For homes and businesses in Minnesota, an automatic sprinkler system offers many benefits. An automatic watering system greatly reduces your maintenance time, reduces water consumption, and saves you money. Best of all, it keeps your plants healthy, promoting curb appeal.

To help protect your irrigation systems, you likely winterize your sprinklers once winter comes. However, how do you ensure your sprinklers are working properly when winter ends?

The Importance of Sprinkler Winterization

Sprinkler winterization is an essential part of maintaining your sprinkler system. If you skip proper winterization, there are several problems that can arise.

Burst Pipes and Damaged Sprinkler Systems

The water left in your pipes at the end of fall will freeze once temperatures drop, which can lead to burst pipes and expensive repairs. In addition, the expansion of frozen water can also damage your sprinkler head, valves, and manifold, leading to malfunctions and the likely need for replacement come spring.

Even with proper winterization, some weather damage can occur during the winter months. It’s important to make all necessary repairs once spring arrives. Ultimately, restoring your sprinkler system to working order will require a full system checkup. 

How to Perform a Full System Checkup

You should perform this task once you’re ready to start watering your lawn again. A full sprinkler system checkup ensures that water is flowing properly, but it also checks each piece of your irrigation system for damage that occurred due to harsh weather. Here are the steps that you, or your professional landscaper, will need to perform.

Opening the Water Lines

The first thing you should do is open the water lines. Depending on the complexity of your sprinkler system, this can be quite a task. You’ll need to know where the main shutoff valve, vacuum breaker, and main valve bleeder caps are. When you’ve properly addressed these areas for damage, open the main valve slowly and run a test of the system.

Watching for Leaks

Sprinkler system leakage can waste thousands of gallons per month, which you’ll undoubtedly notice on your water bill. It can be difficult to know where leaks are, especially if your water lines are underground. There are several signs that leaks are present, like:

  • Dry patches on your lawn
  • High monthly water bills
  • Puddles around your sprinkler heads
  • Low water pressure
  • Visible damage to pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads

Checking Sprinklers for Damage

Some sprinkler heads may have visible damage. You—or a professional sprinkler repair technician—will need to repair the damage or replace the sprinkler head to restore your system to working order. Without repairing the heads, water won’t reach every spot and you’ll see dry patches appear on your lawn.

Sprinkler heads can also shift due to heavy ice or snow. Make sure that your sprinklers are covering the areas they’re supposed to cover. The heads are easy to shift back into place with your hands if they’ve been disturbed.

Programming Your Controller

Now that your system is working, you’ll need to program the system to turn on automatically. This can be complicated if your system is complex or if you have certain watering restrictions. You can refer to your system’s manual or contact an expert for help with this step.

Answering Questions and Concerns

If you’re using a spring startup service, their last step should be answering your questions or concerns. Use this time to talk about ongoing maintenance or to schedule next year’s winterizing service.

Trust a Spring Startup Service

A spring startup service enlists the experts to ensure your system is working correctly and that no damage will affect your water usage. At Land Concepts, we have ample experience performing both winterization and spring startup services. Our years of experience identifying and repairing damage let you quickly get back to creating the perfect outdoor space.  

Call Land Concepts to learn more about our sprinkler startup service.