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by Jerry Everist on April 1st, 2015


You: (knock on the door prior to starting any work)  "Hi!  My name is (name), I am coming by to get your sprinkler's started for the year.  I was wondering, is your controller in the garage or outside the house?

Tenant/owner: (they may or may not know where the controller is) "Oh, I didn't know you were coming....[grumbles], I think the controller is in the garage."

You: (with a smile on your face)  "Great!  May I have access to it?"

Tenant/owner: [grumbles some more] "Yeah.... my garage is a mess..."

You: Oh, that's ok.   My garage is a complete disaster.  It can't be any worse than mine. (Even if you do or don't have a garage and it is or isn't a disaster, yours is always worse.)


Steps to a start-up

  1. Knock on the door and introduce yourself (Senior Technician)
  2. Turn on the water (Senior Technician)
  3. Inspect for leaks around the double check and ensure the blowout is tight an not leaking. (Senior Technician)
  4. Locate valve boxes around the property (Junior Technician)
    1. Junior Technician is responsible for identifying potential problems by flagging and remembering what the problem was. (this will help us determine if the controller is operational and all solenoids are "good")
      1. Inspect every head while it is running (You will get wet!)
        1. Rotor: Inspect proper direction and determine if too much water is being used.  Change nozzle if determined by Senior Tech that it needs to be changed.  Allow the head to rotate to its natural stopping point to see true direction.  You can speed it up by turning the rotor manually, but let it finish on its own.
          1. If a head needs to replaced, replace it with the same exact head.  Rain Bird for Rain Bird, Hunter for Hunter.  If it anything other than Hunter or Rain Bird, replace it with a Rain Bird.
        2. Sprays:  Inspect for proper trajectory and direction.  Upright heads and lower heads as necessary.  Check for leaks around the head as these typically get hit by lawn equipment and damaged. 
          1. Ensure proper nozzles are being used!!!
          2. Repair leaks.
        3. Drip: Inspect the drip for leaks throughout the system.  Though we won't be able to inspect every emitter, LISTEN for the zone to turn on.  If emitters are visible, SEE that they are flowing water.
      2. Inspect the valve boxes
        1. Ensure no leaks or water filling the box
          1. You may see signs of water, so running through the valves manually to pinpoint the leak may be necessary.
        2. Check to see that waterproof wire nuts are installed.
          1. If they are not water proof, replace them.  Note any corrosion on the wire.
        3. Note if the valve box is full of dirt covering the valves, have the Senior Technician note it on the work order remarks.
  6. While zones are running,  Senior Technician will check the controller for:
    1. Correct time
    2. Correct date
    3. Adequate run times for the irrigation method.
    4. watering interval
    5. program start times (1-2 ideal)
    6. no rogue programs (most run on the "A" Program)
    7. Inspect wiring of the controller that connections are secure
  7. After the controller inspected, Senior Technician joins the Junior Technician inspecting the system.  Making sure that when marking deficiencies with flags they are a different color from the Junior Technician.
  8. Repair and adjust the system.
    1. Note your parts for billing.
  9. DO THIS BEFORE ALL THE REPAIRS ARE COMPLETED  Senior Technician Notify the tenant/owner of your findings/repairs and the status of the controller. (ON or OFF)  Let them know of the schedule you have set or left.  Ask if they have any questions. 
  10. Hang a door hanger if the tenant/owner is not there.  Checking the appropriate boxes and making necessary comments.
  11. Junior Technician collects tools, garbage and equipment needed for the call and puts it away in the appropriate location.
  12. While Junior Technician is collecting tools, the Senior Technician is making remarks, documenting parts, completing assessments and/or creating an estimate for more repairs in Hindsite.

Senior Tech Tools (at every start-up on your body):  Water Key, Channel Locks, Qwik kuts, IRRI-TOOL, (10) flags, teflon tape
Junior Tech Tools (at every start-up on your body); Shovel, Qwik kuts, IRRI-TOOL, (2) 1/2" marlex, (2) 3/4" marlex, rainbird nozzle box, (10) flags

The goal of this is to be as efficient as possible and be working the whole time we are on a site.  Think ahead and use good judgment.  A start-up is allocated 1 man/hr.  If you have 2 workers on site, then you actually should only be there for 30 minutes.  If repairs run over the hour, that is fine, but remember you cost the customer money every minute you are there standing around or working you tail off.


Did I miss anything?

If I missed a step, please reply below and I will make adjustments.

by Jerry Everist on March 10th, 2015

Great new video.

I always encounter dogs when I am working, and my blood pressure always goes up.  I found this video and I think it is very important for you to watch.  It discusses some great signs to look for, ways to defend yourself and what to do in the event you get bitten.

I will always tell you this, if you don't feel comfortable entering a backyard or an area with a potentially dangerous dog, make a note in the incomplete workorder.  Notify the office so we can reschedule when a homeowner is there or the dog can be locked up.  Irrigation can wait. 

Please watch the video and fill out the form so we can document your training. 


by Jerry Everist on March 4th, 2015

New Link!

I have now added a link to the some safety training videos.  Please take the time to:

Clock into shop time, reference training and watch these videos.  They are more directed to the maintenance portion of the industry, but it still has the message of safety.



by Jerry Everist on February 18th, 2015

Please take a moment to watch this video.

Posted on April 27th, 2011

Some great easy things to think about when you start-up your irrigation system for the season.

Make sure you have water proof wire nuts at your valves. Corrosion can be a bad thing for your wire system. Corrosion can start from your valve connections and move all the way to your irrigation controller. This would render your wire run useless. Once you start up your system, check to see that you have some grease filled caps to protect the wire from water. Once the corrosion starts, you can't stop it.

Safety (1)
SOP (1)