Step Four: Irrigation System Maintenance
Since your irrigation system provides a lifeline to the plants in your landscape, remember to include it in your regular maintenance routine.
Inspect your irrigation system to check for leaks, clogged emitters and other problems.
- Turn on the system at least thirty minutes before the inspection to allow enough time for emitter wetting patterns to show.
- Walk through the yard, checking the pipe/poly tubing for leaks and checking each water distribution end point (emitters or micro tubing) to see if it is functioning properly.
- Replace or repair damaged or clogged emitters and micro tubing.
- Check the location of water distribution end points. Emitters and micro tubing can be moved as a result of yard maintenance activity (i.e., raking) and pet activity (i.e., digging). Return stray emitters and micro tubing to their proper positions.
- Check the schedule on your irrigation controller. Sometimes power failures and other factors will cause the controller to return to a default schedule. Reset the controller if necessary. If the weather has changed, reprogram the controller to accommodate changing plant water needs.
Once a year (preferably during the spring):
- Flush the irrigation lines
- Start with the cap that is closest to the control valve and work your way toward the end of the system.
- Flush each line for about a minute, until the water runs clear. Remember to close each cap before moving on to the next. Do not allow contaminated water to flow back into the line.
- Check valve boxes to make sure they are clear of debris.
- Clean and inspect the filters
- Inspect filter screens for holes. Replace as needed.
- Clean the system by opening the end of the filter and turning on the system briefly.
- If there is calcium buildup on the screen, remove it and soak it in a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar until the buildup is removed.
- Replace the controller battery
- A fresh battery will save the programmed information and prevent the controller from reverting to the default program in the event of a power failure.