Don’t you just love springtime? Nearly everyone looks forward to putting the short, dreary days of winter behind us. And who doesn’t enjoy witnessing the annual rebirth of nature in a spectacular explosion of growth and greenery, blooms and blossoms?
But springtime, just like any other season, comes with its unique set of chores that must be performed. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a lawn sprinkler system, one of your chores is to be certain that your sprinkler system is ready for the growing season.
You can handle that chore, of course, by simply picking up the phone and calling your service provider. But if you’re the do-it-yourself type, here are a few tips for making certain that your system is up to the demands of the coming summer:
Don’t start too early. You’ll want to be sure that winter is really over before recharging your sprinkler system. Jumping the gun could end up causing your system to be damaged by freezing water in the event of a late cold snap. Once the ground is no longer frozen you’re good to go. But you’ll still need to be alert for late freezes that may affect parts of the system close to the surface, like sprinkler heads.
Check the valve boxes. Be sure that the valve boxes are free of debris (mice love to build nests in valve boxes!), and that all valves and drains are open.
Charge the system. Slowly begin to charge the system with all valves and drains in the open position. (Allowing the system to charge too quickly could result in damage.) Once water begins flowing from all drain points, allow to run for a minute or two to flush any debris from the system.
Pressurize the system. Close all drains and outlet valves and allow the system to pressurize.
Check each sprinkler station. With the system pressurized, cycle through each sprinkler station individually. Check for leaks or clogs, and be sure that each sprinkler is evenly providing the expected coverage.
Check your controller programming. Check that your controller is set to cycle on at frequencies that are appropriate for the weather conditions. And if your controller uses batteries, you might want to replace them.
Don’t put it off…
Weather is a fickle thing, and going into each growing season we never know for certain what to expect. But it’s best to have your sprinkler system checked, charged and ready for use as soon as weather permits.
Because when the temperature soars, Mother Nature shuts off the tap, and your grass begins to brown…that’s a really bad time to find out that you have problems with your sprinkler system.
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