How to Fix a Sprinkler System

A beautiful green yard is not only appealing to the owner’s eyes but also amazes the visitors. If you have one then we are sure that you don’t want it to turn brown or patchy just because your irrigation system is malfunctioning.

While a simple plain green yard may look easy to manage, you still need to take care of things that help you maintain that eye candy. The easiest way to irrigate your garden is to use a sprinkler system that works so well and doesn’t let your grass or plants dry easily. However, being a mechanical machine, it is also prone to damage due to several factors.

Most of the time, troubleshooting and repairing the sprinkler can be done manually but may need expert help if the problem is far from your reach. As the whole system is underground, it is certainly not easy to figure out whether the problem is with the sprinkler solenoid, pipeline, or zone valve.

How long do sprinkler pumps last?

A sprinkler system is made up of several components that include a sprinkler pump, sprinkler heads, nozzles, pipes, valves, and controllers. Therefore, the lifespan of a sprinkler system depends on the life of its components. Each component has its lifespan and depending on external factors such as weather and landscape age, your sprinkler system can last from 5 to 20 years.

Here the sprinkler pump has a life of between 2 and 5 years but maintenance is the key to an even longer life. The pipe system lives the longest, as they are always underground, away from exposure to direct sunlight and harsh weather. This results in its lifespan of around 40 years but other parts such as the valves and heads can last up to 15 years depending on the quality.

Every part needs inspection particularly the pump as it has the least lifespan and requires different protective measures for optimal operation. It is best to inspect everything at the start of the spring season as this is the time when the vegetation grows faster and will require regular irrigation. However, the summers and fall seasons are also important for fine-tuning the sprinkler system as the temperature is at the highest in summers, and failing to water your lawn on time will result in loss of moisture and turning of green grass to brown.  

How do I know if my sprinkler line is broken?

Broken sprinkler lines can result in improper irrigation and this can ruin the looks of your garden. On top of that, the leakage through the pipes underground can increase your water bill dramatically. If one of your pipe or pipes has broken underground, there is a step-by-step method on how you can find it out and what you can do to fix it.

To access the pipeline, you need to know the location of the pipes underground. If you have a map, then it will be easy to find out in one try, however, if you don’t have the map, you need to dig near the valve boxes and sprinkler heads. The pipes are around 8 to 12 inches deep into the ground, therefore, you don’t need to dig the same place continuously if you can’t find the pipe at around 12-inches. Once you get to one of the pipes or elbows, it is easier to follow as the pipes are straight and the next one will be at the left or right side at 90 degrees. This way you can create a whole map of the pipeline to easily know where you need to check.

Make sure you turn off the sprinkler system for a few days to let the ground dry up. This way you will know which areas are still wet even though the entire yard is now dry. Now you can easily locate the leakage point or points and you can replace the pipes after digging into the leakage area. Alternatively, if you don’t want to dig manually in different areas to locate the broken pipes, you can use leak noise locators or correlators to detect the leakage areas underground. If you can’t do all of this by yourself, then it’s best to call a sprinkler repair company.

How do you fix a sprinkler system?

A sprinkler system has different components and hence, problems can occur in any part. These problems can include valve leaks as well as leaks at sprinkler heads. Sometimes the problem can occur in one or more individual sprinkler heads where they fail to work even when the system is on. All of these require careful inspection and can’t be fixed if one doesn’t know how the whole system works.

It’s best to call a sprinkler company that has expertise in troubleshooting and fixing the problems quickly. Local companies can get the job done quickly. Repair companies will charge on per hour basis and the average cost of repair is around $200 whereas the cost can be as low as $75 or up to $500. This depends on what parts are getting repaired or replaced and includes the labor as well.

Generally, the sprinkler heads are the least expensive ranging from $5 to $20 for one head depending on the quality you are opting for. On the other hand, pipe replacement is the most expensive that may cost you up to $500. If the faults are minimal, you can repair your sprinkler system by yourself. Generally, some parts like solenoids and heads are easy to replace. You can buy these parts at a hardware store and replace the old ones by yourself.

How much does it cost to replace a sprinkler control valve?

A sprinkler valve can cost as low as $15 but a high-quality valve can cost more than $100. This doesn’t include the cost of labor which can range from $40-$90 per hour. Replacing a control valve is not easy as replacing a head and requires a professional plumber. If the sprinkler valve isn’t damaged to a point that it needs replacement, then the cost will be much lower and generally, these problems include damaged wiring or a broken valve.

How do I replace a sprinkler solenoid?

Replacing a sprinkler solenoid is really easy. Once you buy one, make sure you turn off the water at the backflow device and switch off your sprinkler system as the solenoids are powered by electricity. After switching the sprinkler off, remove the connections of the faulty solenoid which uses two wires. One of the wires connected to the solenoid will be a color wire but the other will be white. It is even better to cut the wires as the joints may have corroded in the course of operation.

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Once you do that, you need to unscrew the solenoid from the valve body. Now take the new solenoid and screw it carefully to avoid any cross threads or your valve won’t work properly. Now connect the white and color wire from the controller to the two wires of the solenoid. It doesn’t matter which solenoid wire you connect to the white one and the colored controller wire.

Now to insulate these connections from each other you can either use the wire nuts or waterproof wire connectors where the latter is better as they prevent water from reaching the joints. After a successful connection, close the valve box and test your sprinkler.

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