System Start Up & Maintenance


Flush, Pressurize, Test and Adjust the System*

  • Fill, flush and pressure-test mainlines to check for leaks, then make any necessary repairs and re-test. Repeat for submains.
  • Adjust submain control valves so that downstream pressure will not exceed lateral line maximums.

* These steps should take place AFTER the system has been completely installed and BEFORE lateral lines have been connected to the submains.

Connect Lateral Lines to Submains*

  • Open the submain flush valves and the ends of all lateral lines.
  • Connect the lateral lines to the submain and flush until clean.
  • Close flush valves and allow the system to stabilize at operating pressure.
  • Re-adjust all submain block valves as necessary to conform to design pressure specifications.

* Laterals must be connected properly to the submains to prevent leaks, kinking or clogging.

Test System Operation and Backfill Trenches

Make sure all underground components are working properly, then backfill carefully to prevent damage.

Establish Baseline Readings

  • Record baseline readings from all pressure and flow gauges after the system pressure and flow have stabilized.
  • Check flush water for clogging hazards.
  • Use the flow meter reading to determine and/or verify the application rate.


Monitor Key Operating Parameters

After the system has stabilized, routinely check for:

  • Differences in system pressure and flow from initial system readings.
  • Changes in lateral flush water quality.
  • Evidence of mechanical damage.

Fertigate and Chemigate*

  • Test water early for clogging, toxicity, salinity and infiltration hazards.
  • Always conduct a jar test before applying chemicals to ensure compatibility.
  • Chemical travel time must be considered in scheduling to ensure all emitters receive the same amount of chemical.
  • Chlorine and acid should always be injected from separate tanks and should never be mixed together.

* Take appropriate precautions and check with local regulatory agencies for the safe use of chemicals in conjunction with any irrigation system or water source.

Maintain the System

Routine system maintenance is critical for optimal performance:

  • Apply chemicals to prevent clogging.
  • Flush the system as often as needed to keep lines clean.
  • Routinely monitor for and control pests to avoid damage.
  • Thoroughly inspect and service all filters at least once a year.
  • Periodically inspect and service accessory equipment.
  • Winterize the system in climates where water freezes.
  • Perform recommended startup procedures after any period of inactivity.
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Learn more about best practices in system start-up & maintenance drip irrigation.

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