Unexpected Plumbing Problems: What You Should Be Maintaining in Your Home: Your Sprinkler System

Sprinklers watering a lawn
Home sprinkler systems make maintaining a lush, green lawn much easier. However, are you aware that your sprinkler system needs regular maintenance to ensure it’s functioning properly and your yard is safe? Even a small sprinkler leak can waste more than 6,000 gallons of water each month, while sprinkler heads that do not sit flush with your lawn can be a tripping hazard for children or other visitors. Additionally, it’s important to make sure your sprinklers are distributing water properly to avoid over- or under-watering areas of your lawn, which can affect the look of your grass and even damage your home. If you do spot a sprinkler problem but aren’t sure how to fix it yourself, contact a professional.

Checking Your Sprinkler System

One of the first steps in maintaining your sprinkler system is to check its function. Turn on your sprinklers during the day and observe them working to spot any obvious problems. As you watch your sprinklers, look for issues such as gushing sprinkler heads, sprinklers that are not rotating properly, or sprinklers that are distributing water over unnecessary areas such as your home’s siding or sidewalk. After you have checked the system’s operation, turn it off and take a walk through your yard. Locate all the sprinkler heads and make sure they have retracted to sit flush with your lawn. During your walk, also check for areas of standing water or soggy ground that could be indicative of a leaking sprinkler head.

Maintaining Your Sprinkler System

While some aspects of maintaining your sprinkler system should be left to a professional, there are a few tasks you can complete yourself to keep your sprinklers in good repair. If you spot a clogged sprinkler head during your test, you can clean it out yourself to restore normal water flow through the sprinkler. Similarly, leaking sprinkler heads can often be repaired on your own. However, if you aren’t sure where the leak is coming from or don’t feel comfortable repairing it yourself, contact a professional to make the repair for you. When you are through operating your sprinklers in the fall, you should winterize the system to prevent frozen and burst pipes or damaged sprinkler heads. Turn off the water supply to the sprinkler system by closing the main valve and running your sprinklers until the pipes supplying them are empty. Make sure to empty any additional drain valves that may be located on the line. Additionally, check and empty your backflow prevention valve and add insulation to any exposed pipes or components to prevent freezing during cold weather. Before you use your sprinklers in the spring, remove any debris covering the sprinkler heads and check all valves to make sure they are set properly before restoring the water supply to your irrigation system.

A well-maintained sprinkler system will keep your lawn looking its best, enhancing the appeal of your property while improving the value of your home. Keeping your irrigation system in good shape will prevent accidents, wasted water, and uneven watering that can leave your lawn in poor condition or even damage your home and foundation. If you aren’t sure how to care for your sprinkler system or would like a demonstration, call your installer or a sprinkler system professional for further assistance.

How much do you know about your sprinkler system?

  • Absolutely nothing—all of this is news to me!
  • I know how to set programs, but I didn’t realize the lines need to be drained during the winter
  • We regularly perform maintenance on our system, and I feel like an expert!