Keep Your Sprinkler System In Top Shape

Irrigation System Aftercare Instructions

Congratulations on the purchase of your new sprinkler system. The following information should answer many of the questions you may have, as well as serve as a reference in the future. Your new sprinkler system will work tirelessly to care for your lawn, saving you both money and time. When it's operating at optimal conditions, your sprinkler system is just about unnoticeable and tends to be forgotten.

Manual Water Shut-offs

There may be times when you are required to de-activate your sprinkler system temporarily due to a leak, valve malfunction or drought restrictions. Your system can be de-activated as follows:

Inside Manual Water Shut-Off: The inside valve to shut off the water to the sprinkler system is located where the sprinkler system plumbing leaves the house. The manual shut-off valve is usually located near the water meter, or pump if your house has well water. When the valve handle is parallel to the pipe- the water is on. When the handle is perpendicular to the pipe (90 Degrees) the water is off. Look for the R&S blue tag on the shut off valve.

Outside Manual Water Shut-Off: The system can also be manually shut off with 2 valves located outside on the Backflow Preventer. This is located where the sprinkler system leaves the house. The same rules apply to these valves as the main inside shut-off. Shutting the valve at this location allows us to service the system without you being home.

Backflow Preventer

The Backflow Preventer is located outside the house where the pipe exits the dwelling. It is an all brass devise with a black plastic cap. The function of the Backflow Preventer is to prevent water from the outside pipes from ever being pulled back into the home. Because of this there can be times, especially when starting the system in the spring, when water will dump from the top of the unit. While this is normal, if it lasts more than a few seconds it can mean that the backflow assembly is dirty. Turning the outside handles perpendicular to the pipe, stopping the flow of water, then slowly re-opening the valve will usually solve this problem.


Your Sprinkler Controller has many features that will allow you to properly maintain the lawn and plants on your property. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with these features, however all settings are configured for you by our trained service technicians. In the event that you need to turn the system off you can use the system-off setting, which requires turning the dial to the one o’clock position. Your Controller will also notify you that the system has turned off due to rain by lighting the red LED to the right of the SENSOR button. We recommend never unplugging your controller, as it requires the ground from your electrical outlet to protect the system in the event of lightning.

Rain Sensor and or Weather Monitor

Your sprinkler system comes with a wireless rain sensor to prevent the system from watering after a rain event. The amount of time that the system will be off depends upon the amount of rainfall as well as the weather after the rain event. Cloudy overcast days will require less water to your lawn than bright dry sunny days, therefore the system will be off longer in those situations. You must bypass the rain sensor if you wish to manually water after a rain event. This is not recommended as it will over water the turf and plantings and result in increased water bills.

Drip Flag Indicators

If your sprinkler system included a drip system then drip flag indicators have been installed at location(s) in the garden. These small plastic spikes have a tap that pops up when your drip system is functioning. This is how you can check your drip system is functioning properly. If the indicator is not popped up this may indicate either a leak in the line or that the zone is not working.

Valves & Valve Boxes

The valves divide the system into manageable areas for watering as well as micro zones, small areas of like turf or plantings. Valve boxes, those green covers in your lawn, protect the valves from damage. While there is nothing serviceable by the homeowner inside those boxes, it is a good idea to be aware of their location(s) if you are ever doing any major construction work, as they follow the main water pipes for the system. Valve boxes may be covered with mulch if needed.

Heads - Lawn Rotors

If you have lawn areas wider than 15 feet they will be watered by Rainbird® 3500 and or 5000 series Lawn Rotors. These heads provide efficient watering for large turf areas. These heads are all installed on swing pipe to prevent damage by large turf equipment, as well as a stainless steel spring that will prevent the head from staying above ground when the system is not running. If a head ever stays up after the system turns off feel free to gently step down on the top of the head to help it fully retract.

Heads - Lawn and Bed Sprays

A smaller head called a Spray head covers smaller lawn areas and some bed areas. These heads are also installed on swing pipe to allow for lawn maintenance as well as having the ability to fully retract when not running. Mineral deposits can, in time, build up in the spray orifices and clog the outlet, degrading the performance of these heads. To rectify this, you would unscrew the top of the head, or nozzle, and wash it out in clean running water, then reinstall the nozzle.

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation will be installed in the planting beds where economical, to allow for more even water distribution and lower water consumption. As the tubing is hidden, there will be a drip activator device installed on each zone so you can tell that the drip is running. You can also move the mulch to make sure it is wet if you ever see a plant flagging and are not sure that it is being watered.

Sprinkler System Maintenance

Your new system will require service 2-3 times a year to insure its continued proper operation. The recommended services to properly maintain your system are as follows:

1. Initial Start Up* - After March 15th the irrigation system will be activated. Main valve will be turned on and the backflow and mainline will be tested for holding pressure. The system will be run zone by zone and inspected for problems. Clock will be programmed and adjusted for proper spring running times. Battery in clock will be replaced with a fresh one.

2. Summer Inspection* - The system will be run zone-by-zone and inspected for problems. Clock will be adjusted for proper summer run times. Heads located in shrub beds will inspected for blockage from dirt and spring plant growth.

3. Winterizing Blowout* – The system will be blown out using an air compressor. Standing water will be forced from all zones, remote valves and system manifold. System main valve and backflow valve will be closed. All winterizations are guaranteed against freeze damage, provided main valve is functioning and remains closed throughout the winter, and R & S landscaping performs the Spring Start up the following year.

*Charges will be based on the actual number of zones.

The above services will be billed at $10.00 per zone, with a minimum charge of $75.00. Charges are for the above services do not include any parts or repairs. Additional parts and service must be authorized by client and will be billed separately.

Irrigation Service Rates: Minimum service call charge is $75.00, based on an hourly labor rate of $75.00 per man-hour.

Self-Inspect Your System Periodically

Test Cycle Feature - The clock/timer you received with your new sprinkler system has a Test Cycle feature, which enables you to run each zone of the system, in order for 1 –10 minutes. This allows you to monitor the system’s performance without spending a large amount of time. We advise that this action be performed about once every 2-4 weeks to ensure everything is as it should be. During the initial installation, dirt frequently gets into the lines. This dirt is flushed out of the system before the first activation. However, it is not uncommon for dirt to become trapped at fittings temporarily. During the first couple of weeks of operation, this dirt can find its way down the pipe to the sprinkler heads.

Most of the time, the dirt passes through the head, but sometimes, the head can become clogged. It is for this reason that testing the system once every 1-2 weeks immediately following your installation, is so important. If you discover a clogged head, please call us and we will be happy to flush the head. As the system runs primarily at night, any problems would not become apparent until plant material starts to wash out or die back. Performing this test allows you to catch any potential minor problems before they become large problems.

More detailed instructions on the operation and programming of your timer are found in the owner’s manual, which is located near your timer. Upon completion of the installation we will show you how to program and run the system, as well as answering any questions you may have. If any questions come up after the completion date, you can call our office and our Irrigation Technician will be happy to walk you through the proper procedure and answer any questions you may have. Properly maintained and serviced, your system will give you years of trouble-free service. Enjoy!

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