Do I Need a Sprinkler System Repair or Replacement

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Man digging trench to replace sewer line pipes and lawn sprinkler system

Having an irrigation system is key for keeping a beautiful, healthy lawn. But if any piece of your sprinkler system is out of whack, it could cause major issues from flooding to underwatering. This could ruin the landscape that you worked so hard to grow!

But how do you know if you need just a sprinkler system repair or a replacement?

A sprinkler system is made up of numerous parts, including:

  • Timer
  • Controller system
  • Pipes and tubing
  • Valves
  • Sprinkler head
  • Backflow preventers

If any of these parts are broken or damaged, it could cause the entire system to fail. Just because your sprinkler system is not working correctly does not automatically mean that you need to fully remove and replace it.

Here are some signs that can help you determine whether a sprinkler system repair is needed – or if it is time for an upgraded replacement.

Common Sprinkler System Repair Issues

Misaligned crooked sprinkler head

First, let’s go over the most common sprinkler system repair problems that customers run into. Over time, parts of the system may wear down or stop working correctly. More often than not, these are a simple fix – as long as you know how to spot the issue.

Sunken Head

One of the most common sprinkler system problems is a low or sunken head. The sprinkler head may start to sink into the soft ground or can get tilted from being stepped on or hit by a lawnmower. This will cause the sprinkler to spray water at odd angles or become blocked.

Control Valves

Another common sprinkler system repair issue is leaky control valves. This could cause water to leak out from the sprinkler heads constantly, even when the system is supposed to be turned off. It may also decrease the water pressure of the entire irrigation system.


If you notice any water pressure changes or changes in the spray pattern of your irrigation system, this could be caused by a clogged sprinkler head or blockage within the pipes. Sometimes, mud or grass clumps block the water flow, causing the entire sprinkler system to act up. Thankfully, this is usually a quick and easy fix.

Common Problems That Require Sprinkler System Replacement

Image of a hunter sprinkler system

There are several warning signs that could point to issues requiring a full irrigation system replacement.

Utility Spike

First, if there are any unexpected increases in your water bill, it may be caused by efficiency issues with your system. The average sprinkler system uses about 12,000 gallons of water per month if it runs 3 times a week. If this usage suddenly increases, this is a warning sign that something is wrong with the irrigation system.

Recurring Issues

Second, if you are requiring frequent repairs to your sprinklers beyond just routine maintenance or part repairs, then it may be time to replace your system. The piping may not be installed correctly or changes to your landscape could have affected the layout. For instance, tree roots could grow and block or shift underground pipes, causing problems with the sprinkler system.

Poor Coverage

Finally, uneven coverage to your lawn can be a sign you may need a sprinkler system upgrade. If you notice that some spots are dry while others are getting ample water, the layout of your system needs to be re-evaluated.

How Old Is Your Sprinkler System?

Generally, a sprinkler system should last for 10 to 15 years if it is properly maintained. Top-quality irrigation systems can even last for 20 years without needing replacements.

So, if your sprinkler system was installed just a few years ago, it likely just needs repairs. Contact the installer if you are running into any major problems or repeated issues. In some cases, these parts may be covered under the warranty.

Worker repairing sprinkler system

If your system is nearing 15 or 20 years old, it could be time for a replacement and an upgrade. Newer sprinkler systems are designed to optimize water usage to lower consumption and costs. Additionally, newer sprinkler systems come with some pretty useful features, such as timers and even smart irrigation system controls.

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.

7 Signs You Need a Sprinkler System Repair

An irrigation system is an integral part of any landscaping design. While natural rainwater can help keep plants hydrated, supplemental irrigation is often necessary during periods of drought or high temperatures. By watering your plants efficiently and evenly, a well-functioning irrigation system can help you maintain a healthy landscape all year round.

However, even the best irrigation systems need occasional repairs. Some of the issues you’ll run into with your irrigation system are easy to fix, while others may require the help of a professional.

How can you tell if an irrigation system repair is needed? Here are seven warning signs to watch out for:

1. Uneven Watering

Uneven watering irrigation

Irrigation systems are designed to distribute water across your yard evenly. So, if you notice that some areas of your lawn are consistently getting more water than others, you may have a faulty system that needs fixing.

For instance, if one area is always soggy while another is bone dry, that’s a clear sign that something is wrong. Uneven watering can cause water waste, uneven growth, and dry grass patches.

Signs of uneven watering often indicate an issue with the valves, clogged sprinkler heads, or broken pipes. If the problem results from a clog, you can usually clear it yourself by removing the sprinkler head and carefully clearing out the debris. However, if the problem is a broken pipe or faulty valve, you’ll likely need to call in a professional to make the necessary irrigation system repair.

2. Change in Water Pressure

A sudden change in water pressure is another common sign that your irrigation system isn’t working as it should. The system won’t distribute water evenly if the pressure is too low. Conversely, the irrigation system may start leaking or even burst if it’s too high.

Check your control valves and regulators to see if they’re the source of the pressure change. If they are, you may be able to fix the problem by adjusting the settings or cleaning the valves.

However, if these areas seem to be working fine, you likely have an issue with the irrigation pipe. These pipes can fall out of place or become clogged over time, affecting the water pressure.

If you’re experiencing a sudden change in water pressure, it’s best to call in a professional. Fixing it yourself could make the situation worse.

3. Faulty Control Valves

Faulty irrigation system control valve

The valve is responsible for turning the water supply on and off to the different zones of your irrigation system. If one of the valves isn’t working correctly, it can cause water to flow constantly or not at all. This can lead to overwatering or underwatering, depending on which zones are affected.

Faulty valves are often caused by corrosion or a build-up of minerals. Sometimes, it only takes a good cleaning to get them working properly again. If that isn’t fixing the problem, then you’ll need to have a professional irrigation system repair company diagnose the issue. It could be that the valve needs to be replaced altogether.

4. Sputtering Sprinkler Heads

If you notice that your sprinkler heads are sputtering, it’s a good idea to check them for clogs. When you fail to maintain your irrigation system regularly, debris can easily get caught in the heads and prevent water from flowing out correctly.

You can usually clear a clog by simply removing the sprinkler head and cleaning it out. Yet, if the problem persists, you may have an issue with the pipe or valve.

Pinpointing the sputtering source is crucial to preventing more significant issues down the line.

5. Drips or Leaks

Puddle poorly managed irrigation system

Water dripping from a sprinkler head is never a good sign. It either means that the system is over-watering or there is a leak in the piping. Either way, this leads to significant waste. According to the EPA, an irrigation system that isn’t well maintained can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water annually.

If you’re seeing drips coming from your sprinklers, take a closer look at the surrounding area. See if you can locate the source of the leak. It’s often easy to fix a leaky pipe or valve by tightening screws or replacing a washer.

If the problem is more serious, you may need to call a professional. A leak can do severe damage to your yard and surrounding property.

6. Expensive Water Bills

Sudden spikes in your monthly water bills can signify that something is wrong with your irrigation system. This is especially true if you don’t recall using more water than usual. In this case, there’s a good chance that you have a leak somewhere in your irrigation system.

It’s important to note that not all leaks are visible. For example, there may be a leak in the pipe leading to your irrigation system, causing water to flow even when the sprinklers aren’t turned on.

If you’re experiencing unexplained spikes in your water bill, it’s best to call in an irrigation system repair professional. They will help you locate and fix the issue.

7. Soil Erosion

Soil erosion irrigation system repair

Finally, if you’re seeing patches of soil erosion around your property, it might mean your irrigation system isn’t working properly. When the sprinklers are on, they’re supposed to distribute water evenly across your yard. This helps prevent water from pooling in certain areas and washing away the topsoil.

If you’re seeing signs of soil erosion, it’s a good idea to have your irrigation system inspected. Chances are, one or more of the components is no longer working as it should. By addressing the issue early on, you can prevent further damage to your property.

Have You Kept up With Routine Maintenance for Your Sprinkler System?

Sprinkler irrigation system

Keeping up with routine maintenance requirements can extend the life of your sprinkler system considerably. It is highly recommended that you hire a service to winterize your irrigation system every year to protect sprinkler heads and pipes from freezing and bursting.

You should also have a routine cleaning and inspection every few years from a professional service. They will check for any damaged or worn-out parts. It is best to schedule this type of inspection before the spring or summer begins. This is to ensure that your sprinkler system is ready to go.

If you have not had your irrigation system routinely inspected, cleaned, or winterized, schedule this right away. This can help to catch any small issues with your sprinklers before they become major ones – and it could help you avoid a full sprinkler system replacement.

DIY vs. Hiring an Irrigation Service

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.

Hire the Right Sprinkler System Repair and Replacement Company

Whether you need just a small part replacement or a full system upgrade, you should hire a professional service to do it. It is not recommended to attempt any repairs on your own. It’s easy to break sprinkler parts or even burst pipes if you do not have the proper training.

Sprinkler heads in a garden in the backyard of a house

Instead, go with a sprinkler system repair company you can trust to handle any maintenance, patch-ups, or replacements as needed. It is best to only work with businesses that offer warranties on any work they do, from a small repair to a full system upgrade.

You should also ask if they provide free consultations or estimates so you know what to expect.

Lastly, ask the repair company about the brands and suppliers they use for parts. Cheap parts will wear down fast and lead to ongoing repairs and replacements. It’s much better to install top-quality parts from trusted suppliers like:

  • Rain Bird
  • Orbit
  • Toro
  • Hydro Rain
  • Woodford
  • Hunter
  • JAIN
  • Weathermatic

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!

In Conclusion

Dealing with sprinkler system repair issues or replacements doesn’t need to be a frustrating experience. The key to keeping your sprinkler system running is by fixing issues as soon as they arise and staying on top of routine maintenance in-between.

If you have any further questions about irrigation system installment, repairs, or upgraded replacements, please contact us at Environmental Designers Irrigation.

Our team of professionals will assist you over the phone and schedule a free sprinkler system estimate based on your situation. Get a quick quote today!

Published on: Dec 21, 2021

Updated on: Oct 10, 2022

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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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