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How to Repair Sprinklers

Woodrow Aames | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Lawn sprinklers were first patented by African American inventor Joseph H. Smith on March 22, 1898. At the time, there were no high horsepower riding mowers to clip off sprinkler heads and leave a lake on your lawn. While it's easy to damage sprinklers, it's another thing to repair them.

Experts at Irrigation Guide identify the most-common lawn sprinkler woes as:

  1. Poorly adjusted sprinkler head radius
  2. Busted power controllers (or poor wiring)
  3. Improper run-off
  4. Pipe breaks or bursts
  5. Stuck valves

While you might be able to screw in a replacement sprinkler head after slicing off your original, most other issues will likely require professional help. Digging a trench, re-wiring electrical systems and matching head and pipe sizes across a full system can be troublesome. And professionals often are called in only after do-it-yourselfers make matters worse.

Understanding sprinkler systems

Unless you installed your own system and have a thorough understanding of how it works, you'll probably be way over your head in detecting and repairing problems. Professionals can offer the most economically-prudent way to setting things straight. They look at your water source, electric timers and control systems, proper spray heads for the job (rotary, flood bubblers or stationary), rain sensors and control valves.

It can be a nightmare detecting the source of an underground leak or burst pipe. If your wiring seems right, is the controller to blame? Professionals can cut the time to repair sprinklers and save your lawn from the ravages of summer heat.

How much will it cost to repair sprinklers?

The cost depends on the source of the problems and the time and materials it will take to remedy them. Costs vary by location and company. In the South, for example, Atlanta Sprinkler Repair quotes service fees of $115 for a routine inspection and on-site repair for a simple fix (no new parts or digging). Their other approximate prices (including parts and labor) are:

  1. 6-inch pop-up spray head replacement, $40
  2. 2-inch pvc pipe repair, $115 to $230
  3. Electrical trouble shooting, $115 per hour or to replace a 6-station controller, $250.

Having a trencher called in may run around $250 a day. But imagine trying to dig a trench on your own in the summer heat to find the leak and then install new pipe!

Knowing when to call in a pro can make all the difference between a summer barbecue or a nightmare flood on your lawn.