How To Turn On Your Sprinkler System

Many gardens may have sprinklers for irrigation, resulting in lush lawns and lots of flowers.

However, there are times you need to shut down your sprinkler system, and most often, this can be during the winter. At this time, your lawn and garden may not need the amount of watering a lawn sprinkler system will deliver.

You can often grab the best hoses for garden use and do some sprinkler system DIY and water your garden manually.

Sprinkler in the grass squirting water rapidly

However, once the coldest weather is over and spring is here, you need to turn on your sprinkler. There are set steps to do this, so you don’t turn on the water too quickly and damage the water line anywhere.

Repairing these can be costly as it often requires digging up your treasured garden in the spring to reach the pipes. (Read When is the Best Time to Water Your Lawn?)

Here you can learn each step to turn on lawn sprinkler systems in the spring time and test each part to make sure it works, and there are no leaks when back in action.

Water Sprinkler System Caution

When you turn on a sprinkler system, you need to consider the most important thing to turn the water on slowly.

You can cause a huge water hammer, a shock wave produced by unexpected water flow changes when turning on the water too fast.

This may cause fixtures to burst or sprinkler heads to jump off. To gradually pressurize the system, you must always release the system’s shut-off valve very gradually.

Enabling Sprinkler Systems Instructions

Here is each step needed to learn how to turn on sprinkler systems, and make sure there are no leaks.

Find the Main Shut-off Valve

You should see a single shut-off valve, which is most likely a ball valve and a lever-type handle.

If you can’t find a sprinkler system shut-off in your home, check inside any sprinkler system valve boxes you may have in your yard.

A shut-off valve has a cross-shaped handle, and it can be sitting below ground level or in a pipe line.

Find Your Vacuum Breaker

You will find this above ground and close to your house. It will comprise a copper or plastic assembly with two pipes that both have a shut-off valve.

You will also see two test cocks that have slotted screw heads. These need to be turned 45 degrees in the direction of the attached nipples to allow air into the valve.

Doing this prevents damage from freezing in winter; just make sure the test cocks are in their original position. (Find the Best Rated Garden Hoses)

Open Your Shut-off Valves

Now, you need to open the shut-off valves on your vacuum breaker. Each valve is on a pipe fixed to the valve with a butterfly-type handle. For the winter, the handles are set at 45 degrees to the pipe.

Open the valves all the way, turning the handles parallel to the pipe.

Open the Main Valves

Slowly open the main shut-off valve and let the main water in your sprinkler system.

With a ball valve, turn the lever back one-quarter turn, so your handle is parallel to your pipe.

For in-ground shut-off valves, take your sprinkler valve key and turn your valve counterclockwise until it you get it to stop. Slowly open any zone valves you may have. (Read Light Bulb Base Sizes)

Run Manual Testing

Set your system timer to carry out a manual test on all your sprinkler zones. Run each zone for 3 to 5 minutes. While each zone starts, watch your sprinkler heads and make sure they work correctly.

Sprinkler producing water from all directions

Your sprinklers will splutter while they blow out air at first and may take a minute or two. Check all your irrigation system, and in particular, your vacuum breaker.

Be Ready for Irrigation

Fix any issues you may have had in your testing, adjust your sprinkler head spray patterns, or replace any damaged sprinkler heads. You can set your system timer for its first watering.

When spring time arrives, it is best to start to get your system back in operation before you need to start using it. If there are issues, it gives you a chance to carry out any repairs without damaging plant growth. (Read Our Ultimate Lawn Care Guide)

Furthermore, your plants still won’t need the amount of water your sprinkler will provide.

How To Turn On Your Sprinkler System

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