Homeowners with underground irrigation systems need to be very careful about when and how they start things up after a long winter. It’s a fairly common mistake to start underground irrigation systems as soon as temperatures seem warm enough. There’s actually a very precise threshold you should always follow before deciding the time is right to get your sprinklers up and running again.
Many homeowners also go ahead and try to start up their systems without professional help. This is only a good idea for those who have extensive knowledge and experience with underground irrigation systems. Starting the system at the wrong time or with the wrong methods each have the potential to cause expensive damage. If you’re in doubt, call a trusted professional provider like Mirage Landscaping.
When Is the Right Time to Start Underground Irrigation Systems?
It is not a good idea to start an underground irrigation system until the weather has warmed up enough that overnight ground freezes are no longer a risk. A ground freeze can occur anytime the overnight low dips to -2° Celsius or lower. Of course, temperatures can plunge that low well into spring, so it’s difficult to predict from one year to the next exactly when you’re safe. However, a good rule of thumb is to target late April or early May as the time to get your sprinklers up and running.
Beyond the risk of ground freezes, leftover frozen water from the winter could also be trapped in your irrigation system. If this happens, the water may remain frozen if weather conditions remain cool, but are still over the -2° Celsius threshold.
Frozen water can also collect if your system was not properly drained last fall. This can cause a whole host of problems, including:
- Cracked or burst-open pipes or risers
- Micro-cracking that leads to leakages
- Blockages of whole zones within your system
Starting up your system if any of these problems are present can lead to disastrous results. If your system wasn’t drained last fall, it’s especially important to wait until overnight temperatures are consistently above the freezing mark before you activate your system again.
Should You Call a Professional to Start Your Underground Irrigation System?
It’s a given that you should rely on professional southeast Calgary landscaping services like Mirage to handle the start-up tasks if your system wasn’t drained and properly shut down in the fall. However, there are many other instances in which it isn’t a good idea to start your underground irrigation system yourself. These include:
- A lack of detailed knowledge and experience with the entire system and all its components
- A lack of formal training in the proper start-up and supervision of the system
- The possible presence of cracked or burst pipes or other system elements
- Systems that are more than three years old
- Situations in which you are not available to personally supervise the first seasonal operation of the sprinklers
If you do feel confident that you’re able to start the underground irrigation system on your own, follow these four basic steps:
- Turn the system’s water valve on
- Check each sprinkler head individually for any signs of damage, and replacing any heads that appear damaged
- Ensure that each sprinkler station is not suffering from leaks or water flow interruptions
- Introduce flowing water
It is very important that you carefully observe the functioning of each sprinkler head during your first seasonal test run. Do not just turn the valve on and introduce flowing water before checking each individual sprinkler head. You should also not leave your yard unattended while the test is running.
Once your system is up, be sure to watch it carefully for signs that it may not be working properly. These signs include:
- Rising water bills
- Uneven lawn coverage
- Changing or unusual spray patterns
If you notice any of these issues, stop using the system and call for professional help.
Southeast Calgary Landscaping Services: Call Mirage for All Your Underground Irrigation Needs
Underground irrigation systems offer a long list of benefits, including both time and cost savings. If you’d like to install one, or if you need help getting yours up and running again, trust the experienced pros at Mirage Landscaping.
Mirage Landscaping is also a trusted provider of lawn care and landscape construction services in southeast Calgary and throughout the Calgary metro area. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see just how affordable Mirage’s services are! To get started, please visit Mirage Landscaping online to request an estimate.