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Thread: Sprinkler system winterized when bought house - how to use??

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    DIY Junior Member Sunnyadrienne's Avatar
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    Default Sprinkler system winterized when bought house - how to use??

    We bought our house at the end of last year and the sprinkler system hadn't been used all summer and was still winterized (so the inspector said). What exactly does this mean and can anyone tell me what to do to turn it on? There are two plastic boxes with wiring going to them and a water gauge with the two knobs. We tried turning the knobs on but nothing happened...we've never had a sprinkler system. Any help would be appreciated.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    First thing I'd so is have the backflow preventer certified. When a sprinkler system is winterized, it is usually blown dry with compressed air. The pro use an industrial compressor and can blow the whole system at once. I also can be done with a small compressor one zone at a time. They simply manually open the zone valves and apply air. To restart, all that is necessary is to turn the water supply valve on and close any hose bibs that are not run through the valve system. After that, just turn the control box to ON and you're in business. Some places do not enforce the EPA requirement on back flow devices, others, like mine, require annual inspection and certification. Whether the laws are enforced or not, this should be done to avoid the possible contamination of your water supply. There should be at least one business in your town that deals with sprinkler systems and can advise you on your brand of controller, and who is a certified backflow inspector in your town. I am appalled at how many local towns do not comply with EPA regulations on cross contamination prevention.

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    DIY Junior Member Sunnyadrienne's Avatar
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    This may sound stupid but I can't find the control box...the gauge and knobs are in our basement by the sump pump but I don't see anything with a switch. Could it be outside or somewhere else?

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    irrigation tech. mike1059's Avatar
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    Default controler

    Here is an example of the controler that he was refering to and it is probably in the garage.
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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I suspect the "gauges and knobs" are the controls. Different brands looks slightly different, but it should be pretty easy to tell. Basically, the control box is a timer which allows you to set the days you water, the length of time for each zone. They have a transformer that plugs into a wall outlet and there is a 9 volt battery inside to keep the program(s) in case of power outages, so look for a transformer connected to an outlet. You should be able to find a brand and model somewhere on it. Google the brand and model and you should be able to find an operators manual that you can download. The controller connects to the valves with a separate hot wire for each valve and a single common wire that is linked to each valve. The picture Mike posted is very typical of a control box. You really must deal with the back flow preventer anyway, so an irrigation system installer should be on your call list. They can help you with the basics of getting your system up and running.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Just to emphasize my rant about backflow prevention, I have Googled the State of Ohio requirements on the topic and find that the State of Ohio requires conforming to the EPA and American Society of Sanitary Engineers standard. I do not know what your local town or city does to enforce this, but it could be as serious as shutting off you water until compliance is met. That is the way it is done in my city. I get an annual inspection or my service is shut off. Now, I guess I've lectured enough, so I'll let you decide what to do.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Guess you got more answers than you wanted.

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