How to Turn On Sprinkler System with Well

Turning a Sprinkler system with well on isn’t a difficult task. But if you are doing it after a specific season, this may prove to be complex and you’ll have to follow the instructions before doing it. For example, turning the system on after winters is different from that of the summer. 

During winters, the lawns aren’t in need of irrigation with sprinkler system, so you may turn that off. However, when Spring is around the corner, you may need to turn the sprinkler system with well on again. With its working, the flowers and grass will get the required amount of water to grow in order to become lush. 

Some homeowners look for a contractor to get this job done for them. However, it’s not something extraordinary and time-consuming to learn. Also, there is no need to pay for this. You can also turn it on yourself within minutes.

Equipment required to Turn the Sprinkler System On

Not like you just use your hand to start the irrigation system. You may need certain tools and materials for this purpose. Take a look at the list below to see what you actually need.

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Pencil or Pen
  • Valve key for Sprinkler
  • Pliers
  • Scrap Paper 

Once you have all these tools in hand and have an idea of how to use them, you’ll be able to turn on the Sprinkler system with well.

Steps to Follow for Turning a Sprinkler System On

Before going to the steps which will help you understand the entire procedure, you must understand a few things. First, while trying to turn a sprinkler system on, turning the water on as slowly as possible is what you must ensure. If you don’t, you’ll observe water hammer which occurs because of sudden change in the flow rate of water. This may damage sprinkler heads well.

Also, let the shut off valve open slowly which will ultimately let the entire system pressurize gradually. So, it is better not to take any risk just for the sake of saving a few seconds. 

Here are the steps you should follow for turning a sprinkler system on with well.

1. Find the Shutoff Valve

If you have no idea about where the shutoff valve of your sprinkler system is, take a look at the crawl space or basement. The piping there will have at least one shutoff valve. This will most probably be a ball valve having a lever-type handle also. If this water pipe for the well (below the ground particularly through the foundation wall) is too large, it is the main water supply for your home and not the valve you’re looking for.

If you don’t find the shutoff for your sprinkler system in home, take a look at the valve boxes of the system around the yard. You won’t find it on the ground, rather you’ll see this valve having a cross-shaped handle below the ground inside a large pipe or a ground box.

2. Look for Vacuum Breaker

Vacuum breaker isn’t something you’ll have to look for under the ground. Rather, it is located above the ground near your home. It is mainly an assembly (of copper/plastic), connected to two pipes with the help of two shutoff valves of smaller size. In addition to these, it contains two test valves as well. These are commonly known as test cocks and look quite similar to screw heads. 

You must turn them about 45° in nipples’ direction to which they are attached. This lets the air enter the valve for preventing it from any kind of damage caused due to freezing in winter season. 

3. Close the Test Cocks of Vacuum Breaker

Screwdriver comes into play at this moment. Use this flat-head screwdriver to turn in order to close both the test cocks. Lastly, see if the nipple and the point on the cock are perpendicular to each other. If they are, you’ve closed the cocks in the right way.

4. Open the Valves

After that, open both the valves present on vacuum breaker. The pipe containing these valves will lead you to another valve having a butterfly-type handle. Similar to the cocks, keep the handles and the pipe perpendicular. Turn the handle of each valve and make it parallel to the pipe so that you may open each of these valves. Ball valves having any kind of handle are:

  • Open when handle and pipe are parallel.
  • Closed when handle and pipe are perpendicular.

This is a pro-tip for you whenever you are facing issues with their opening or closing.

5. Reinstall the Bleeder Cap of Main Valve

You will see or might have seen a small metal cap on shutoff valves threading onto a bleeder nipple. This is mainly for the drainage of residual water from pipes during your sprinkler system’s shutdown. If you find that bleeder nipple on the shutoff valve, don’t forget to tighten the cap snugly. 

6. Opening of the Main Valve

For letting water enter your sprinkler system, it is mandatory to open the main shutoff valve. In case of a ball valve, turn the handle 1/4 until both handle and pipe are parallel, it is fully open now. In case if the shutoff valve is located under the ground, turn it counterclockwise using a valve key will let it stop.

7. It’s Time to run the Manual Test!

Run each of your sprinkler zones for at least 3 to 5 minutes by running a manual test for which you’ll have to set a timer. After turning each zone on, your responsibility is to look at the sprinkler heads to see if they are doing good. Keep a notepad and a pen with you as well, just to ensure that you’re writing all the issues to address them later. The sprinklers will be blowing out some air at the start, but that’s a normal thing during their operation and will stop within a minute or two. So, don’t worry about it, nor count it as an issue.

8. Check Vacuum Breaker and the Valves

To avoid the leakage in valves or any other issue, open each of the valve boxes in the ground and check them. Make sure that all the tools, vacuum breaker, piping or the valves are in a condition to proceed further. Also, don’t forget to check the bleeder. If it is leaking,  use pliers for tightening it because you can’t compromise on that at any cost. 

This is the second last step in which you’ll observe if all the relevant materials are good enough to keep working and whether you should replace or repair something. For the same reason, this is considered to be the most important step while turning on the sprinkler system with well.

9. Get Ready for Irrigation 

Manual test will let you know about the problems you may have to face in order to turn the sprinkler system on with well. So, correcting those issues is the first thing to do. Replace damaged sprinkler heads and adjust spray patterns before time. Set the timer and start watering, this will be a demo. Try your level best to keep an eye on the entire working of equipment when you water your lawn for the first time in the season or after a season. And you may do it at any time of the day. But after that, watering at night or in early morning is recommended by professionals.

Final Words

A well may or may not be necessary to have with a sprinkler system. Keeping the pressure of water (taken from well) high can help you keep most of the things under control. You may also use the well only to water the garden and lawn but running the well continuously isn’t recommended at all. So, well irrigation system is what can work best for you. Connect as many sprinklers as possible with your well in order for it to last long and water your lawn in the best possible manner. This step-by-step guide will give you an idea of how you can turn the sprinkler system with well on and what problems you may have to face in doing so. 

Take a look at the entire operation first, note down the problems and see if you can cope with those problems. If you can’t, call a professional straight away in order to make the things easy for you as well as your lawn.

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