If you haven’t turned your lawn sprinkler system on yet for the year, its definitely time to start thinking about it. There are just a few easy steps to know before turning your sprinkler system on.
First you’ll want to make sure any hose spigots tied to the sprinkler system out in the yard are closed, and pit cocks (tiny brass fittings on your backflow) are also closed. You do this by turning them perpendicular to the direction the pitcocks are facing. Next you’ll want to make sure ball valves on your backflow are open. You do this by making sure the valves are turned parallel to the direction the pipe and fitting are running. Finally you’ll want to know how many drains were left open inside in the previous fall. Usually there is just one and sometimes it is even only outside the home. These are usually a quarter turn ball valve with one end not connected to anything or a gate valve which looks like a hose spigot also not connected on one side. Make sure these are closed before turning water on to avoid flooding the basement. Usually the water turn on to the sprinklers system will be right next to the main water shut off to the whole building. Make sure you turn the right one to avoid shutting the entire building down. Also when turning the system on, it is vital you do so very slowly. You don’t want to send a surge of water down stream and blow any valves or pipes apart outside. Once the water is on and the backflow has sealed and you can hear water stop running its time to go outside and check for leaks.
When checking your system for leaks, you’ll first start with the most susceptible part of the system, the backflow unit. These are the pipes exposed next to the building outside usually. Look for any active drips or water spraying. Just because you see a little water doesn’t mean its necessarily a leak however as the back-flows do dump water until they seal up under pressure. Once everything checks out with those pipes you’ll want to open the box with a green lid in your yard to do a visual inspection of the valves in the ground. A little water isnt necessarily a leaking valves. Some valve boxes will collect runoff and almost always be wet inside. Again here, look for the obvious leaks. Next, you’re ready to turn the system on and check all the heads individually.
When inspecting your sprinkler system you’ll want to look for a number of things that mean your system isn’t operating properly. A few signs would be water excessively pooling around heads, heads spraying water much less than 30 feet (could be a leak in the line somewhere in the yard), certain areas of the yard not shutting off no matter what you do sbort of shutting water main down, or the system not turning on all together. If you notice things like this, its time to call Midwest Sprinkler Service and Sales at 402-964-2224 to schedule an appointment to have your lawn sprinkler system inspected professionally and possibly repaired.