How to Unclog a Sprinkler System

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Dirt and debris can build up in all parts of a sprinkler system--pipes, risers and nozzles. If the water spewing from your sprinklers isn't as strong as it should be, it's time for a cleaning.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden Hose
  • Wire Or Paper Clip
  • Turn off the system and remove all the nozzles and heads.

  • Turn on the water and let it run until a solid, clean stream flows from each head opening. Then turn the water off.

  • Dismantle each nozzle according to the directions in your owner's manual.

  • Hold the nozzle under a faucet or hose to blast out debris. Open small, clogged holes using a piece of wire or a paper clip.

  • Rinse out the filter basket or screen.

  • Reassemble and replace the heads and nozzles. Then turn on the water. If the system still seems sluggish--and your indoor water pressure is normal--the problem could be a leak in the line (see How to Repair a Leaking Irrigation System).

Tips & Warnings

  • To dismantle some nozzles, you'll need a screwdriver or a special key that came with your system; other types you can take apart by hand.

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