4 Common Causes of Sprinkler System Problems
As with anything mechanical, a sprinkler system is bound to experience problems over time. The causes of these are varied. Fortunately, you can easily identify these problems on your own and either fix them yourself or get an electrical or plumbing expert to do it for you. Each of the common causes listed below rarely take place in isolation; often, one will lead to the other.
Check for cracked or broken pipes. A clue to this would be a gradual drop in pressure or pools of water around the lawn where the pipe passes. Since pipes for most domestic sprinkler systems are made from PVC, regular exposure to pressure could start to slowly crack the pipes.
One way this can happen is a car regularly going over the ground under which the pipes are. The compaction and downward push could bend, distort, crack or, worst case, eventually break the pipe. Another is pressure from plant roots especially larger ones such as trees.
Pipes could also crack due to wide variations of ground temperature. Extreme heat causes the soil to expand albeit slightly while the cold causes contraction. Once you identify where the problem is, dig up the area around the pipe, cut it and then replace it with a new piece.
Avoid using water directly from a natural or unfiltered water source. For example, do not use pond water, river water or water from a well. The immediate cost savings you may think you achieve will be quickly eroded by the repair works required on the sprinkler system.
Even though the water may look fairly clean to the naked eye, water collected from the river, pond or a well contains fine grains of silt that will eventually block your system. If you must use water from these sources, filter the water and clean the sprinkler system with tap water regularly.
Blocked or Broken Sprinkler Head
A blocked or broken sprinkler head could cause minimal, irregular or no watering to take place at one or more zones. If you notice growing puddles of water around a sprinkler head or start to see irregular wet and dry patches, it could be a sprinkler head problem. The causes are varied: the head could be cracked, blocked, jammed or loose. Depending on the underlying problem, you will have to replace, readjust or clean it to allow resumption of normal water flow and operation of the sprinkler.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure could be due to a faulty valve at the backflow device, broken pipe or a problem with the sprinkler system pump.
- Check the valves, with the system switched on
- Open and close the entry and exit valve and see what effect it has on sprinkler output.
A broken pipe is straightforward as all it needs is replacement. Problems with the pump system may be technical and employing the services of an electrician would be the safest approach to take.
Maintaining a close watch on your sprinkler system for any one of these problem areas will help you save time and money.