Common Sprinkler Problems

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Automatic sprinkler systems are an excellent option for keeping your lawn and garden hydrated and lush. However, like any other system that has moving parts, it’s prone to wear and tear. As a homeowner, you need to pay attention to the performance of your sprinkler system and any signs of common sprinkler problems.

The Oliviers team has put together this guide to help you identify the most common sprinkler problems. If you notice any of these issues described below, call a sprinkler repair service immediately before the problems get worse!

1) Leaking Pipes

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One of the most common sprinkler problems is the presence of leaking pipes. This can occur due to different reasons, including wear and tear or exposure to extreme weather conditions. One of the most common causes, however, is simply a loose connection. A leaking pipe can cause a significant amount of water to be wasted, which will show up in your water bills. This issue can also cause damage to your lawn if it goes undetected for a long time.

Signs of a leaking pipe include flooded areas, damp patches on your lawn, and hissing sounds even when the sprinkler system is turned off. If you notice any of these signs, it's time to call a professional sprinkler repair service.

2) Clogged Sprinkler Heads

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Another common problem involves clogged sprinkler heads. This occurs when dirt, debris, or other contaminants block the tiny outlets, preventing water from coming out as it should. This can cause uneven watering of your lawn, leading to areas with discolored turf. It can also cause the grass to grow taller in some areas than others due to uneven watering.

Signs of clogged sprinkler heads include weak or no water flow, uneven watering, or eroded areas of your lawn. Unlike some other issues on this list, clogged sprinkler heads can sometimes be fixed with simple DIY remedies. The following steps may be able to help clear a simple clog:

  • Turn off the water: Ensure the water supply to your sprinkler system is turned off to avoid any mishaps.
  • Remove the head: Loosen the sprinkler head from its body. Most sprinkler heads can be unscrewed easily.
  • Clean the head: Rinse the head under running water to remove any visible debris. Use a toothbrush for smaller heads.
  • Soak in Vinegar: If the clog persists, soak the head in a bowl of vinegar for a few hours.
  • Reinstall the head: After cleaning, screw the sprinkler head back onto its body. Make sure it's secure but not overly tight.
  • Test the system: Finally, turn the water back on and check if the sprinkler head is working properly.

3) Broken Sprinkler Heads

Broken sprinkler heads are another common problem, usually caused by accidental damage from lawn mowers or foot traffic. A broken sprinkler head can cause excessive water to be wasted and can lead to flooding in undesired areas.

Signs of a broken sprinkler head include water spraying in the air, water pooling in areas, signs of erosion, or dry spots. It's best to replace damaged sprinkler heads immediately, as they can cause more significant damage to your lawn and lead to a higher water bill.

4) Broken Valves


Valves are essential components of sprinkler systems, controlling water flow into different zones. A broken valve can cause water to leak and can also prevent some zones from receiving any water at all. This can cause water waste, so it is important to keep a watchful eye.

Signs you may notice include low water pressure, areas of your lawn not receiving water, or water running even when the system is turned off. A broken valve may require professional repair or replacement, so it's best to seek the advice of an expert sprinkler repair service like Oliviers!

5) Malfunctioning Controller Or Timer

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The controller or timer is an important part of your sprinkler system, as it allows you to set up watering schedules for your lawn. A malfunctioning controller may cause your sprinkler system to run at the wrong times or not run at all.

Signs of a malfunctioning controller include erratic watering, failure to start or stop the system, or the inability to set up a watering schedule. If your controller is malfunctioning, it's best to have it repaired or replaced by a professional sprinkler repair technician who is trained and familiar with the system.

6) Malfunctioning Backflow Preventer

The backflow preventer in sprinkler systems acts as a safeguard to prevent contaminated water from your yard from flowing back into the main water supply. When it malfunctions, it can cause significant health and safety concerns to you and your family.

Signs of a malfunctioning backflow preventer include contaminated water, a sudden decrease in water pressure, or visible water spewing from the sprinkler heads. If you suspect a malfunctioning backflow preventer, immediately turn off the system and call a professional sprinkler repair service and/or plumber.

7) Low Water Pressure


Low water pressure is a common problem that can cause your sprinkler system to malfunction or not work at all. This can be caused by different factors, such as pipe leaks or blockages, insufficient water supply, or a faulty controller. These issues make it difficult for your lawn to get the water requirements it needs to thrive.

Signs of low water pressure include weak or no water flow, dry spots in your lawn, or uneven watering. Professional repair services can help identify and fix the various causes of low water pressure.

8) System Using Too Much Water

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If you notice a significant increase in your water bill, it may be due to your sprinkler system using too much water. This can be caused by different factors, such as leaks, broken sprinkler heads, or even just not programming your controller appropriately.

Signs of excessive water usage include puddles on your lawn, water run-off, or water spraying beyond the desired areas. If you notice these issues, or any other problems with your sprinkler system, call Oliviers for sprinkler repair services in the Lafayette and Baton Rouge areas!