we recently moved into this house and originally thought we did not have a sprinkler system because we dont see any controls. We recently spotted some Toro sprinkler heads. Closest to the house there is what looks like a sprinkler head with a little cap on top that says manual bleed. When this is unscrewed it look like what a dip stick would look like. We have looked everywhere and cannot find any place to turn on the system. Any ideas?
That was your control valve, and you probably have more. Look for underground boxes, control wires, timers, valves. Start looking. Although the system may be abandoned.
You can look in you basement or crawlspace for a water valve going to the system.
Although, with the way you just described it "Closest to the house there is what looks like a sprinkler head with a little cap on top that says manual bleed", the system is in rough shape, those valves should be underground.
You may just want to call an irrigation expert in to get the system into order if it still exists. They'll take care of it all, although with a nice bill if you want them to get it operational.
You can also make a call to the past owners to ask them.
Controls can be in the garage, the room where the electric panel is, or in a closet. Look around the outside of the house. At some point the wires need to enter a building.
My wires enter the house through the same hole as the water pipe to the valve box.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
B. Franklin 1759