Sprinkler Troubleshooting

Posted on: 25 April 2017

A dead or dry spot in your yard can be a frustrating issue to have, especially if you know your automatic sprinkler system should cover the problem spot. The issue is usually with a single emitter head. The following guide can help you understand the likely causes of the issue.

Plugged emitter site

Sometimes soil and grass gets packed down on top of a sprinkler head. Then, instead of popping up when water pressure builds, a small amount of water just bubbles to the surface. Locate the sprinkler head – use a flag or stake to mark it if you must locate it when the system is running. Then, use a trowel to carefully dig out the compacted dirt over the head so that it can pop up freely again.

Poor water pressure

Water pressure can also be the culprit. When only one sprinkler head is affected, there are two possible causes. The most common is that there is a leak along the line that feeds water to this specific sprinkler head. Replacing the line should fix the pressure problem. You can sometimes spot possible leaks in the line by walking across the lawn after the sprinklers run. You may find an overly wet or marshy area, which is often right above the site of the leak. Less likely, but still possible, is that the water pressure regulator within the line for this sprinkler head or zone is stuck or has failed. You will need to replace it to increase the pressure.

Damaged emitter

Often the issue is with the emitter. Turn on the sprinklers and check the flow from the emitter. If it isn't aimed properly, you can usually turn the screw on the top of the emitter head to readjust the spray pattern so it hits your grass properly. The emitter may also be the wrong one for the site, either because it doesn't have the necessary spray distance or because it is the wrong pattern to provide coverage to the area. Another common issue is that dirt becomes lodged in the spray holes. You can sometimes clean this out with a small needle. Eventually, though, all emitters will break. If adjusting or cleaning it doesn't bring your emitter back online, simply purchase a replacement. They don't cost too much, and they generally screw into place, so replacement is a breeze.

If you need more help or if your sprinklers still aren't working, contact a sprinkler contractor in your area, or check out websites like http://headsupsprinklersva.com/.