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How To Fix A Sprinkler System at Home Easily by Yourself

Do-it-yourself solutions to irritating irrigation problems.


These straightforward solutions for lawn irrigation systems address 90% of typical malfunctions. By applying them, you’ll cut down on repair costs and maintain a vibrant, green lawn. No specialized skills required.

Tools Required

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Hacksaw
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Spade
  • Wire stripper/cutter

Materials Required

  • Band clamps
  • Replacement heads and other parts
  • Tubing repair parts
  • Waterproof wire connectors

STEP ONE – Replace a Sprinkler Head

Excavate around the sprinkler head to uncover the riser. Detach the damaged sprinkler head by unscrewing it from the riser. Securely install the new head by twisting it tightly using your hands.

STEP TWO – Clean and Reset Heads

Take apart the sprinkler head by unscrewing the top section from the canister. Cleanse the accumulated soil and debris by rinsing them off into a bucket of water. Extract the screen basket from the head’s bottom part and cleanse it using water. Fine-tune the watering range of the sprinkler head prior to installation. Conduct final adjustments while water is running through it.

STEP 3 – Check the Valves

If you encounter low water pressure, inspect the valves of your sprinkler system on the backflow device to ensure they’re open. Begin by turning the valve on the horizontal pipe, followed by the valve on the vertical pipe.

STEP 4 – Find and Repair Leaks

Before commencing the repair, ensure the system is deactivated at the controller. Remove the impaired section of the line. Affix a clamp to one end of the line, insert a slip coupling, and then securely fasten the clamp. Attach a clamp to the other end of the pipe, expand the coupling while inserting the nipple into the pipe, and then tighten the clamp.

STEP 5 – Repair Crushed Pipes

Dig alongside the water line until reaching the compromised segment. If the line traverses near a tree, begin digging from that point. Once the damaged section is identified, use a hacksaw to remove it. If the damage is due to tree roots, consider redirecting the line by excavating a new trench away from the tree. Prepare a new segment of pipe to substitute the damaged one. Then install the new pipe segment, connecting it at each end using standard couplings and band clamps.

STEP 6 – Check for Low Voltage

Your irrigation system is segmented into multiple zones. Typically, if a zone fails to activate, an electrical issue is the culprit. Ensure that the zone wires are securely connected to the terminals within the controller, the transformer is plugged in, and the circuit breaker at the main panel is in the “on” position. Subsequently, use a multimeter to assess the voltage of the non-functioning zone. Activate the non-working zone at the controller. Set the multimeter to voltage mode and place one probe on the common terminal, often labeled as “c” or “com”. Position the other probe on the terminal of the inactive zone. Consult your owner’s manual to determine if the voltage reading falls within the specified range (typically 24 to 28 volts). If it doesn’t, replacing the controller may be necessary.

STEP 7 – Test the Transformer

To assess the voltage of the transformer, connect the multimeter leads to the terminals labeled “24 vac” while the transformer remains plugged in. If the reading registers below 22, it indicates a deficiency, necessitating the replacement of the transformer.

STEP 8 – Replace Sprinkler Solenoid

Detach the wires and loosen the faulty solenoid from the control valve. Install a new one and tighten it until snug using your fingers.

STEP 9 – Reconnect The Wires

Link the two wires from the new solenoid to the common wire and a field wire, employing waterproof connectors.

STEP 10 – Waterproof Connectors

Special connectors are equipped with silicone to ensure waterproof connections. If the controller, fuse, and transformer are all functioning properly, test the resistance, measured in ohms, between the common terminal and the nonworking zone. Switch off the system, set the multimeter to measure ohms (indicated by the omega symbol), and position the leads on the common terminal and the zone terminal, just as you did when testing for voltage. Compare the ohms reading with the specified range outlined in your owner’s manual, typically ranging from 20 to 60 ohms. If the ohms measurement falls below the required range, it indicates that the switch (solenoid) responsible for controlling the valve for that zone is faulty and needs replacement. The faulty solenoid will be connected to the same colored wire as the zone wire at the controller.

STEP 11 – Repair damaged wires

If the resistance reading between the common terminal and the nonworking zone terminal is excessively high, it indicates a severed or faulty wire leading to the control valve. If only one zone is malfunctioning, the issue likely lies with the field wire. If none of the zones within a control valve box are operational, it suggests a problem with the common wire, although issues with the field wires cannot be ruled out entirely.

To identify a faulty wire, sequentially bypass each one by temporarily substituting a 14-gauge wire above ground. Ensure that wire connections are made with the controller turned off. Then, reactivate the controller.

Commence by testing the field wire initially. If the zone activates, it indicates that the original field wire is defective. Replace it with an 18-gauge wire suitable for underground burial, ensuring it is buried at least eight inches underground.

Follow the same procedure to test the common wire.

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