Monday, April 29, 2013

Starting Your Sprinkler System

On top of all the other Monday sort of stuff, the weather was beautiful, the phone was ringing off the hook and our website disappeared off the internet. Wow was it MONday!

Many of you are looking for our start-up instructions, so while I wrestle with the world wide web to try to restore a live website for you, here are our general start-up instructions -

  Go outside to the valve box(es).
Open the lid(s) and CLOSE the drain(s) inside the box(es). Check for any other drains on the system, for example an above ground hose attachment or pool fill hoses. (NOTE: Not every system will have manual drains in the valve boxes, most newer systems have automatic drains - these are yellow.)

2. Go to the vacuum breaker. (The brass device on the side of your house)
The handles should have been left at a half way on half way off position for the winter. Turn the green handles so they shut the valves. Typically in the off position, the upper handle will be vertical and the lower horizontal, or going across the pipe. You will need a flat blade screwdriver to turn the screws (2) on the test-cocks 1/4 turn so that they are also across the pipe (meaning if the pipe is vertical you want the screw to be horizontal).

3.  Go to the basement.
SLOWLY turn on the water to the sprinkler system. If you have correctly closed the backflow, the water will fill up to that point and stop (If the water does not stop flowing within about 30 seconds shut the water back off inside and check the vacuum breaker for leaks). Return outside to the vacuum breaker and slowly turn the green handles starting with the lower green handle. As you turn the lower green handle, you may hear a popping sound as the air is released from the backflow, properly setting the backflow. After this turn the upper green handle so both are in line with the pipe - the lower green handle should be vertical, upper green handle should be horizontal. You should feel the water flowing through the backflow. The water will stop running when the pipes are full to the valves. If the water continues to flow though the backflow after the first few minutes, you need to check in the valve boxes for signs of water. Turn off the water, stop the leak (Frequently is it just a drain that has been left open in a valve box) and try again.

4. Go to the controller.
 Manually start the system, checking each head of each zone for proper operation, walk your yard and check for leaks. After insuring the system is operating properly set your controller to run as needed. Typically three days a week is adequate for early season watering.

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