Spring Startup Steps

We are continuing our spring startup of the system, and I wanted to have a discussion on the entire process that we use.  This method will probably have to be modified for your personal use, but it should give you a framework that sets you up for success. 

Step 1 - Check your POC.  Our points of connection are 3 pumps that are set at different points on the mainline.  I check the electrical connectivity of each and turn them on one at a time.  This is completed quickly.  I do open a valve at the high point of the property when we do this.  As the pump is running, I check the amperage of each of the wires and log it in our maintenance book.  This gives me a comparison to the previous year’s data.  Once I have confirmed flow for each pump I turn them off.  Total time invested is about 5 minutes a pump. 

Step 2 - Blow the air out of your system.  Read my previous post for a detailed look at the new method we are using that involves automatic programs.  Basically, we set up a program to bleed the air out of the ends and high points of the system.  Then I turn on each zone quickly to blow the air out of the zone lines. 

Step 3 - Check the electrical integrity of the system.  If your system has a self-check, use that.  It will be quicker.  If you do not have an automatic method, grab a volt meter and check for ohms.  Each brands solenoid draws a different amount of ohms, but I look for a number around 45.  Even if you do not know the brand of solenoids in the system, you can use the “Which one is not like the others” method.  Put the ohm meter on each zone and if it reads different or out of spec, something needs investigation.  I have had Add-a-Zones trip me up here before.  They require a whole different method of investigation.  Send me an email if you need help with one of these. 

Once you have checked all of your zones, mark the zones that need work.  Go ahead and investigate these problems or assign an irrigation tech to work on the problem.  Sometimes you will find bad solenoids, bad connections, or wire breaks.  My goal is to have 100% electrical operation before we move on to the hydraulic side of things.

To be continued.....