2031 Waldorf NW Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Phone: 616.735.2003 Fax: 616.735.2005

Spring Activation Procedure
For Gravity Drain & Blowout Irrigation Systems
City Water & Well Supplied


Spring activation is not recommended until the month of April, or when air temperatures have stabilized to above freezing (32 degrees F).  During the spring activation procedure it is necessary to close all drain valves that were opened when system was winterized the previous fall.  The following procedure is to be used as a guideline for activating your system for the summer use season.  (Skip step 1 for blow out systems)

  1. Locate the in ground drain valve(s) for your system.  They are usually located in low areas of the terrain on your property depending on where the mainline is running.  Each is usually enclosed in some type of protective housing called a “valve box”.  The in ground drain valve box is usually round in shape and painted blue in color on the cover top.  These need to be accessed at least twice a year and should be cleaned around through out the season so they are easily located when the need arises. Open the cover by rotating in a counter clockwise direction until it is released (this may require the use of a pair of pliers).  A small valve is located down inside (usually ball type with a red handle).  To close the valve, the handle must be turned ¼ turn in a clockwise direction until tight or crosswise of the valve body. (A valve key may be purchased to assist in this procedure)  If a build up of dirt has accumulated within the valve box it should be removed prior to closing the valve so as not to seep into the system.  Removal can be done by hand or by using a vacuum. Once you have completed closing the valve, reinstall the cover by rotating clockwise until locked in place.  Failure to lock cover in place will allow rakes and mowers to damage or destroy them.

  2. (outdoors-see figure below)  At the vacuum breaker close the two testcocks (1/4 turn valves) located on the side of the unit.  You usually use a flat head screwdriver or in some cases it might require a pair of pliers.  To close the testcocks you must turn them until they are vertical or (12:00 & 6:00-typically) positions.  You then temporally close the top (or main outflow) valve until it is crosswise of the valve body.  If it has a round handle than close valve by turning clockwise until it stops or until tight.  Open bottom (or main inlet) valve completely.  To open be sure handle is in line with the valve body (ball type), or if it has a round handle, turn counter clockwise until it stops or until tight.

    •  (Basement-see figure above)  Water supply valve is usually (but not always) located in the basement or in a meter pit outside, near the water meter. If you have a well it is usually located near the well pressure tank.  It may have a pink tag hanging on it indicating it is the main sprinkler supply valve.   Located downstream from (or beyond) the main shut off is another valve that looks like a faucet (boiler drain valve).  This valve is your back drain valve.  Close the back drain valve (if not closed already) by turning clockwise until it stops or until tight.  You may now turn on the main water supply by slowly rotating the handle counter clockwise or until it stops turning.  Note: Allowing the water to enter the piping system too rapidly will induce water hammer that could cause failure of the pipe joints.  If this is a ball type shut off (most common) slowly rotate the handle counter clockwise ¼ turn until the handle is in line with the pipe.  While doing this you will hear the flow of water in the piping system.  When the sound subsides, the pipe is filled with water.  This is usually a short period of time.   If the sound continues for more than one minute shut off water supply valve.  Look for any leaks along the pipe or outside at the vacuum breaker.  It’s normal for some water to spill out of the vacuum breaker during this procedure; it should seal off and stop soon after the water pressurizes the unit.  Note:  Be sure you have all the valves in their proper positions (see step 2) Should you fined a leak in the line somewhere, or water continues to spill out of the vacuum breaker, close all valves and call Evergreen Underground Sprinkling Co. for service.
    • (Outside-see figure above)  At the vacuum breaker you may now proceed to slowly open the outgoing (or top) valve by rotating counter clockwise until it stops.  Note: Allowing the water to enter the piping system too rapidly will induce water hammer, which could cause failure of the pipe joints.   If ball type valve, slowly rotate handle counter clockwise ¼ turn or until in line with the valve body.  You should hear the water flow into the system this may take as long a 1-minute to quiet down.  If it continues longer shut off valve and look around the yard area for leaks or puddling of water.  (Make sure you have closed all in ground drains step 1)  If no visible sign of leaks repeat step 4 again.  Should you continue to have problems please call Evergreen Underground Sprinkling Co. for service.
    • (Garage or Basement)  Turn the controller on and adjust the times accordingly.  Refer to your watering scheduling sheet for reference.  Should you have any difficulty setting your controller, please refer to the instructions listed inside on the controller’s front cover or the manual that came with the controller.  Once you have set the times you may test the system for proper operation. 
    • (Outdoors)  Review each zone for proper operation, leaks, or damaged equipment that may have occurred during the previous months.  Check all heads for proper adjustment, spray, and pop-up height.  Cleaning around each head is recommended following a long period of system shut down.  Grass covers the heads and fine roots tend to intrude into the nozzle orifices causing irregular spray patters or low water flow.  You can use a very small flat head screwdriver to clean spray nozzles and nozzle orifices should you encounter any other difficulties please call Evergreen Underground Sprinkling Company for help or service.
    • Your Spring Activation Is Now Complete!