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Common Sprinkler Problems and How to Fix Them

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Central Plumbing and Heating in Chesapeake, VA

Here’s a public service blog from your friends here at Chesapeake’s Central Plumbing and Heating. When you notice a problem with your sprinklers, you are advised to take immediate action to prevent larger issues. Poorly working sprinklers leave you with dry areas on the lawn, overly wet spots in other areas, and can cause disease and weeds. Here are some common sprinkler problems and how you can fix them.

Clogged Sprinkler

Over time, dirt and debris get trapped in the filter or nozzle. Obviously, the water won’t spray as far or as much as it should.
  • Pull up the sprinkler using a flat head screwdriver. Raise and secure the riser using a soft clamping device (for spray sprinklers).
  • Turn off the water and unscrew the top portion.
  • Remove the filter. For sprays, you might need tweezers to pull it out. For rotors, the filter is at the bottom, so you’ll need to remove all internal parts.
  • Rinse the filter and nozzle under water.
  • Replace the filter and nozzle. Aim the sprinkler so it sprays in the right direction. Turn on the water and test it out.

Leaky Sprinkler

The most common cause of leaks is lawn mowers or vehicles passing over sprinkler heads and damaging them. The passage of time also wears out the seal. A leaky sprinkler can cause a lot of problems: dry areas where the water doesn’t reach, soggy areas near the leak (which can also lead to disease and weeds), and a higher water bill.

The location of the leak should tell you what’s wrong. If the sprinkler is leaking near the top, first make sure the cap is screwed on tight. If that doesn’t work, then the problem might be a clog or an old seal. Unscrew the cap and check the seal. If it looks worn, replace it. If the leak is coming from the body of the sprinkler, you’ll likely need to replace the entire sprinkler. That is an easy fix.

  • If sprinkler is below ground level, dig up the turf and dirt 6-inches around it. Use a hand shovel and be careful to not damage any irrigation control cables.
  • Unscrew the old sprinkler. Take it with you to the store to buy a replacement part. The fool proof way is to buy the exact same brand and model. If not, ensure the replacement matches these characteristics: diameter of female opening, overall length, pressure, throw diameter, and arc.
  • Wrap a thin layer of Teflon tape around the threaded male head. Screw in the new sprinkler.
  • Replace any dirt and turf.


Water that’s landing outside the lawn zone is wasteful. Overspray is usually caused by incorrectly positioned sprinklers. To fix, remove the soil from around the sprinkler, straighten the sprinkler, and replace the soil.

Blocked Sprinkler

Occasionally check the area around each sprinkler to make sure nothing is blocking the flow of water. This may include trash cans, plants, or overhanging branches. Maintain the area by cutting back turf grass and pulling up sprinklers that have been pushed down from mowers and vehicles.

If you are not confident of performing the fix yourself, tap your local irrigation specialist or landscaper to come out and get things back to normal for you.

Source: taskeasy.com

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