Why won’t your sprinkler system turn on? It’s a frustrating problem to find that your automatic sprinkler system didn’t water your grass in the morning, when it’s supposed to. Or, if you have a manual sprinkler system, perhaps the system isn’t responding when you turn it on.

Your Sprinklers Have Power Issues

If you have an automatic sprinkler system, the first thing you should do is check the control panel. The most likely problem, if your sprinkler system has been running well until now, is that a power outage reset the control and your sprinkler system needs to be re-programmed.

Before you re-program it, you may want to consult with your irrigation techniques to make sure you’re inputting the right schedule. Many factors, like slope, light and type of plants, determine when your system should come on and how how long it should run.

If you’ve recently made changes to the program, that could be the problem too. It’s simple to input the wrong time, date, or other factor, which may result in the system not turning on at all, or just not when you want it to. Your irrigation technician can help you reprogram your sprinkler control system.

Your Sprinklers Have Water Supply Issues

Water supply problems may also keep an automatic or manual sprinkler system from turning on. If you notice that your sprinkler heads pop up at the right time, or start to spin when you attempt to turn them on, but don’t release water, a water supply problem is the likely cause.

An irrigation specialist will need to look for the following water supply problems:

  • Closed sprinkler valve: One or more valves allow water to enter the supply lines that deliver water to your sprinkler heads. The technician will determine if these valves have been closed accidentally, broken, or are failing to open when prompted by an automatic sprinkler system. Generally, this is the simpler of the three problems to fix.
  • Leak in supply line: Noticing unusual wet spots or hearing rushing water where you don’t normally? The problem could be a leak in the sprinkler supply lines, allowing the water to drain out before it reaches the sprinkler heads. Your technician will need to find and fix the leak.
  • Clog: Your sprinkler heads may be clogged, stopping the flow of water. Your technician may be able to repair the clog, or the whole head may need to replaced.

Your Sprinkler System Has Broken Parts

The other major problem preventing your sprinkler system from turning on may be a broken part. Usually, this is either the control panel for an automatic system, or a sprinkler head.

If the sprinkler heads are broken they will need to be dug out and new ones will need to be installed. You’ll want to have a sprinkler technician confirm this is the problem before you spend money on a brand new head you may not need. You’ll also want their advice about how you can keep your sprinkler heads from breaking—it may be better for you to invest in a new model.

The same goes for a broken control panel. Your irrigation technician can fix or replace it.