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Well as usual Colorado doesn’t disappoint with its spring snow and freezing temperatures. Let’s hope with the close of April we will see the last of the below freezing temperatures. As May approaches and the threat of frost has most likely passed, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your irrigation system.
Once the threat of frost has passed, go to your systems’ control panel and power it on. If your system has a battery backup you may want to put in new ones if they are the same ones from last season. Review the current scheduling for times, date and zones. A correct watering schedule saves your plants and your wallet as watering too much or too little can damage your lawn and landscape. Once the warmer hotter days come, make sure you change the timers to water between 7pm and 7am.
Next, manually run your first irrigation zone. This is important to do BEFORE turning on any water. Having the valve open helps to lessen the possibility of damage from the water filling the system. Then open the main water shut-off valve. This is arguably the most critical part of the process. Opening the valve too quickly could create a surge of water and air through the system causing a water-hammer-type situation and damage various components of the system. Slowly open the main valve until you can hear the water begin to flow, then wait several minutes for the system to be fully charged (filled). Then open the valve just a few degrees wider until fully open.
Turn on the program, one zone at a time, and watch the sprinklers work. Visually inspect all the components of each zone and mark any repairs that need to be made so you can come back to them. Make sure the heads are level and flush with the grade of the lawn to insure they will not be hit my mower. Check the irrigation sprinkler heads, making sure they are rotating properly, and spraying in the correct places (not the driveway or rocks). Clean any dirt and debris from clogged nozzles that affect spray patterns (old toothbrushes work great). Be on the lookout for water pooling or bubbling from the ground, or if the pressure seems low or none of the ones function, you may have a leak underground somewhere.
Now it is time to go back and make any changes or repairs you marked during the run through. Once you are satisfied with all your repairs, activate the full irrigation program for one final walk-through inspection.
Congratulations! Your Irrigation System is Activated for the Season