Investigating And Unclogging Lawn Sprinkler Heads

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If you are getting your yard ready for the spring and summer weather, then you may be preparing your lawn sprinkler system to keep your grass watered and looking green and fresh. If you have used your underground sprinkler system for a few years already, then you may notice a few common issues as the system ages. The clogging of the sprinkler heads is one thing you may notice, so keep reading to learn how you can best address this problem.

Look For Signs Of Clogging

Automatic, underground sprinkler lines have a wide variety of parts and pieces. These include the PVC pipes, compression tees, adapters, threaded elbows, shutoff valves, risers, and the sprinkler heads. Many of these parts and pieces can leak and form a hole. While many sprinkler control systems will have leak detection to locate and alert you to a leak, some do not. If your system is an older one that has automation, but not more sophisticated controls, then you may have a leak issue instead of a sprinkler clogging one.

There are some fairly telltale signs of a leak and also some ones that indicate that a clog is present. If there is a leak in the system, then water pressure will be poor throughout the sprinkler heads or along one certain area of the system. In other words, many heads along a path will be affected until the end of the run. Soggy areas of the property as well as visible puddles across your lawn are also signs of a leak. You may also see bare spots where animals have been digging in the grass and have inadvertently punctured the underground water line. 

If you do not see these telltale signs of a leak, then look for some signs that one or several sprinkler heads are clogged. If water trickles out of one or several heads or if water is strong on one side of the head and weak on another side, then this is an indication of a clog. Water sprays may be inconsistent or interrupted as well. You might see only one sprinkler head that is not working along a path, but surrounded by heads that do work normally.

How To Unclog The Heads

Investigate all of the sprinkler heads across the entire system while it is on so you can identify the heads that are not working properly. Mark each poorly working head with a piece of tape or chalk. Locate the cold water supply line that feeds the system and turn the knob to the off position. Afterwards, drain the water from the system using the water release or the drainage spigot attached to the system. If you do not have this sort of thing, then you may need to manually turn the system on for several minutes to release the water from the sprinkler supply lines. 

Once the water has been drained, gently pull up each head that you marked as clogged. Twist off the heads and collect them in a bucket. Fill the bucket with water and add about one cup of white vinegar. Allow the sprinkler heads to soak overnight and then rinse each one off. Once the heads have been thoroughly rinsed, inspect them to locate the water spray openings. Use a thin wire or a paperclip and insert it into the openings of each spray head. Rinse the heads once again and then twist them back on the sprinklers. Test the system to see if the heads release water normally again.

If the sprinkler heads are not working, then you may need to replace them. You can also speak with your plumber about investigating possible leaks within the water supply lines if you cannot get the system to work properly to learn more.

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5 June 2017

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