Sprinkler System Repair: DIY vs. Hiring an Irrigation Service

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Irrigation sprinkler watering grass plug and socket

A sound irrigation system is undoubtedly a significant investment for a home or business. Installing a top-quality system in a large yard can cost you a pretty penny. But to extend your sprinklers’ life and use, you must fix any issues as quickly as possible. Mechanical malfunctions or broken pieces can cause significant damage and waste resources. But when it comes to sprinkler system repairs, many people often wonder: Is this something I can handle myself?

While there are plenty of home projects you can easily DIY to save yourself some money, lawn irrigation repairs can be complicated to handle on your own. Sprinkler systems are remarkably complex, mostly if it has automated timers or zoning setups. If you have upgraded to a smart irrigation system, repairs will likely be even more technical and complicated.

When Is It Time to Repair a Sprinkler System?

You need to be able to spot when it’s time for a repair in the first place. Here are some signs that something is wrong with your irrigation system:

  • Dry spots in your lawn that are in the path of sprinkler heads
  • Zones that are not turning on
  • Irregular schedules (not starting on time, stopping, or sporadically spraying throughout the day)
  • Equipment that is outdated (typically over ten years old)
  • Water bubbling or collecting around sprinkler heads

Now, there are some small fixes that you can handle on your own – if you know what to look for. Sometimes, these issues can be caused by a sprinkler head blockage via dirt or grass, resulting in irregular spray patterns or clogged valves. You can carefully clean these out on your own by clearing out the debris around the sprinkler heads.

If your timer system seems to be malfunctioning, an occasional hard reset can do the trick. You can also try disconnecting the power source and reconnecting it to see if that fixes the issue.

But apart from these simple fixes, the majority of sprinkler systems repairs are best left to the professionals – as there is a lot that can go wrong. Trying to handle major repair projects on your own will ultimately cost you way more than hiring an irrigation service to do the job in the first place.

Here are just a few reasons why you should hire an irrigation service even if you need a seemingly simple repair.

Replacing a System Is Expensive

If you attempt to DIY repairs on your own and mess up the wiring or break a pipe, you could face some expensive consequences. The average cost of a sprinkler system repair from a professional service will be a couple of hundred dollars. But the cost to repair burst pipes can be $500 or more!

worker replacing an irrigation system in front of a commercial building

A lot can go wrong if you try to fix common sprinkler issues, such as replacing broken sprayer heads, faulty valves, or a damaged backflow preventer. Additionally, you will need specialized equipment to attempt these repairs.

For instance, irrigation specialists typically use an industrial air compressor to clean out the pipes and check for leaks or damage. However, if you use too much pressure or misconnect it, you can easily burst a pipe.

So, not only will re-installment or broken pipe repairs cost you a pretty penny, but you will likely have related costs. A busted pipe will cause flooding, meaning you’ll have to repair any water damage to your home and lawn.

Ultimately, working with the wrong tools or attempting to fix things on your own will more than likely result in even more significant problems. In the long run, it is far better to pay the sprinkler system repair fee to a professional than risk having to pay way more after a botched DIY project.

Irrigation Experts Go Through a Lot of Training

Technicians receive a lot of specialized training to work for an irrigation service company. Sprinkler system repair professionals must obtain specific licensing to practice. First, they must complete courses for civil engineering, water distribution, and electrical training. Many irrigation technicians have an associate’s degree in landscape maintenance. They must also pass a certification test to work in individual states.

Unless you meet these qualifications on your own, you could put yourself in danger and potentially damage your system further by trying to repair it on your own.

It is also essential that you hire an irrigation repair company to trust to get the job done right the first time.

Ensure they are insured and bonded so that any damages from the company are covered and you aren’t left with the bill. Do your research to see what their online reviews look like and check their rating on the Better Business Bureau.

When looking for a technician to handle your sprinkler system repair, be sure to ask them questions to get a feel for their experience and trustworthiness. Some right questions to ask are:

  • How many years of experience do you have with sprinklers and irrigation services?
  • Have you handled a project of a similar size or scale in the past?
  • What are your charges per hour, and how long will the repair take?
  • Can you make any system improvements during these repairs?

You should be able to get an estimate before they begin any repair project, too.

At Environmental Designers, we offer free estimates for all projects and give you a timeline of how long all repairs will take to complete. We have been in the irrigation system business for over 30 years and have both state and national accreditations. You can rest assured that our work will meet your expectations!

Routine Maintenance Is Worth It in the Long Run

The best way to avoid expensive sprinkler system repairs in the first place is to keep up with scheduled maintenance and system check-ups throughout the year. Essentially, you need to treat your lawn irrigation system the same way you would treat a new vehicle. You know that your car will last a lot longer if you keep up with scheduled oil changes, tire rotations, and tune-ups. Regular annual inspections for your sprinkler system can ensure that it lasts for years and years, mostly if you can fix small issues before they become bigger ones.

Sprinkler Irrigation System

It is best to schedule a full inspection every year, especially if you run your sprinklers continuously. These inspections will check for any small cracks, leaks, or signs of wear throughout the system. For instance, if a pipe has a small crack but not a full break, the section can be replaced with a slip coupling. This will cost far less than replacing an entire pipe if it breaks and bursts!

Technicians may be able to upgrade certain parts to improve the system’s overall efficiency. Some of the latest sprinkler heads and timer controller systems use less energy and water without sacrificing efficiency. Replacing these parts can save you a lot on your monthly energy and water bills!

If you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing during the winter, you also need to schedule a professional to winterize your irrigation system. Any water left in the pipes can freeze and expand, bursting the pipes and cause a great deal of damage to the system. During winterization, irrigation specialists will dry out all of the pipes and seal off the valves to prevent any ice or snow from entering the system.

Conclusion

Keeping your lawn beautiful, healthy, and green throughout the year is no easy task. Landscaping is an art, and it takes careful planning, time, and care. One of the key elements to maintaining a luscious lawn is investing in an irrigation system and ensuring all issues are repaired quickly.

Although doing these on your own can be tempting, it is far better to let the professionals handle your sprinkler system repairs. After 30 years in the business, we have seen our fair share of want-to-be handymen attempt to save themselves a few bucks by fixing their sprinklers on their own. In the end, they all agreed they should have called us first!

Here at Environmental Designers Irrigation, our goal is to provide customers with reliable, smart, and efficient service for all of their irrigation system needs. We’ll help you every step of the way, from initial system design, installation, seasonal maintenance, system upgrades, and more!

We also offer irrigation auditing services to determine your current system’s efficiency and operational quality to help you avoid any disasters down the road.

If you need sprinkler system repairs, are ready to schedule a seasonal check-up, or want to learn more about the latest technology in irrigation systems, get in touch with our team.

Our friendly, knowledgeable technicians can answer any questions and set you up with a free consultation.

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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.