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When your sprinkler system hiccups, don’t panic. A systematic troubleshooting approach can resurrect even the most finicky of systems. Below, you’ll find advanced techniques that lawn care professionals and expert DIYers use to ensure their lawns stay green without turning their wallets red.

Understanding the System

Before you dig in with tools and tests, familiarize yourself with your system’s layout. Know where valves, controllers, and sensors are located. Accessing a system map can be crucial in diagnosing issues quickly.

Common Problems and Solutions

1. Zones Not Activating

Potential Causes
  • Electrical issues
  • Valve malfunctions
  • Controller problems
Troubleshooting Techniques
  • Check the controller for power and proper settings.
  • Use a multimeter to test the solenoid for continuity.
  • Manually activate the valve to rule out electrical problems.

2. Low Water Pressure

Potential Causes
  • Leak in the system
  • Valve not opening fully
  • Problems at the backflow device
Troubleshooting Techniques
  • Inspect for visible signs of leakage or breaks.
  • Clean out filters and check valves for obstructions.
  • Test and inspect backflow devices to ensure they are functioning correctly.

3. Sprinkler Heads Not Functioning

Potential Causes
  • Clogged nozzles
  • Broken heads
  • Incorrect head adjustment
Troubleshooting Techniques
  • Clean nozzles with a head cleaning kits.
  • Replace any broken sprinkler heads.
  • Adjust sprinkler heads to the correct spray pattern.

4. Erratic System Behavior

Potential Causes
  • Corrosion or shorts in the wiring
  • Controller malfunctions
  • Erroneous sensor readings
Troubleshooting Techniques
  • Inspect and replace any corroded wires or connectors.
  • Reset or replace a faulty controller.
  • Bypass sensors to test if they are the source of the problem.

5. Overspray or Dry Spots

Potential Causes
  • Misaligned heads
  • Unoptimized irrigation schedules
  • Blocked sprinkler heads
Troubleshooting Techniques
  • Realign sprinkler heads for even coverage.
  • Adjust watering schedules for efficient hydration.
  • Trim vegetation that might be obstructing spray patterns.

6. Water Doesn’t Shut Off

Potential Causes
  • Stuck valve
  • Programming error in the controller
  • Faulty solenoid or relay
Troubleshooting Techniques
  • Disassemble the valve, clean all parts, and reassemble.
  • Check the program settings on the controller.
  • Replace the solenoid or relay if testing shows it’s malfunctioning.

Final Checks

After addressing the primary issues, run a full system cycle to ensure all zones are operating correctly. Monitoring and making small tweaks is often necessary to get things just right. Keep a log of any changes and maintenance to streamline any future troubleshooting.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To keep your system running at peak efficiency, incorporate these habits into your lawn care routine:

  • Winterize the system to prevent freezing damage.
  • Replace worn components like washers and seals annually.
  • Flush the system with water seasonally to clear debris.
  • Adjust sprinkler heads when landscaping changes occur.

Getting Professional Help

If after these troubleshooting steps your system is still misbehaving, it may be time to call in a pro. Advanced issues or major repairs often require specialized skills or equipment.

By following these advanced sprinkler troubleshooting techniques, you’ll be able to diagnose and solve most problems that crop up, keeping your system in tip-top shape for seasons to come.


If you have any questions or need any type of sprinkler system repair, the experts at Houston Sprinkler Repair will be glad to help. Give us a call or 832-787-0999 to set an appointment.