawn.

This guide walks you through the steps to safely and effectively bring your sprinkler system back on for the season.

Inspect the System

Walk through your yard and check for any signs of wear or visible damage on the sprinkler heads. Also, look at any exposed pipes and the valves in the valve box. If you see any damage or cracks, repair or replace components before you turn the water on for the season.

Clear Debris from Valve Box

Remove any debris that may have accumulated in the valve manifold over the winter, including leaves, dirt, or grass. This is also an excellent time to knock down any cobwebs from the corners and clean out the grooves on the underside of the valve box lid.

Turn on the Water Supply

Locate the main water shut-off valve for your sprinkler system. This valve is usually located in a basement, crawl space, or utility area.

Slowly turn the main valve to the open position to allow water to flow into the sprinkler system lines and pressurize the system gradually. This helps prevent water hammer, which can damage pipes and components.

Check for Leaks

Once the main valve is open and the system is fully pressurized, walk the yard again and inspect the entire system for leaks. Look for water spraying from the sprinkler heads, pipes, or fittings.

If you find any leaks, shut the main valve back off and make any necessary repairs. Then, turn the water back on and proceed with the following steps.

Test Each Zone

Turn on each zone individually to ensure all sprinkler heads function correctly. Check for proper coverage, and note any heads needing adjustment or replacement.

Inspect and Adjust Sprinkler Heads

While a zone is running, inspect each sprinkler head for damage or misalignment. Adjust the direction and range of each head to ensure even coverage without overspray onto sidewalks or driveways.

Remap any Irrigreen heads that aren’t spraying correctly or are misaligned.

Check Controller Settings

If you have a sprinkler system with an automated or smart controller, check and adjust the settings for watering days, start times, and duration based on your watering needs and local regulations.

If you don’t have a smart controller that adjusts for seasonal needs, remember that you may need to increase watering frequency as air and soil temperatures rise in the spring.

Replace or Upgrade Components (if necessary)

If you notice any damaged or malfunctioning components while turning the system on, replace them as needed. Consider upgrading outdated components for improved efficiency and water conservation—this is the perfect time to add that smart sprinkler controller and improve your water use efficiency!

Monitor System Operation

As your system starts running for the season, watch it while it’s operating to ensure everything is set up correctly and the heads provide adequate coverage.

By following these steps, you can turn on your lawn sprinkler system in the spring (without needing to bring in a professional to do it for you) and ensure optimal performance throughout the watering season.

If you encounter any issues or if you need clarification on certain aspects of your sprinkler system, it's advisable to consult with a professional irrigation specialist for assistance.

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