How to Troubleshoot Sprinkler Systems

Troubleshoot Sprinkler Systems
Troubleshoot Sprinkler Systems (Image:

A sprinkler system is one of a home's most convenient and time-saving features. While they are usually very reliable, these systems do have problems on occasion. The homeowner that has some basic troubleshooting skills can quickly pinpoint problems and possible solutions.

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Use a small flat head screwdriver to turn the screw directly on top of sprinkler heads to correct spotty or incorrect spray patterns. This is often due to dirt or grass blocking the sprinkler.

Check for a damaged or broken sprinkler head when spray patterns have become very irregular or there are abnormally large amounts of water shooting into the air. These sprinkler heads are easily replaced. Turn the water supply off and dig around the sprinkler head far enough to expose the threads of the pipe directly beneath the sprinkler. Simply unscrew the sprinkler and screw a new one on.

Look for a broken, damaged or incorrectly functioning valve if your system is trying to turn on and off but not doing it properly. Check for debris such as a small rock lodged in the valve. Do this by turning off the water supply and removing the top of the valve. If this does not solve the problem, replace the valve.

Replace the electronic timer/sprinkler control box if you find that all heads and valves function properly, and you can manually turn your system on and off. It is usually not feasible to try and repair these small electronic devices.

Inspect sprinkler heads and pipes for leaks when your system water pressure has dropped and you are getting weak spray. Pipes that are cracked or broken can be fixed by using a piece of PVC pipe long enough to replace the broken one, a slip to slip PVC coupler, and some PVC primer and glue. Leaking sprinkler heads should be replaced as described in Step 2. They are usually inexpensive to replace.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful when using a shovel to dig and do repairs in the area of your system. Many times even more damage is done by shovels that cut or crack the system.


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