Maintain sprinkler systems Part 1

Sprinkler LawnMaintaining your sprinkler system is one of the most effective ways to reduce water wastage, reduce run-off, reduce over-watering and to improve lawn health by applying the correct amount of water.

You should conduct a check of your irrigation system at least twice a season – the beginning and about the middle of the season. In an ideal world you would be checking your sprinkler system once a month.

What to check:

  • Inspect the controller and ensure it is plugged in and fully-functional
  • Check and update the date and time settings as required
  • Check the connection of all wires – ensure that wind, rain or soil moisture sensors are connected correctly
  • Check the back-up battery and replace as necessary
  • Change the schedule to reflect the current season and your lawn’s needs
  • Switch on each zone and check for any system damage

Examples of damage and issues
Leaking valves and/or pipes

Leaking valves and/or pipes – leaks can occur from weather damage, damage from sharp tooling, tree roots and ageing. Leaks from the pipes and valves can be large and very obvious or smaller and not show up immediately requiring some detective work – damaged valves and pipes will need to be replaced or repaired.

Broken or missing sprinkler heads

Lawn mowers, improperly installed head and normal wear and tear can cause broken or missing heads. Replace damaged or missing heads immediately.

Clogged nozzles

Clogged nozzles can occur as a result of debris entering the sprinkler system, a dirty water source, as well as normal wear and tear. Flush the system at the beginning of the season, install screens on sprinkler heads, replace clogged nozzles and improve the system’s filtration.

Seal leaks

Dirt and debris can wear out the wiper seal and result in leaks around the top of the spray heads. If the spray head is a single unit then the entire head will need to be replaced but others offer the possibility to screw the top off and replace just that part.

Sunken heads

Sprinkler system heads can settle over time and debris can also build up around them – this means a head that doesn’t clear the grass properly may have a disrupted spray pattern. Heads can be raised by using taller sprinkler bodies or by installing risers. Cutting turf away from the heads is also a solution but one which will need to be undertaken seasonally or as required.

Tilted heads

Newly installed sprinkler heads can tilt and this can result in uneven water coverage. Move the heads out of the line of equipment or mowers that can cause damage. You can also pack soil around the heads carefully to realign the heads.


Join us next time for part 2 of Harden Park Lawn’s guide to maintaining your sprinkler system.

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