How to Diagnose Irrigation Problems

Automatic sprinkler system watering the lawn

Are you tired of dealing with a dysfunctional sprinkler system? Do you wish you knew the secrets to identifying and resolving common irrigation problems?

In this comprehensive blog post, we will provide a detailed guide to help you diagnose and tackle common irrigation repair issues.

By the end of this post, you’ll have the confidence and knowledge to keep your irrigation system running smoothly and efficiently, ensuring a lush lawn and effective lawn maintenance in the Ohio area.

How to Diagnose Irrigation Problems

Time: Allow at least a few hours for a thorough inspection and diagnosis of your irrigation system.

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate. No prior experience is necessary, but basic knowledge of sprinkler systems is helpful.

Cost: Minimal, as most diagnostic steps require only basic tools and materials.



  • Replacement sprinkler heads
  • Replacement valves
  • Pipe sealant
  • Waterproof connectors (for wire connections)

Now that you’ve gathered your tools and materials let’s look at some of the most common irrigation problem symptoms and how to complete each irrigation repair.

Sprinkler Heads Leaking

A close up of a sprinkler head

A common issue with irrigation systems is leaking spray heads. Inspect the area around each head for signs of excessive water or pooling. Leaks can occur due to cracks, worn seals, or loose connections.

To fix a leaking head, first turn off the water supply and then remove the faulty head.

Examine it for damage and either repair or replace it before reinstalling. Regularly checking your sprinkler heads for damage can prevent costly repairs in the long run.

Read this blog post for more details on how to find a leak in your irrigation system.

Sprinkler Heads Missing Irrigation Area

A spray head partially blocked by vegetation

If your sprinkler heads are not covering the intended irrigation area, adjust the spray pattern or replace the nozzle with one that has a larger radius.

Ensure there are no obstructions, such as tall grass or debris, blocking the spray.

Regular lawn maintenance, like trimming grass and removing debris, can help prevent this issue from arising.

Sprinkler Heads Fail To Pop Up

When sprinkler heads fail to pop up, it can be due to dirt or debris obstructing the mechanism or a damaged internal spring.

To fix, remove the head, clean it thoroughly, and replace any damaged components. To prevent this issue from happening in the future, routinely clean your sprinkler heads and make sure there are no obstructions around them.

Check out our blog post on how to fix a sprinkler head if you want a step-by-step guide to follow.

Low Water Pressure From Sprinklers

A close up of gauges showing water pressure

Low water pressure can result from several issues, such as a partially closed valve, a clogged filter, or a leak in the water line.

Inspect the entire system for signs of these problems and correct them as necessary.

Make sure to also examine your backflow device, as it can cause low water pressure if not functioning correctly.

You can consult our guide for fixing irrigation water pressure problems if you need more detailed help.

One Irrigation Zone Is Inactive

If a single zone is inactive, it’s likely due to a faulty sprinkler solenoid, a damaged wire, or a malfunctioning controller.

Check for any visible damage and use a multimeter to test for electrical continuity or low voltage.

Replace any faulty components as needed. Using waterproof connectors for wire connections can help prevent future issues related to moisture and corrosion.

Multiple Irrigation Zones Are Inactive

A sprinkler head exposed in a hole in the ground.

When multiple zones are inactive, the issue might stem from a damaged mainline, a malfunctioning controller, or an electrical problem.

Inspect the mainline for damage and test the controller and electrical connections with a multimeter. Addressing these issues promptly can help you conserve water and maintain a healthy lawn.

Leaking Valves In One Or More Zones

Sprinkler system being repaired with male hands holding new valve replacement part

Leaking valves can lead to reduced water pressure and wasted water, which is not ideal when trying to conserve water.

Inspect the valves for signs of wear or damage, and replace them as necessary.

Make sure to also check the backflow device, as it can be a source of leaks.

Regular inspection of your valves can help prevent costly water waste and keep your lawn looking lush and well-maintained.

Leaking Sprinkler Head Furthest From Zone Valve

Automatic lawn sprinkler watering green grass.

If the sprinkler head furthest from the zone valve is leaking, there may be a problem with the valve itself or a broken pipe.

Inspect and repair or replace the faulty components. It’s essential to address this issue promptly, as it can lead to uneven watering and potentially damage your lawn.

The Pump Is Making A Buzzing Sound

A buzzing sound from the pump can indicate a malfunctioning motor or a loose electrical connection.

Check the motor for signs of wear and ensure all connections are secure.

If necessary, consult the owner’s manual for guidance on motor maintenance or replacement. Routinely monitoring your pump for unusual noises can help you identify and resolve issues early on.

Irrigation Controller Not Working Correctly

A close up of an irrigation controller.

A faulty irrigation controller can cause various problems, from unresponsive zones to erratic watering schedules.

Inspect the controller for damage and ensure it’s properly programmed. If necessary, replace the controller with a new one.

You may also want to check the voltage reading at the controller to ensure it is receiving adequate power.

Staying vigilant about your irrigation controller’s functionality can help maintain a healthy lawn and efficient irrigation system.

FAQs About Irrigation Repair

Now that you’ve read our in-depth guide on diagnosing irrigation problems, you’re well-equipped to tackle any issue that may arise in your sprinkler system.

However, if you have further questions about irrigation repair, Simmons Landscape & Irrigation owner Chris Corney has made a short video with answers to the most frequently asked questions about irrigation repair:

Simmons Landscape & Irrigation Are Your Local Irrigation Experts

If you prefer to have an expert handle your irrigation repair needs in the Toledo area, the team at Simmons Landscape & Irrigation is here to help.

Our knowledgeable technicians can quickly diagnose and resolve any sprinkler system issues, ensuring your lawn stays green and healthy. And if you need a brand-new irrigation system installed, you can learn about our process for creating the perfect irrigation system design for your property here.

Don’t let irrigation problems hold you back; let us handle the repairs so you can focus on enjoying your beautiful outdoor space!

Fill out our contact form today or give us a call to schedule a consultation. With our help, you can maintain a lush and thriving lawn while conserving water and ensuring the long-term functionality of your irrigation system.