“Yardcare.com”:http://www.yardcare.com/expertadvice/maintenance/watering/springstartup.html has some good advice about how to startup your sprinkler system. These are specific instructions, but it does mean I need to figure out where all the various valves are to turn the thing on. Fortunately, it never really freezes here, so turning it on is pretty easy if you know where the valves are. “Advanced Irrigation”:http://www.advancedinc.com/spring.html also has a good check list if you know where the backflow device is
“Shutdown”:http://www.yardcare.com/expertadvice/maintenance/watering/winterirrigation.html is pretty much the reverse, but you do need a compressor to blow all the water out to prevent freezing from cracking the pipes.
Turns out that for our system, its even simpler, there aren’t of these fancy valves. You just have to make the the intake drain valve if off (this is on the in water side), then, you open the top valve and put the hose in, this primes the pump and fills the water column, then flip the whole thing on.