How to Fix a Broken Irrigation System: Sprinkler Head, Valve, or Line

Posted by Joe Mouad on Mar 4, 2024 11:32:00 AM

Something’s not right with your sprinkler system, and this is the last thing you need now, right?

We’ll cross our fingers for you that it’s just a clogged nozzle or a stuck valve — nothing major.

But you might have to get your hands dirty.

How do you fix a broken sprinkler?

Let’s walk through a few common irrigation system problems and how to fix them.

How Do You Know Your Lawn Sprinkler Needs Repair?

There are some pretty obvious signs the your irrigation system is broken:

  • If your sprinkler system isn’t working in one zone, it might be a broken valve or a bad solenoid. If a valve is worn out or damaged in one zone, or a solenoid is bad, that zone won’t turn on.
  • If your irrigation system is leaking water, you might have a cracked line, a worn out valve diaphragm, or a broken irrigation head.
  • If your usually lush, green lawn looks dry, it might be as simple as unclogging a nozzle or adjusting your controller. But your sprinkler heads or pipes may be broken.

What next? Dust off your tool box. Here are 3 parts of your sprinkler system that could be broken, and how to repair them.

1. How to Fix a Broken Sprinkler Head 

This is a pretty common problem — your sprinkler heads go through a lot — and you got lucky with this one. Fixing a broken sprinkler head is easy.

sprinkler head in lawn

Just remove the sprinkler head, and screw on a new one.

Here’s a tip, though: Be sure to replace your sprinkler head with the same type. Take it with you to the store so you have all the specifications, from how many gallons a minute it delivers to the spray pattern and throwing distance.

If you install the wrong kind of head, it can over or under water that section of your lawn or garden. You’ll likely use more water than you need to.

2. How to Fix a Broken Sprinkler Valve

Each valve in your sprinkler is like a faucet, which shuts off and turns on water flow. Like any faucet in your home, sprinkler valves they can leak, and sometimes need to be replaced. 

You might need to replace just the “guts” of the valve, like the diaphragm or the solenoid.

If the sprinkler valve isn’t turning on, it’s likely the solenoid. 

Replacing the solenoid is pretty easy. Home centers and hardware stores carry replacement solenoids. Just bring the old one with you, to make sure you get the right kind. 

It’s held in place by wires, so it’s easy to pop the old one out and install the new one.

If your sprinkler valve isn’t turning off, the diaphragm — basically a rubber gasket — might be damaged.  

If you have a bad diaphragm, it won’t be able to stop all of the water  — that’s why your sprinklers won’t turn off.

You can buy a rebuilding kit that includes a replacement diaphragm.

Don’t forget to test your work before you cover everything back up. 

3. How to Repair a Broken Sprinkler Line

You can fix a sprinkler line break yourself, and we’ll get to that in a minute. 

But consider hiring a professional for this one. You have to be sure that contaminants like dirt don't get into the irrigation line during repairs. That could cause permanent damage. 

irrigation system in lawn in Orlando, FL

Want to take a stab at irrigation line repair?

First, find the leak by looking for escaping water or sprinkler heads with little to no flow.

Then, dig up and expose the broken sprinkler pipe so you can remove it. 

(Here’s a tip: Use a hand trowel to dig, not a shovel. The last thing you want to do is damage the line even more.)

Use a hacksaw to remove the damaged piece of line.

Then use a slip coupling to replace the damaged section. A slip coupling is a flexible plastic pipe that lets you extend it to the length you need.

You’ll need a couple metal band clamps, too, that clamp onto each end of the pipe to prevent any leaks. 

Before you fill the dirt back in, turn your sprinkler system on and let it run for a few minutes to make sure there aren’t any leaks. 

Are You Sure You Want This Hassle?

We’ve laid out the most basic sprinkler repair steps here, and if you have an easy fix, it might do the trick. We know it feels good to tackle a DIY home repair. 

But don’t be surprised, or feel bad, if you realize you’re in over your head. 

How to fix a broken sprinkler valve? Or a busted head? Or a leaky line? First, you have to figure out what’s wrong with your sprinkler system in the first place. 

Any one problem could actually be due to several different issues. We’ve really just scratched the surface here, so to speak. If you’re good at trouble-shooting, you might enjoy this part. If not, have the Advil handy.

Chances are, you won’t have sprinkler replacement parts in your garage. This might take three or four trips to the store. 

You’ll be giving up a good portion of your weekend off to dig around in your lawn and make these repairs. 

If you don’t get it right the first time, and water is spraying out of the leak you thought you just fixed, give us a call. 

We’ll usually be at your house to fix it within 48 hours. 

Wouldn’t you rather be relaxing in your yard than sweating in it?

The Beauty of Regular Irrigation Inspections 

If you set up an irrigation maintenance program to stay ahead of repairs, you might never have to research how to fix a sprinkler system.

irrigation head spraying grass

Schedule regular irrigation inspections and technicians will spot the little issues that can lead to bigger problems later, from cracked lines and leaky valves to clogged nozzles or broken spray heads.

It doesn’t take long for a healthy green lawn or landscape to turn brown and die without enough water.

How to Fix a Broken Lawn Sprinkler System? Call Ground Source in Central Florida

Before you lose sleep over risking your healthy lawn and garden, give us a call.

Trust our skilled technicians to quickly diagnose the problem and get your sprinkler system back up and running.

We’re irrigation experts, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.

Sod, irrigation, landscape design: Let us transform your yard from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you spend every spare minute.

Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.

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Posted by Joe Mouad on Feb 27, 2024 9:00:00 AM

How New Landscaping Projects Can Affect Your Irrigation System

Your trusty irrigation system is hanging out, doing its thing, keeping your lawn green and your flowers healthy.

Then, one day, a truck full of concrete pavers shows up. A skid steer starts zooming around. There’s talk of new sod.

What the heck? Your irrigation system is understandably anxious. What about all its lines tenderly tucked underground? What about all its reliable sprinkler heads?

A new landscaping project is exciting — to you. But will there be lawn irrigation damage your sprinkler system should stress out about?