Sprinkler Maintenance Tips
Not all sprinklers are created equal. In fact, some are better suited for particular tasks than others. And, some use water much more efficiently than others. Find out more about types of sprinklers here or watch this Garden Time segment. Regardless of the type of sprinkler that you use, there are simple things you can do to ensure that the right amount of water gets where it is needed.
Spring Start-up Checklist
Spring is the time to start checking your sprinkler system for peak summer performance — one of the most important things you can do to keep your system operating efficiently.
Here’s what to do:
- Close all manual drains (they were probably left open when sprinkler system was drained last fall).
- Slowly open the main valve, allowing the piping between it and the cross connection (backflow) prevention assembly to fill with water.
- Pressurize the mainline from the backflow prevention assembly to the control valves. Have one of the control valves open while you do this, so air trapped in the piping can escape through the sprinkler heads as the pipes fill with water.
- Have the cross connection assembly, or back flow, tested by a state-certified tester. Contact your local water provider for specific information on rules and regulations - be sure to ask for the cross connection or back flow specialist.
- Run the entire sprinkler system, one zone at a time. As you do this, check the following:
- Signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping which could have occurred over the winter. Repair and replace as needed.
- Accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement. Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.
- Clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads
- Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky - minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.
Sprinkler System Maintenance Tips (video)