What is Proper Sprinkler Maintenance?

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  • Written By: Josie Myers
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Home sprinkler maintenance is a relatively simple process, as there are very few things that a homeowner has to do to ensure they work properly. With some simple winterization and springtime checks, a sprinkler system can be an easy way to have home irrigation.

Being vigilant with winterization of the system is one of the most important parts of sprinkler maintenance. The water that goes to the system must be turned off at the main valve. The automatic irrigation controls should be turned to off or to the rain setting. Each of the valves on the sprinklers themselves should be turned on to release the pressure in the pipe and drain out the water. All water needs to be drained out to avoid freezing in the pipes, which could cause severe damage to the system.

When it is past the frost point in the season, the sprinklers can be started up for the spring. The system needs to be flushed through to be sure that any pests that have made winter homes in the pipes are gone. Nozzles should be removed to provide an open flushing hole. Run the water for a minute or two to make sure all nuisances are removed from the pipes.


After the pipes have been flushed through once, replace the nozzles and start the system up. If any nozzles are not running, they can be replaced or cleaned. If there is calcium buildup on the nozzle, it can be cleaned using a standard calcium remover product. If any valves appear to be leaking, these also need to be replaced or repaired with appropriate piping glue.

The controller needs be checked as the last part of springtime sprinkler maintenance. Batteries should be replaced even if they don't appear to be dead. If it is a rechargeable system, or has no battery system, simply observe the controls to be sure that they are functioning properly.

Besides these two major parts of sprinkler maintenance, there are a few things that may require attention. Sometimes a head seems to be spraying in the wrong direction. Usually, this is just a matter of turning the head. If that does not help the situation, sometimes overgrowth can be to blame or an obstruction like a rock or soil deposit. If the area is cleaned up and the sprinkler head still does not work properly, it may need to be replaced.

Sometimes there can be problems in the pipes themselves or the water source. Leaks in the pipes can be fixed with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping and glue. If the heads and nozzles seem to consistently be damaged, high water pressure may be to blame. If that is the case, special valves that reduce water pressure can be installed.

Sprinkler maintenance is a fairly straightforward process that involves replacement and repair as necessary. Any sprinkler system owners who are uncomfortable handling these fixes can hire a professional to take care of them. Many sprinkler companies offer a yearly maintenance routine for a fee that makes events like the springtime start-up a hassle-free event for the owners.


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