How to Start Up Your Lawn Sprinkler System in Spring

Friday, March 27, 2020

Did you know that it’s easy to start up your lawn sprinkler system in the spring? You’ll need some tools, such as a flathead screwdriver, a sprinkler valve key, and pliers.

You first need to make sure that the ground isn’t frozen before you turn on your lawn sprinklers. For example, take a shovel and dig one foot into the ground. If the soil is still frozen at any point, then you shouldn’t start de-winterizing your sprinkler system yet.

Spring Start Up

If you wait until the forsythia blooms (the soil has warmed up to 55°F for week or more), then you should be good to go for opening up your sprinkler system this spring. Do another dig test to make sure that the ground isn’t frozen.

A Step-by-Step Plan for Opening Up Your Irrigation System this Spring

Here’s how to start up your lawn sprinkler this spring:

  • Start at the sprinkler’s main panel. You want to override the automatic settings by turning on the manual cycle so you can slowly let the water flow throughout the irrigation system. Make a note of the current settings and change them to meet your lawn and landscape’s spring watering needs. You’ll need to make this adjustment in summer and fall as well. If your battery is six months old or older, change it at this time as well.
  • Make sure the backflow preventer is tightly shut. You don’t want any herbicides, pesticides, or lawn fertilizer to flow into your home’s water system. Do this before turning on the water.
  • Close off the sprinkler valve. Next, check all sprinkler heads to make sure that there is no debris clogging them and that there is no damage.
  • Open the main valve—slowly. If you quickly turn on your lawn sprinkler, you’ll be releasing too much air pressure and water into the sprinkler system. You risk a wind hammer because too much water entered the lines too quickly.

Water hammers not only damage spray heads and nozzles; they can potentially harm you, bystanders, and your property as well.

Slowly open the main valve until you hear water flowing through the lines. Wait a few minutes more and then, open the valve wider. Repeat this process until you open the main water valve completely.

    If you have a large irrigation system that breaks off into branches, you’ll need to repeat the same process for each     branch.


  • Check your lawn and garden sprinklers. Test each hydrozone by inspecting the sprinkler heads, and by slowly turning the water on in each zone. You want to check water output in a 15- minute span.

This is also a good time to check for low water pressure. If you see a nozzle or more emitting water with low pressure, it could mean that you have a leak in the system.

Starting at the low flow spray head, walk along its line until you find soggy soil—that’s where the leak is that you need to repair.

Finally, if your spray pattern seems off in one of your zones, you can fix that right away with a flathead screwdriver. Adjust the nozzle by unscrewing the ring that holds the nozzle in place. Next, lift out the head and find the markings that indicate the spray pattern’s direction.

Readjust the nozzle head to face the right direction for the desired spray pattern and put the nozzle head back facing the correct way.

Turn on the sprinklers in that zone to double check that every nozzle is spraying in a consistent pattern. You can find even more detailed lawn sprinkler start up directions in this article.


Watch more: See how K-Rain’s Nozzle Guard protects your Pro-S spray heads.

Keep Practicing Water Conservation

While outdoor irrigation systems are more efficient and save you money on your water bill, you still need to check the system to make sure it’s conserving water.

For example, when you test each zone, make a note to replace or repair any wonky spray heads that you find. During the startup phase, don’t forget to clean out each nozzle to make sure that there is no dirt clogging it.

And do a monthly inspection to make sure spray heads are popping up, spay patterns are consistent, and that each nozzle is free from debris.

When you’re testing each zone for 15 minutes, look for low water pressure. If a leaky line doesn’t cause low water pressure, make a note to readjust your zone to accommodate for low water pressure.

Also, check that your sprinklers aren’t watering the sidewalk, driveway, or any hardscapes. Direct all water to your lawn grass or landscaped areas.

Don’t forget to set your timer, so you control when your sprinkler system goes off each week. Invest in a rain/freeze sensor so your lawn and garden sprinklers shut off when the soil has enough water or it starts to rain.

Put a reminder on your calendar to change the settings at the start of summer to make sure your lawn and landscape get adequate moisture during the hottest time of the year.

Then, in August or September, change the settings again, because temperatures will start to drop and the days are shorter. Generally, dry, hot weather end in the fall as well, so you won’t need to use your lawn sprinkler system as much as you do during the summer.

Invest in a K-Rain Lawn Sprinkler System

K-Rain’s sprinkler systems use innovative technology to manufacture the best in-ground sprinkler systems. You can find K-Rain Sprinklers at our online store, or you can buy your K-Rain irrigation products at Lowe’s and The Home Depot. Find one of these retailers near you.

If you have a question about our K-Rain products, call us today at 800-735-7246.


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