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Start-Up & Winter Shut Down

Spring Start-up

Kroger Irrigation can start up and correctly adjust your sprinkler system to get the best coverage and performance from it. Due to an extended period of drought and water restrictions in our area, this is very important. Let us maximize the efficiency of your system and prevent our valuable water from running down the street.

Kroger Irrigation includes the following in our Spring Start-Up:

  • Visibly inspect for freeze damage.
  • Turn water on, pressurizing backflow and valve manifold.
  • Check for leaks in backflow and valve manifold.
  • Adjust and evaluate all zones and sprinkler heads.
  • Set controller for proper days and start times.
  • Replace the backup battery for the controller if necessary.
  • Minor repairs can be made at additional costs and only with prior approval.


Draining your system properly is the most important thing you can do to protect it. Most Spring repairs occur because systems still had water in them when freezing temperatures hit. Knowing how to drain your system is very useful, allowing you to water during the warm Spring and Fall days while protecting it from below-freezing temperatures at night. This type of weather is very common in the Nebraska area.
Start by turning the water off at the source, usually in a basement or crawl space. There should be a drain relatively close to the on/off handle. Drain this last. If you were to open it now, not much water would come out. This is the same effect as if you take a straw, stick it in a glass of water, put your thumb over the end and pull it out. No water comes out. That is because no air is pushing it through. Once you take your thumb off, the water flows out. Not until the drains outside are opened will water drain back inside. And if you open it now, then open the drains outside, you will have a puddle of water when you get back in.

So start by turning the water off. Now on the backflow device there are often a few drains also known as test-cock valves. These are usually a small ball valve with a slot to turn with a screwdriver. Some have small handles to turn. Turn these 90 degrees to open. Most backflow devices have two ball valves on them to isolate the water in case of a repair. Usually they are blue handles. DO NOT CLOSE THESE. By shutting these you can trap water inside the steel ball, which would put it against the brass walls of the fitting. Then when water freezes it expands and cracks the brass ball valve housing. This is probably the most common mistake made when draining. The correct position for the handles is in a forty-five degree position. Yes it looks crooked but that is the safest position for it.
Now get a bucket to catch the water from the drain inside the house. Open it up all the way to fully drain. You may want to leave it open all Winter long. If it drips all season this means your on/off handle isn’t turned off all the way or is damaged and allowing water to slowly seep past it. If the drain is closed water will eventually fill the water tap to the outside and fill the backflow device or valves and probably damage them.

Last step is to leave your control clock on the “run” or “auto” position for 4 days. After 4 days, turn the clock to “off”