How to Recognize, Prevent, and Fix a Damaged Irrigation System

Published On: May 23, 20190 Comments on How to Recognize, Prevent, and Fix a Damaged Irrigation SystemTags: Last Updated: February 13, 20244.8 min read

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household uses more than 300 gallons (1,137 liters) of water per day. Around 70 percent of this water is used indoors. However, the number could be higher in the drier and hotter parts of the country. Most of this outdoor water usage goes to landscape irrigation. It’s a simple yet vital piece of fact that, unfortunately, not many household owners pay attention to. As long as some people see a healthy, thriving lawn, checking up on irrigation issues is often shelved to the back of the worry department.

How to Recognize, Prevent, and Fix a Damaged Irrigation System

But clearly, it’s something that should take up a recurring schedule in a homeowner’s calendar. Not only are you going to save plenty on your water bills, but having a well-maintained irrigation or sprinkler system will also mitigate the need for premature upgrades or system replacement, which can cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. In this case, it’s important to get familiar with your irrigation system. Recognizing that there is a problem is the first step to fixing them. The following are the most common sprinkler or irrigation system issues and their fixes. You may need your irrigation system manual to know each part.


If you notice difficulty in turning your valves on and off, that should tell you that something’s wrong. A common cause of this issue is the presence of dirt or debris in the valve, potentially faulty wiring, or a rip in the diaphragm. To get to the root of the problem, check the diaphragm if it’s clean and free of wrinkles or any kind of tear or perforation. The body of the valve should be kept clean at all times, just how the seal and the seal seat should be.

Water trickling out of your sprinkler even when it’s off is also an indicator of a problem in the valve. If you see a pool of water around it, chances are, it’s broken. Check for the possibility of a broken pipe before you decide to replace any part.

Rotor Heads

Your sprinkler systems generally break down over time—that’s a fact. But aside from natural wear and tear, sometimes, mechanical issues can take part in the need for an upgrade. For instance, the rotor heads of your sprinklers can be demolished and damaged by lawn mowers (shovels or snow removal equipment in winter). Not properly packing the soil surrounding the rotors can also cause them to tilt, resulting in an inefficient distribution of water.

A good solution to this is to install the rotors with swing pipes so you can work around them when you need to clear your lawn of unwanted elements. If not, manually repositioning the heads and configuring the soil around it are the way to go. Always keep an eye out for the rotors when you’re doing lawn work.


If your sprinklers aren’t spouting water normally, the most possible genesis of the issue is clogged debris. Another is the use of inaccurate water pressure. It may be possible that your water source is dirty and should be cleaned. You can prevent damage in your sprinkler’s nozzle by flushing your systems at the source to the terminals, getting rid of the dirt, and replacing the damaged nozzles or clogged filters.

How to Recognize, Prevent, and Fix a Damaged Irrigation System - sprinklers


Leaking and broken pipes are not uncommon for old pipe installations. To mitigate these problems, always remember to look for potential blockages within the pipes after a storm or heavy weather. Flush out your system at least once every other week to ensure that the pipes are clear. Good-quality pipes last long. Invest in a good one, and save yourself the time, cost, and trouble. Choose the right diameter and those with higher densities.

Control Panel

Problems with your control panel can seriously hurt your lawn’s health. The most common causes of these issues are (a) age and (b) cycles that are not properly programmed, which can cause the system to repeat the cycle. Be sure you know how to operate the control panel before using it. You can check out the manual and read the instructions if in doubt. It’s usual for some homeowners to try to take control of the system without knowing how it works, which commonly results in frequent system breaks.

If you’re using an outdated system, it’s probably time to consider getting a new one if you’re having difficulties with manual monitoring. An upgrade to a smart controller is a good investment. These controllers are capable of not only properly following your watering schedule but also of monitoring environmental temperatures and humidity rates to dispense water as needed. This kind of system is handy, especially when you travel frequently but hate to go back home to a brown yard.

Electrical Wiring

Just like in most machines operating outdoors, problems with wiring are bound to occur. It can be caused by short-circuiting or simply by exposure to outdoor elements. Bad weather, like ones accompanied by lightning storms, can also burn out underground wiring. How to tell? Your sprinklers will fail to operate. For safety reasons, it’s always the safer choice to call a professional electrician to handle the job.


These are some of the most common irrigation issues that homeowners can expect during the life cycle of their irrigation systems. The best mitigation effort to prevent having these issues is to ensure that maintenance work is diligently attended to. Track and log the details of your repairs so you can later use the data to see if a component upgrade or a major system overhaul is due.

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