Ever watched that familiar pattern of your sprinkler system starting zone by zone, only to notice one zone doesn’t turn on? What’s going on when your sprinkler system will not change zones? There are a few common culprits of this problem, some of which you can fix yourself.

You want to start troubleshooting quickly before the lack of water starts hurting your landscaping. It’s more expensive to replace or reseed sod and other landscaping plants than to perform sprinkler repairs. Plus, if the problem is a leak, it could be driving up your utility bill and costing you a small fortune. So, follow this guide to troubleshoot your system, and call your sprinkler technician to ensure you’ve identified the right problem and fixed it properly.

Valve Problems

If your sprinkler system isn’t working in all zones, chances are the problem is localized to the one or two zones that aren’t working. Each zone has its own valve, so that’s a good place to look. Head out to each valve and see if it is opened fully, broken, rusted, or stuck. Turn valves to the left to open them more. They should have been completely open already. If they are broken or appear damaged, you’ll need to have someone replace them.

Controller and Timer Problems

When multiple sprinkler zones aren’t working, the typical source of the problem is your system’s controller or timer. Many systems come with troubleshooting guides in the manual that can help you discover a problem with the controller. It may also have a self diagnose setting.

If the controller’s self diagnose function doesn’t discover a problem, you can reset or reprogram the sprinkler times to try to fix the problem yourself. There’s always the chance that a child changed the settings. But be sure that you know what the system should be set to before you reset it, as you’ll have to input the schedule from fresh again! Also, be sure you watch your system the next time it is scheduled to go on to make sure the controller was actually the problem.

Leaks or Clogs

When only one zone of your system is working, typically a leak or clog early on in the system is to blame. Unfortunately, there are few ways for homeowners to detect and find leaks and clogs. Plus, as a leak could be significantly increasing your water bill, it’s best to get a professional involved right away.

Other causes of this problem are a bit dangerous or complicated to try to tackle on your own. The solenoid, fuse, transformer, and electrical wiring may also be at fault if one or more sprinkler zone isn’t working. Fiddling with these parts can get you electrocuted, so it’s best to leave that work to a professional.

It’s also wise to reach out to your sprinkler technician even if you found the problem, as they can help you determine if your problem is covered by your warranty, or if there’s anything you can do to prevent the problem from happening again in the future.