A Guide for Fixing Irrigation Water Pressure Problems

Man checking water pressure for irrigation system

You rely on your irrigation system to have adequate water pressure to keep your lawn green and healthy. If your sprinklers struggle with low water pressure, consider the possible issues covered in this article. 

Sometimes, pressure issues require only minor adjustments to your garden hose or pressure regulator. Other times, however, you might need to get a professional irrigation repair or replace your system entirely. 

Low water pressure results in your lawn not receiving adequate water. Alternatively, excessively high pressure results in sprinklers producing mists or fogs, increasing operating costs and damaging your system. 

In this post, we break down the most common water pressure problems and how you can test for and resolve these irrigation repair issues

Start by Troubleshooting Your Irrigation System With Pressure Tests

Run a few pressure tests first to pinpoint precisely what the problem is. 

The first test you should perform is a static water pressure test. This test measures your water flow when your system is off or not running. Conduct this test in the morning, when the lowest pressure typically occurs. 

You’ll start by using your pressure gauge paired with your hose bib adaptor. Check your water pressure at your hose bib on your backflow device. Test the upstream and downstream sides to see if there are blockages. 

Checking Your Nozzle’s Pressure 

Another test you can conduct is checking your water nozzle’s PSI (pounds per square inch). This process generally includes four main steps: 

  1. Go to the zone you’ll be testing, and locate the last sprinkler head.
  2. Attach a pitot tube to your pressure gauge or attach the pressure indicator to the sprinkler head using an adaptor tee.
  3. Turn on your sprinklers in the zone you are testing.
  4. If your system consists of spray heads, read off the pressure gauge. If your system includes rotary heads, hold your pitot tube inside the water stream for an accurate reading. 

Once you have a PSI measurement for your sprinkler head, you can compare it to manufacturer expectations.

Common Water Pressure Issues

Repairing a leak

Having low water pressure can significantly hamper your irrigation system’s performance. These five significant culprits commonly cause low water pressure: 

1. Main Water or Shut-Off Valve Not Opened All the Way

Simple low-pressure issues result when your shut-off valve is not opened all the way. If you have a sprinkler system that has a shut-off linked with your water supply, check to see if it’s open. You may have recently turned off your main water supply. 

Alternatively, if there was any recent construction work in your neighborhood, the water company may have turned off the water and forgotten to open your valve again. Give them a quick call to determine if a partially closed valve is causing the problem. 

Valves on your backflow preventer device might also be closed. Quickly look for this issue by checking the water pressure in the rest of your home. If your water pressure seems normal elsewhere in the house, your backflow preventer device might be the issue. 

This device consists of both a vertical and horizontal pipe. Most devices will have a valve on each side. To adjust shut-off valves, start with the horizontal pipe before moving to the vertical pipe. 

2. Leaks and Breaks

Your water line may also have a leak or a break. When homeowners put sharp objects such as fences, garden stakes, or dog leashes near their sprinkler systems, they may accidentally cut water lines. 

To check for a water line break or leak, you’ll want to locate any wet spots on your lawn. In the case of a leak, you might see water bubbling up to the surface. You can also check if any of your sprinkler heads aren’t working. 

3. Blocked Water Line

If you determine that the issue exists within your irrigation system but can’t find the problem, you may be dealing with a blockage. Obstruction examples may include: 

  • The roots of trees or shrubs wrapping around your water lines and squeezing them closed. 
  • Weight from heavy vehicles compressing the soil and damaging your water lines. 
  • Tiny cracks that let dirt and roots into your water line, causing a clog. 

You’ll most likely need to replace the damaged section in the first two examples. In the case of tree roots, you may need to reroute the waterline away from the problem. However, you’ll need to flush the entire system to unclog blocked water lines. 

4. Dirty or Clogged Sprinkler Heads

In some cases, dirty sprinkler heads cause low water pressure. If your water pressure is only low at one sprinkler head, this represents the most likely culprit. Clean your sprinkler heads and see if this resolves the issue. 

Overgrown grass wrapping around your sprinkler’s base can also be an issue. Trim as needed and see if that resolves the problem. 

5. Municipal Water Supply Issues

Some low water pressure issues might be out of your hands. Signs that the problem exists with your water company include:

  • Several of your neighbors have been complaining about water pressure.
  • Your water pressure level varies throughout the day.
  • Many new businesses/homes in the area use the same water supply.
  • The weather is very hot and dry, resulting in higher water usage.

You’ll want to contact your water company to see what they can do. The issue might be temporary, or you may need to adjust your system to handle the lower pressure. 

Whether the issue involves your irrigation system or your municipal water supply, the Simmons Landscape & Irrigation Inc. team can help. 

Call Simmons Landscape & Irrigation Inc. Today

Dealing with low water pressure is frustrating. While there are some measures you can take to resolve minor issues, our professional team can expertly resolve all of your water pressure problems. 

We have proudly provided commercial and residential irrigation services to Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan since 1915. Our experienced team ensures your water system functions properly, keeping your lawn healthy. 

To resolve your irrigation water pressure problems, contact Simmons Landscape & Irrigation Inc. today. Contact us today to schedule your on-site consultation!