Spring Activation

Ensure your system is ready for the season

Why should I hire a professional to do a system activation?

Every spring, there are steps you must take to get your sprinkler system up and running. It’s not rocket science, but  it’s not quite simple, either. A hastily activated system can spell all kinds of trouble.

Many components are damaged during the year with the annual freeze and thaw that we experience in Southern Alberta. Our professional Spring Activation service includes a full visual inspection of your system, and some issues can be fixed same-day, while other repairs can be booked ASAP.

Our complete activation service includes:

  • Turning on your irrigation water to the system.
  • Adjustment of heads and nozzles for optimal coverage.
  • Timer / Controller programming, as needed.
  • Full visual inspection of the entire system.
  • Post-inspection consultation if anything else is needed.

There are many steps to properly activating a sprinkler system. You can refer to our video embedded above, or these detailed instructions from the Naiad Blog.

Find the valve’s solenoid. It’s a plastic cylinder on top of the control valve with wires attached to it.  Slowly turn it to the “on” position until water can be heard flowing through the valve. To shut it off, turn the solenoid to the “off” position. Only twist the solenoid by hand if possible, and be careful not to overtighten it.

Note: If you turn the solenoid too many times, it may become unthreaded from the valve.  If that happens, it is a good idea to shut off the water to the sprinkler system and thread it back in. Be careful, as these are plastic fittings and can be easily cross-threaded.

If you’re wondering, then you must have noticed the “on” and “off” markings on your solenoid. These are misleading, because they refer to whether or not the valve is manually opened, bypassing the timer’s control.

This is often done by technicians to test or winterize a system without entering a client’s home to access the timer.

For normal, automated use, the solenoid should be “off.” Don’t worry, as long as it’s wired in and working properly, it’ll be ready to open the valve automatically when the timer says so.

Tighten the solenoids by hand, and be firm but careful. Overtightening can cause their plastic body to warp.

  1. Find your water meter and ensure it is not turning.
  2. Go to your irrigation timer and turn on a zone, then look at your water meter. If the water meter is turning you know there is water going to that zone.  You can repeat for all zones to ensure they are all working.
  3. After you have confirmed that the irrigation system is working electronically via the timer, you can then turn on each zone and check to ensure the zone is functioning properly.

It all depends on weather.  In Calgary, Alberta we typically start turning on sprinkler systems the first Monday in May.  We do tell clients that they should have their irrigation system up and running by the Victoria Day Long Weekend.