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Sprinkler System Won’t Turn On: Here’s What to Do!

Sprinkler System Won’t Turn On: Here’s What to Do!

My Sprinkler System Won't Turn On

Your sprinkler system makes your life so much easier. It waters your lawn and plants in a preset schedule, while you go on to do other things. But not anymore! Sadly, your sprinkler system won’t turn on.

So, you start to question: Why won’t my sprinklers turn on? How can I fix my sprinkler valve? How do I set my sprinkler system manually?

Come and join me! Let’s figure out why your sprinkler system might start to let you down.

Why My Sprinkler System Won’t Turn On? How Can I Fix It?

No matter the type of sprinkler irrigation system you may have, all watering systems take a big role when it comes to your landscape’s welfare. That’s why it can be quite dreadful when these stop working.

Here are some common reasons why your sprinkler system won’t turn on:

  1. Lawn sprinkler control timer isn’t working correctly
  2. Clogged or dirty sprinkler heads
  3. Broken sprinkler heads
  4. Broken supply pipe due to lawn mower
  5. Voltage issues
  6. Defective control valve box
  7. Low water pressure/flow of water

Lawn Sprinkler Control Timer Isn’t Working Properly

Sprinkler Timer not Working Properly

There are many reasons why your irrigation system may not turn on automatically. So, if you notice that your watering system is not working when you expect it to, the first thing you need to do is to check the programming.

How Do I Check My Sprinkler’s Programming?

When inspecting your system’s programming, we advise you to check on the following things.

  1. Your controller has the watering Start Time set at a proper timing
  2. The Run Time scheduled in the program
  3. Programming includes the day you’re checking as part of its schedule.

If the controller is missing a starting time, running time, or watering days scheduled, your sprinkler system won’t turn on at all. Take a look at the user’s manual for programming instructions.

Alternatively, many automatic sprinkler timers are battery operated. If your battery-operated sprinkler timer’s display is blank, replace the timer’s batteries.

Clogged or Dirty Sprinkler Heads

We start with the simple things. There are a few components you should check immediately if your automatic irrigation system won’t turn on.

So, the first thing you need to do is a quick inspection of the sprinkler heads. If one, two, or all of the heads don’t turn on, it could mean that they are clogged with dirt and debris.

This happens commonly since sprinkler heads work with water, and they are very close to the ground.

The thin spray opening in a sprinkler head can get blocked easily. Thus, we advise you to inspect those heads that can not water your lawn efficiently.

First, turn on the water supply to identify which sprinkler is causing your sprinkler system to malfunction.

Once you identify the blocked sprinklers, turn off the water supply.

Thankfully, no matter the type of sprinkler head you have, you can read the product’s user manual to have a detailed list of steps on how to remove the head and clean it.

Broken Sprinkler Heads Due to Lawn Mower

Digging Up a Broken Sprinkler Head in a Lawn

If cleaning the sprinklers doesn’t solve the problem, it certainly means that one of your sprinkler heads or rotors is broken.

Broken sprinklers are usually easy to find.

Make Sure to Check for These Sings:

  • The cracked plastic casing.
  • Some of the heads won’t pop up from the ground.
  • The damage is obvious in heads that were completely broken off after getting run over by a car or lawnmower.

Or you didn’t notice any broken parts after you completed cleaning the sprinklers, and you proceeded to install them. But as soon as you turn on the water supply, you notice that some shoot geysers of water into the air while others simply gush water near the ground.

This is important to do because a broken head robs the rest of the irrigation system of the necessary water flow and pressure to function.

The solution: Replace the faulty sprinkler with a new, similar model.

Broken Supply Pipe Due to Tree Roots

Broken Supply Pipe Due to Tree Roots

If your sprinkler heads are okay, then maybe the reason why your sprinkler system won’t turn on comes from a broken supply pipe. These lateral pipes, just like their name states, are the ones that supply the water to your sprinkler.

First, you’ll want to make sure if the supply pipe is open and able to provide enough water to your sprinkler. Do this by turning the solenoid counter-clockwise. If your sprinklers didn’t turn on, then you’ll need to try to open the isolation valve.

If either case didn’t turn your sprinklers on, then you likely have broken pipes. Your supply pipes can break due to ground pressure or tree roots. You can fix this problem by either replacing or rerouting the pipelines. Whichever choice you go for, we suggest you contacting a professional to handle this problem.

Voltage Issues

Next, another common issue you might be encountering with your sprinkler system is voltage issues. When this happens, it’s very common that the problem comes from the faulty sprinklers in certain areas of your yard.

To check if your sprinklers don’t have any voltage issues, use a multimeter to check it. For this process, be sure to also use the user manual to know which is the voltage needed. In case the reading you get with the multimeter isn’t what the manual states, then it’s time to change the sprinkler’s controller.

Defective Control Valve Box

Defective Control Valve Box

A defective valve can cause your sprinkler to stop working suddenly. Just like when checking the voltage, you can use a multimeter to test the valve’s pressure. Keep in mind that you need to get the reading in OHMS, which appears with the omega symbol beside it.

If the reading isn’t what your sprinkler’s usual manual states it to be, then you’ll need to replace the valve’s solenoid. 

Luckily, a solenoid replacement is easy to do. First, you need to make sure that the backflow device isn’t on and attached. Then, disconnect the wires from the control valve box and change the solenoid for the new one. 

Low Water Pressure/Flow of Water

Lastly, if your sprinkler system won’t turn on, then it could be due to low water flow. This problem may happen when your sprinkler’s backflow device isn’t on. Fortunately, this issue is easy to solve. All you need to do is turn on both backflow devices. You can find these devices near the horizontal and vertical pipes.

Now that you know the main culprits behind faulty sprinkler systems, it’s time to take action! Whether it’s a simple DIY repair or you need professional assistance, you shouldn’t be worrying about sprinklers not turning on anymore!



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