Your sprinkler system does a superb job of “hydrating” your lawn and its plants throughout the year. Although natural rainwater refreshes your greens, a fully functional sprinkler system refreshes your yard more, especially during the dry summer days.
But like any exterior system installed in your home, your system is subject to external elements and the stresses of the outdoors, which includes water pressure, fluctuating temperatures, burrowing animals and tree roots. The sensitive electronics of your system will fail, especially when used regularly.
Eventually, your sprinkler system will need repair.
Fortunately, sprinkler system repair is a relatively easy and affordable task. Individual replacement elbows, valves, tees and hoses will only cost you a few dollars, so sprinkler repair prices shouldn’t give you a headache. Tubing, buried eight inches below, is easy to retrieve. Parts or sections can be replaced or repaired individually without pulling out the entire system. Replacing sprinkler heads shouldn’t take you more than an hour.
So if you’re a homeowner who “barely knows anything about sprinkler repair,” don’t worry. This task is doable for most homeowners, as long as you have the right tools and know what to do.
Why Would a Sprinkler System Stop Working?
There are many reasons your sprinkler system will need repair. The most common issues are:
Clogged Sprinkler Heads
If the sprinkler head doesn’t rise and there is no water, you may have a clogged sprinkler head. Sand, dirt and other debris buildups can clog up your sprinkler head’s filters.
Broken Spray Heads
If your sprinkler heads don’t pop up or when they do, they just spray water all over the place, it might be broken. Broken sprinkler spray heads often happen when lawnmowers or other vehicles drive over them.
Malfunctioning Water Sprinkler Controller
There are four main culprits behind your controller not working:
- Your timer dial is not turning
- The controller failed to keep time
- The controller won’t turn in the manual mode
- The controller can’t operate in the auto mode either
Indexing Valves Skipping Over Watering Zones
There are three reasons behind this issue:
- The pump is installed a few feet away from the water source. If this is the case, the valve disc inside the system will pop up and down, causing the valves to skip watering zones as the supply line fills with air.
- The valve is not installed at the system’s highest point. This can create a backflow, which enters the valve after you’ve shut it down. As a result, the disc will skip over watering zones since it is pushed against the backflow.
- The system is pump-fed. This type of sprinkler system has suction leaks on the pump’s intake line, which causes the pump to not keep a steady flow of water, resulting in the valve staying in one zone.
Initially, all of these may sound like “difficult” repairs, but with the right tools, they are straightforward to fix.
How Do I Fix My Sprinkler System?
Even the strongest sprinkler system needs repair. If your system is acting up, don’t stress out.
Here are common repairs for the most common sprinkler system problems.
Replace a Sprinkler Valve
If your sprinkler heads aren’t turning on or popping up (or if you are experiencing inadequate water pressure), your valves could be the problem.
Valves are like traffic controllers; they open and close as needed so they can send water to specific areas of your yard. If the valve is faulty, everything in your system is affected.
To replace a sprinkler valve, you’ll need to cut the PVC pipes leading up to the valves. However, some sprinkler kits do not come with a separate valve set. If this is the case, the water courses through a single-timer box before it goes into the sprinkler heads.
Replace Solenoid to Fix a Faulty Valve
If water supply issues aren’t the issue behind a faulty valve, the solenoid may be at fault. The solenoid functions as a small door within the valve that closes and opens in milliseconds.
Repairing the solenoid may seem complex at first, but it’s not. You can easily find affordable replacement solenoids at your local hardware or home center. Plus, the repair takes just about five minutes.
Consider the following steps:
- Shut off the water and disconnect the power before removing the faulty sprinkler wiring.
- Turn the faulty solenoid counterclockwise to remove it.
- Replace the new solenoid
- Connect the wires again.
Replace Broken Sprinkler Heads
Sprinkler heads are prone to breakage and cracking over time. Fortunately, replacing sprinkler heads is easy to perform.
Start by checking your sprinkler head for signs of breakage or cracks. You can often find these on the plastic casing. But in some cases, the heads are completely broken off. This happens when the sprinkler heads are mounted too high, which increases their risk of being run over by lawn mowers or cars.
Broken sprinkler heads must be immediately replaced. All you have to do is remove the head from the riser. You can easily do this by hand, but there are some sprinklers that require special tools. Next, attach the new head and tighten it.
Fix a Leak
Sprinkler systems are often built from underground irrigation pipes. If this is the case, you’ll need a professional to dig into your lawn to expose the problematic section of your pipes.
Next, replace the pip with a new piece. Depending on the severity of the leak, the entire section of the pipe might need repairs.
If the damage is severe, seek professional irrigation service to prevent further damage.
Winterize Your Sprinkler System
Your sprinkler system often takes a break during the winter season or the wetter and cooler months. Before these months arrive, make sure to shut down your system.
To properly winterize your sprinkler system:
- Drain water from the entire system to prevent damage due to freezing.
- Avoid leaving the timer in a pressurized state.
- If there is still water in the system, blow out the remaining water through the blow-out port. You’ll need a compressor for this task.
Sprinkler system repairs need not cripple the rest of your home’s operations. Most of these repairs can be done by yourself, but if the damage is too severe, don’t hesitate to call your local repair professionals.