Irrigation System Activation

The worry-free way to get your sprinklers spraying each spring, including a diagnostic test of your system.

Service technician checking grass

Watch: Irrigation System Must Haves

What is irrigation activation?

Every spring, there are steps you must take to get your sprinkler system up and running.

Springtime is approaching; it will be time to reactivate your irrigation system. We usually recommend the first week of May, but this is weather-dependent. Also, your lawn’s needs may vary depending on the type(s) of grass, clay, or sand content in the soil and your local climate.

Why You Should Hire a Professional to Do a System Activation…

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 complete visual inspection of your system to ensure that any potential repairs are identified. The best part is that most repairs can be completed during the same appointment!

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Naiad irrigation service tag
Irrigation Service Truck with sprinkler

Activation Services

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 required.
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Irrigation Activation Frequently Asked Questions:

When spring is finally upon us, it’s time for Naiad to work on activating your irrigation system. Here are a few frequently asked questions about this process.

How do you turn on underground sprinklers?

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.

How do you manually activate a sprinkler valve?

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

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

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

Technicians often do this 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; if it’s wired in and working correctly, 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.

How do I know if my underground sprinkler system is working?

  1. Find your water meter and ensure it is not turning.
  2. Go to your irrigation timer, turn on a zone, and then look at your water meter. If the water meter turns, you know water is 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 correctly.

When should I turn on my sprinkler system in the spring?

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