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Common Lawn Sprinkler Problems and When to Get HelpMay 23rd, 2013 by
This article was crafted with the help of Jack Moore from Moore Sprinkler Company
A lush, green lawn is primarily dependent on a well-functioning sprinkler system. Years ago, lawns had to rely on the simple rotating sprinkler that attached to a garden hose, but owner Jack Moore of Moore Sprinkler Company, Inc., in Dallas notes that modern automatic sprinkler systems have a decided advantage over past solutions.
“The main thing that a sprinkler system brings to the table is uniformity,” says Jack. “You get much better, more even coverage, and you can water the lawn a lot quicker and cheaper by using an automatic sprinkler system.”
While an automatic lawn watering system is better for the grass, its more complex design means that when problems arise, professional help is usually the way to go.
System Is Not Watering
In many cases when the system is not watering the lawn, the problem is simply the timer needing to be set. However, the issue could also be a blown fuse. An owner’s manual will usually provide simple directions for replacement, and this is a task that can be completed by a homeowner, though some may prefer to leave it to an irrigation professional.
Both the rotor and spray-type sprinkler heads have filters inside them, and if the filters become clogged, the result can be uneven spray patterns and blocked water flow. The filters must be cleaned by hand, which requires the removal of the head from the water line. In addition, great care must be taken to prevent debris from falling into the connection to the water line once the head is off.
System Is Leaking
Sprinkler system leaks can damage not only landscaping through overwatering but also the family budget. According to a 2012 report by the American Water Works Association, average water bills in the United States are expected to double and even triple in some parts of the country by 2035. Being vigilant in ferreting out system leaks can help conserve precious water.
Leaky sprinklers are most often caused by loose connections within the system, especially at the sprinkler head. This problem can be resolved easily by the homeowner; if the sprinkler head feels loose or twists easily, simply tightening it up by hand is sufficient in most cases.
Pipes and fittings in the system are mostly stationary and will probably not loosen, but they can crack over time with exposure to the elements. Even tiny cracks can lead to a serious leak problem, so pipes and fittings should be examined regularly as one of the services provided by a sprinkler maintenance company.
Water Line Problems
If puddles of water begin to form around sprinkler heads, the problem can often be traced to the water line. Most sprinkler systems are fed by underground PVC water lines that sometimes break under the stress of shifting ground and freezing temperatures during the winter months.
Repairing water lines means digging around the area where the leak is likely located and mending or replacing the PVC. The size of the undertaking usually means calling in a sprinkler system professional to tackle the job.
Another water line difficulty that requires professional help is a backflow problem. Backflow is the term used to describe water in plumbing lines flowing backward toward the water source. Backflow can be dangerous because it can potentially carry polluted water into the main tie-in to the city water lines.
Backflow from sprinklers may carry fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste residue, and other chemicals from lawns, leading to possible contamination of the source. All sprinkler systems are required to have a backflow preventer, such as a double-check assembly (DCA), an atmospheric vacuum breaker, or a pressure vacuum breaker.
Backflow systems must be professionally inspected annually to make sure they operate properly, and any system failure should be immediately addressed.
By using a professional to address sprinkler system problems early and keep on top of basic maintenance, your sprinkler system will help your grass grow higher and healthier while still conserving water, energy, and money.
This spotlight article was crafted by Moore Sprinkler Company, a Sprinkler Systems Best Pick in Dallas. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.