Why Is My Sprinkler Head Not Popping Up?

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Sprinkler head not popping up

A sprinkler system is a great way to ensure that your lawn gets the water it needs to look lush and green. Yet, at some point, you may find that one or more of your sprinkler heads are not popping up. A sprinkler head lasts an average of 8 to 15 years, but external factors such as debris and wear buildup may lead to the need for earlier sprinkler repairs.

If your sprinkler head fails to deploy, it’s essential to determine the root cause of the issue. There are several reasons why sprinkler heads do not pop up when they should. Some of them are easy to fix, while others are more involved and may require the assistance of a sprinkler repair professional.

Here are five common reasons why sprinkler heads fail to pop up and ways to fix the problem.

1. Damaged Spray Heads

Hunter sprinkler head

Source: hunter irrigation sprinkler systems

Over time, sprinkler heads can become damaged or break. Perhaps you accidentally ran over a sprinkler head with your lawnmower, or maybe it was struck by a rock or piece of debris. Whatever the cause, sprinkler heads that are broken or damaged will likely not deploy when the sprinkler system turns on.

Cracked or broken sprinkler heads generally cannot be repaired and need to be replaced instead. You can replace a spray head by pulling up the riser, unscrewing the old nozzle, and replacing it with a new one.

2. Misaligned Sprinkler Heads

Misaligned crooked sprinkler head

Sprinkler heads that are misaligned may also fail to pop up when they should. Misalignments often occur when sprinkler systems have experienced some settling or weather damage over time. When sprinkler heads are misaligned, they may appear to be retracted but actually remain under the soil.

To correct this, you’ll need to dig around the head and straighten it to make it perfectly perpendicular to the sprinkler line. Then, after you’ve repositioned it, add some extra soil around the sprinkler head, so it isn’t at risk of getting bumped out of place again.

3. Clogged Nozzles

Clogged sprinkler nozzle

Dirt, insects, twigs, and other debris can get into sprinkler heads and cause them to become clogged. Nozzles are designed to spin when water flows through them, but the sprinkler head will not rotate if they are obstructed. This means it will remain in its retracted position.

To unclog sprinkler nozzles, you’ll need to remove the sprinkler head and clean out the debris. You can do this by inserting a pin or needle through the sprinkler head to loosen the blockage. Once you remove the obstruction, reinstall sprinkler heads in their original positions and check to make sure they pop up when the sprinkler system turns on.

4. Inadequate Water Pressure

Inadequate water pressure

Inadequate sprinkler system water pressure is another common reason sprinkler heads fail to pop up. Even if sprinklers have been properly installed, they may not inflate appropriately if the flow or pressure of water through your sprinkler system is too low. When this occurs, sprinklers may retract back into the soil after a few seconds when the sprinkler system shuts off.

To fix this, you’ll need to determine the cause of low sprinkler water pressure. For example, the sprinkler line may be clogged, or there may be kinks in your sprinkler system, causing the sprinklers to lose water pressure. An irrigation professional can check your system and make necessary sprinkler repairs to improve water pressure.

5. Broken Valve

Broken sprinkler valve

If sprinkler heads in one or more zones do not pop up when the sprinkler system turns on, it could be because of a faulty sprinkler valve.

A sprinkler valve is what controls water flow to each sprinkler head and is located under a metal or plastic cap near the sprinklers themselves. If the sprinkler valve has become damaged, it may not permit water to flow freely when the sprinkler system is activated.

To correct this, you’ll need to turn the sprinkler system off and then remove the sprinkler valve’s cap. After that, you can see what’s wrong with it by looking inside. If water is flowing freely through the sprinkler valve, it may simply need some cleaning or replacing internal parts to get it working correctly again.

A sprinkler irrigation repair specialist should be able to diagnose this problem and make necessary sprinkler valve repairs quickly.

Contact Environmental Designers Irrigation for Your Sprinkler Repair Needs

If sprinkler heads in one or more zones fail to pop up when your system turns on, Environmental Designers Irrigation is ready to help. We are committed to restoring your sprinkler system performance quickly and affordably. Our team of sprinkler repair specialists also has the skills and knowledge to help with controller repairs, broken lines, leaks, and other sprinkler system problems.

Please contact us online or give us a call at 732-363-2775 if you have any questions.


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Guy Virone

Guy Virone leads a team of top-rated irrigations experts specializing in water management services, water-saving technologies, revamping antiquated systems, auditing, maintenance service, and installation.

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