Troubleshooting Problems with Your Irrigation System

When your irrigation system is on the fritz, your green spaces won’t get the optimal care they need. Moreover, a faulty irrigation system often translates to wasted water and higher energy costs. For these reasons and more, you’ll want to address any potential sprinkler problems as soon as possible. In order to do this, it helps to know a bit about how these systems work and which issues are most common. Let’s explore how to troubleshoot problems with your irrigation system.

Know Your Irrigation Components

While no two sprinkler systems are exactly alike, they all share the same basic components and features. It all starts with the main water supply, which is sent to a ground-level valve box via a main supply pipe. From there, the water flows to distinct irrigation zones, which are controlled by individual valves. An electronic controller is in charge of distributing the amount and duration of water deployed in each zone’s sprinklers. Each zone valve features a diaphragm device that allows or prevents water from coming through as directed by the electronic controller. There are additional, smaller components and details within an irrigation system, but this is, broadly speaking, how it works: a primary pipe carries water from a main source to a valve box where it is then sent to separate irrigation zones and then sent upward and outward via sprinklers as controlled by electronic impulses.

Common Problems with Irrigation Systems

While the operating principles of irrigation systems may seem simple, the number of moving parts found in these systems means that even one damaged or malfunctioning part can throw the whole thing out of whack. The most common irrigation system issues include but are not limited to:

  • Faulty/broken sprinkler head(s)

  • Leakage near zone valve(s)

  • Leakage at sprinkler heads far away from the valve

  • Unresponsive irrigation zones (i.e. won’t turn on or receive information)

  • Low/sub-optimal water pressure

  • Incorrect sprinkler head height

In some cases, these problems will be easy to identify thanks to visible cues. Other times, however, professional irrigation services will need to perform an audit to track the root cause of a given problem. Either way, the sooner you discover the problem and resolve it, the better.

Amending Irrigation Issues

There are numerous ways to resolve an irrigation issue based on the underlying cause(s). A low pressure problem, for instance, might be due to a malfunctioning backflow device, a water pipe leak, or a compressed/restricted irrigation line. The fixes for any of these issues are relatively simple when performed by a professional. As for broken or faulty sprinkler heads, these might simply warrant replacement parts. If an irrigation zone (or more) won’t turn on, there may be an issue with your controller’s voltage, the zone’s valve/diaphragm, and/or the valve’s solenoid. Irrigation leaks may be the result of loosened valves, torn diaphragms, cracked valves, improperly installed valves, and/or worn down or dirty valves and sprinkler heads (keeping up with landscape debris removal is key for preventing dirt-related irrigation issues).

The list of possible problems and solutions goes on. Troubleshooting is all about tracing a given problem back to its source so the proper diagnosis and solutions can be made. If you’re not yourself an irrigation expert, it helps to partner with irrigation and lawn care services that know the ins and outs of your system and facility. This way, should anything go wrong, you can rest assured that the problem will be quickly identified and fixed before it takes a toll on your lawn or your bottom line.

The Budd Group offers complete facility management services, including landscaping, building maintenance, janitorial cleaning, facility support, and much more. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!

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