If you have a lawn sprinkler and irrigation system on your property, it’s important to conduct regular inspections at least once a year. Discovering issues with your system early on will reduce water waste, saving you money while helping to ensure your home is surrounded by a lush, healthy landscape.
While more involved repairs should be left to a professional, checking your lawn sprinkler system for top-level issues is something you can easily do yourself. Whether you live in warmer climates where the system runs year-round or colder states where the system is disabled during the winter months, keeping tabs on your irrigation system’s performance is one of the best ways to ensure it lasts.
Sprinkler systems have a life expectancy of up to 20 years, but only if properly taken care of.
Check your water meter to determine if there are any leaks.
Whether your sprinkler system is tied to your home’s water main or operates on its own line, the water meter can tell you a lot about the state of your system. Start by disabling the system, turning off all water sources that feed it. If your irrigation system shares water with the rest of your house, make sure all water sources inside your home are shut off as well.
Next, you’ll want to record the meter reading. Come back about half an hour later to check and see if anything’s changed. If the numbers don’t match, there may be a leak. For some homeowners, the water meter will have a small indicator on the face designed specifically to detect leaks. If all your water is completely off and you’re still seeing movement with this indicator, you may have a leak somewhere along the line.
Inspect all valves, pipes, connection points, and sprinkler heads.
When inspecting valves, pipes, connection points, and sprinkler heads, look for things that affect the uniformity of the spray pattern or anything that is wasting water. Your system should be distributing water evenly across your lawn – not over hard surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and patios. Tilted sprinkler heads can lead to significant water waste, so you’ll want to be sure they’re corrected.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for blatant leaks, obstructions, and standing water. Standing water is often an indicator of more serious problems. If you see standing water around a sprinkler head, you may be dealing with an issue such as a cracked riser or a weeping valve.
Lawn sprinkler system inspection checklist.
Use this checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything when inspecting your lawn sprinkler system. If you’re not sure what to look for, it may be worth calling in a local expert for a more in-depth inspection.
- Broken, clogged, or missing sprinkler heads
- Sunken heads that have dipped below ground
- High vegetation
- Heads that are slanted and not vertical
- High or low pressure
- Broken pipes or fittings