Spring Start Up of Irrigation Systems

The weather is changing in Nashville, and soon homeowners will want their winterized irrigation systems watering lawns, trees, shrubs, and flower beds again. To do that, you have to charge the system with water, and if that’s not done correctly, you could end up with a new “water feature” in your landscape powered by a burst irrigation line.

Nashville’s leading landscaping service and tree service, the Parke Company, provides comprehensive irrigation system services as well. Our advice on re-energizing an irrigation system is to have a trained technician do the job. You’ll save time, avoid serious damage to your irrigation investment, and eliminate a bucket full of frustration that often accompanies the inexperienced who tackle one-off projects.

At the Parke Company we design, install, service, winterize and re-energize irrigation systems in spring. While different manufacturers have different procedures and automatic systems are obviously different from manual watering systems, the steps listed below will give you a general idea of what is involved.

How to Start Up an Irrigation System in Spring

When done right, and if the system wasn’t damaged over the winter, recharging your system should take less than an hour.

  • Spare parts. You hope everything survived the winter, but in case something didn’t, you want to have a replacement part ready to go. Before the recharging process begins, be sure to have extra fittings, risers, and sprinkler heads. Extra lengths of PVC plus primer and cement are also handy items to have available.
  • Test the ground. Don’t become overenthusiastic on the first warm day of spring. Before you attempt to recharge the irrigation system, take a spade and probe at least ten inches down in the ground to ensure there is no frost. Putting water in the lines when the ground is still frozen is a sure-fire way to burst a pipe.
  • Avoiding the “Air Hammer.” The biggest risk to the system is over pressurization. There’s air in the lines and if precautions aren’t taken, the incoming water will push that air until the system can’t contain it. If you hear a “hammering” sound, you are risking blowing a sprinkler head off the line. If your system has air pressure relief valves, open them before charging the line. If you don’t have the relief valves, remove the sprinkler head at the highest point in a zone. Then fill the lines by zone slowly. When the water comes out without bubbles, close the relief valves or replace the sprinkler head. Repeat the process for each zone.
  • Test the system. Once you have recharged the system, run it for two minutes and make adjustments in spray direction if needed. Make sure there are no leaks and that sprinkler heads are level with the ground. If everything is working, open the main feed valve all the way. You’re ready to go. Reset your automatic timer if necessary.

Get an Expert Opinion

Why not take care of this important spring landscaping chore by giving us a call and having us do it for you? We are best known for our tree trimming and tree care services, but we also have clients all across the Nashville area who count on us to service their irrigation systems. Check us out and call today!