Fortunately, Florida usually has a mild winter with few hard freeze days. Don’t be fooled into believing that keeps you from having to do anything special to restart your irrigation equipment for spring. You still do a thorough system check before you begin watering again, especially if you neglected to winterize your system in late fall.
1. Do a general system check
Install fresh batteries in your system timer and reprogram for a spring watering schedule. Put all water source connection components as before, inspect and replace any cracked or worn hose washers. Inspect the filter screen and clean or replace it.
2. Start up slowly
Turn on water so that it is at very low pressure. This will eliminate pressure surges that can snap T’s and elbows in a line or cause further harm to — if your system uses them — sprinkler heads that may have experienced freeze damage. It will also help to clear out any dead bugs and/or debris that may have collected in sprinkler lines.
3. Recharge sprinkler systems
Start with the valve that is furthest from the water source. Open the water valve to let out air and water. Then, gradually bring up the water pressure. Repeat this process with each valve and make note of any one that does not appear to be working.
4. Inspect drip systems
Examine all drip emitters, soaker hose drip lines, sprayers and bubblers. Check tubing for any cracks, splits or any areas that have stopped watering. After cleaning and repairing lines, remove all end caps and flush the lines. Replace end caps when finished.
5. Check backflow preventer
It is critical that you also inspect this device, which keeps contaminated water out of the system. You will always find it located 12 inches above the highest point in the system. Remember that a differential pressure of 1psid is what you need to find when you compare readings on the high- and low-pressure differential gauges you’ll need to test the backflow preventer.
6. Run controller
Do a test run of your system. If your machine irrigates by zone, then do a zone-by-zone run-through. Sprinkler heads that do not pop up properly in a particular zone may indicate possible pipe issues and should addressed as quickly as possible.
There is nothing like the first day of Spring in Florida, and we are here to make sure you enjoy it. For irrigation questions, problems, or to sign up for a service plan, contact Mike Scott Plumbing today!