An irrigation system is an integral part of any landscaping design. While natural rainwater can help keep plants hydrated, supplemental irrigation is often necessary during periods of drought or high temperatures. By watering your plants efficiently and evenly, a well-functioning irrigation system can help you maintain a healthy landscape all year round.

However, even the best irrigation systems need occasional repairs. Some of the issues you’ll run into with your irrigation system are easy to fix, while others may require the help of a professional.

How can you tell if an irrigation system repair is needed? Here are seven warning signs to watch out for:

1. Uneven Watering

Irrigation systems are designed to distribute water across your yard evenly. So, if you notice that some areas of your lawn are consistently getting more water than others, you may have a faulty system that needs fixing.

For instance, if one area is always soggy while another is bone dry, that’s a clear sign that something is wrong. Uneven watering can cause water waste, uneven growth, and dry grass patches.

Signs of uneven watering often indicate an issue with the valves, clogged sprinkler heads, or broken pipes. If the problem results from a clog, you can usually clear it yourself by removing the sprinkler head and carefully clearing out the debris. However, if the problem is a broken pipe or faulty valve, you’ll likely need to call in a professional to make the necessary irrigation system repair.

2. Change in Water Pressure

A sudden change in water pressure is another common sign that your irrigation system isn’t working as it should. The system won’t distribute water evenly if the pressure is too low. Conversely, the irrigation system may start leaking or even burst if it’s too high.

Check your control valves and regulators to see if they’re the source of the pressure change. If they are, you may be able to fix the problem by adjusting the settings or cleaning the valves.

However, if these areas seem to be working fine, you likely have an issue with the irrigation pipe. These pipes can fall out of place or become clogged over time, affecting the water pressure.

If you’re experiencing a sudden change in water pressure, it’s best to call in a professional. Fixing it yourself could make the situation worse.

3. Faulty Control Valves

The valve is responsible for turning the water supply on and off to the different zones of your irrigation system. If one of the valves isn’t working correctly, it can cause water to flow constantly or not at all. This can lead to overwatering or underwatering, depending on which zones are affected.

Faulty valves are often caused by corrosion or a build-up of minerals. Sometimes, it only takes a good cleaning to get them working properly again. If that isn’t fixing the problem, then you’ll need to have a professional irrigation system repair company diagnose the issue. It could be that the valve needs to be replaced altogether.

4. Sputtering Sprinkler Heads

If you notice that your sprinkler heads are sputtering, it’s a good idea to check them for clogs. When you fail to maintain your irrigation system regularly, debris can easily get caught in the heads and prevent water from flowing out correctly.

You can usually clear a clog by simply removing the sprinkler head and cleaning it out. Yet, if the problem persists, you may have an issue with the pipe or valve.

Pinpointing the sputtering source is crucial to preventing more significant issues down the line.

5. Drips or Leaks

Water dripping from a sprinkler head is never a good sign. It either means that the system is over-watering or there is a leak in the piping. Either way, this leads to significant waste. According to the EPA, an irrigation system that isn’t well maintained can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water annually.

If you’re seeing drips coming from your sprinklers, take a closer look at the surrounding area. See if you can locate the source of the leak. It’s often easy to fix a leaky pipe or valve by tightening screws or replacing a washer.

If the problem is more serious, you may need to call a professional. A leak can do severe damage to your yard and surrounding property.

6. Expensive Water Bills

Sudden spikes in your monthly water bills can signify that something is wrong with your irrigation system. This is especially true if you don’t recall using more water than usual. In this case, there’s a good chance that you have a leak somewhere in your irrigation system.

It’s important to note that not all leaks are visible. For example, there may be a leak in the pipe leading to your irrigation system, causing water to flow even when the sprinklers aren’t turned on.

If you’re experiencing unexplained spikes in your water bill, it’s best to call in an irrigation system repair professional. They will help you locate and fix the issue.

7. Soil Erosion

Finally, if you’re seeing patches of soil erosion around your property, it might mean your irrigation system isn’t working properly. When the sprinklers are on, they’re supposed to distribute water evenly across your yard. This helps prevent water from pooling in certain areas and washing away the topsoil.

If you’re seeing signs of soil erosion, it’s a good idea to have your irrigation system inspected. Chances are, one or more of the components is no longer working as it should. By addressing the issue early on, you can prevent further damage to your property.

Work with the irrigation system specialists at Maxum Irrigation & Plumbing to maintain your sprinklers throughout the year. This reliable company helps commercial and residential clients throughout Waterford and the rest of New London County, CT, maintain beautiful landscapes. They offer 24/7 emergency plumbing and lawn sprinkler services. Call (860) 525-7000 today to schedule a consultation or visit their website for more information.