Among homeowners in the United States, 52% have installed irrigation systems for their lawn and landscape use. However, a smaller portion of homeowners, only 32%, choose to service the systems annually, while a larger percentage of 37% prefer to repair them solely when an issue arises.

Perhaps many find themselves in a difficult position where finding irrigation repair solutions is quite a challenge, especially for high-end breakages.

In addition to finding the best irrigation repair services, you can also overcome this challenge by taking the DIY approach, where you get to repair your irrigation system. We look at this in this article, plus much more including  the cost of repair and how to find a residential irrigation repair service provider near you.

Common irrigation repair services

Pressurized sprinkler systems (surface drip, micro sprinkler, center pivot and slide roll)  account for 58-65% of irrigation systems in the United States. Any of these systems can break at any time and necessitate a repair.

The most common damages from irrigation system failure are broken pipes, clogging and leaking.

But how do you notice a broken irrigation system? While dry surface patches may indicate a broken sprinkler head, a flooded surface may indicate a leaking pipe.

Here are the regular checks for your irrigation system and possible causes:

  • Missing nozzles– over time, nozzles can detach or be knocked off during lawn work.
  • Leaking sprinklers/valves- Automobiles and yard activities such as mowing can run over a sprinkler/valve, causing leakages.
  • Pipe leaks-Pipes run over by heavy machines during yard work may be damaged and result in water leaks.
  • Clogged nozzles- Your nozzle may fail to let out water due to clumping of watered soil or dirt and debris piling in your nozzle.
  • Sidewalk, street or wall overspray-A tilted sprinkler head can direct water to the walls instead of the intended area.

Irrigation system repair cost

Here is a quick guide to estimating your sprinkler repair costs:

  • Labour costs – The labor costs for repairing a broken sprinkler system will depend on the issue’s complexity and your geographical location.  Generally, you should expect to pay  about $40-$100 per hour for professional repair services.
  • Parts and materials – What do you need to replace/repair in your sprinkler system? Buying additional parts and materials such as valves, pipes, or wiring ranges from $60-$100/item.
  • System replacement – If your existing system is too old or damaged beyond repair, it is time to replace it. Replacement is considered high-end and can cost $1,000-$5,000 depending on the size of your yard and the type of system you’ve installed.
  • Maintenance costs – Regular maintenance helps avoid more costly repairs. A basic tune-up should include: checking all valves/lines/wiring connections, flushing out clogs, adjusting water pressure, cleaning filters, calibrating timers etc.

Maintenance costs usually range from $50 to $150 per visit (depending on the number of zones to inspect).

  • DIY repair – You can save money by attempting minor repairs, such as fixing leaky hoses or replacing broken nozzles. Here, you will only incur the cost of the spare parts.

We’ll provide guidance for fixing minor issues in the next section.

Looking for a detailed breakdown of spare part costs and charges by professionals? This sprinkler repair cost guide for 2023 will save you time.

Sprinkler system repair solutions

Understanding common sprinkler repairs can save you time and resources, as there are some repairs you can do yourself. Also, it helps you determine when you need the help of a professional so you can do so in time.

Here are the most common sprinkler repair problems and suggested solutions:

Leaking pipes

Leaky pipes in your irrigation system can lead to water wastage and high water bills. To identify the source of a leak:

  • Check for visible signs like pools of water around valves or wet spots along underground piping.
  • Use an electronic detector to pinpoint exactly where it’s coming from.
  • Once identified, replace any damaged parts, such as fittings or couplings, before re-pressurizing the system.

Additionally, if water freezes inside the tubing, it can expand and burst the pipe walls open, leading to leaks. Ensuring proper winterization can help prevent such problems.

You may want to learn more about winterising your sprinkler system in preparation for the next winter season.

Clogged nozzles

Weak pressure from certain points in your yard could be due to clogged nozzles on your sprinkler’s heads. This issue usually occurs when dirt particles or debris get stuck inside the nozzles, stopping water flow.

To resolve clogged nozzles, use compressed air or a nozzle cleaning tool to remove debris and dust.

Broken sprinklers

Over time, sprinkler components will wear down, which may lead to leaking connections at joints through too-weakened PVC pipe walls caused by UV rays’ exposure (causing brittle plastics).

To resolve this issue, replace any worn-out pieces with new parts.

Valve issues

Valves control how much water flows into each zone. Damage to valves can result from external forces, such as heavy moving machines.

To fix valve problems:

  • Check out for any corroded parts.
  • Check seals around bonnet nuts for tightness/leaks.
  • Replace the entire unit if necessary.

Timers malfunctioning

Timers dictate when irrigation systems turn on/off automatically, failure to which your yard may suffer dryness.

To fix timer malfunctions:

  • Ensure your power source is uninterrupted.
  • Reset the start times, duration and frequency between cycles.

One sprinkler head not working

A sprinkler head can wear out, and you can replace it without needing a professional.

  • Dig out the area around the broken sprinkler head to expose the riser, a couple of feet down.
  • Twist off and discard the existing sprinkler head.
  • Replace with a new one from home improvement stores.
  • Screw on the new head.

Sprinkler head not retracting

When a sprinkler system is activated, its retractable heads are supposed to emerge from the ground and retract back into the ground after watering so that they don’t create an obstacle or trip hazard.

Unfortunately, there are times when this doesn’t happen, and it can be frustrating trying to figure out why.

To resolve the issue:

  • Carefully remove any debris, such as mulch which may be blocking the head from moving
  • Contact a professional for help if removing obstacles doesn’t help

How to repair a hole in an irrigation hose

Repairing a hole in an irrigation hose requires the following tools: A knife/scissors, a piece of rubber tubing, clamps, heat gun.

  • Start by cutting away damaged hose parts with a utility knife or scissors.
  • Place a piece of rubber tubing over the end of the hose, leaving enough room to fit snugly around the area where the hole is located.
  • Secure it with clamps or zip ties so it won’t slip off when applying water pressure.
  • Using a heat gun or blow dryer, melt plastic glue onto both sides of the rubber tubing and press them together firmly until they bond securely.
  • Allow time for it to cool before testing out your repair job.
  • Run water through your irrigation system as part of the testing.

You may need to check out this Youtube tutorial on repairing a hole in an irrigation hose in a minute.

How to repair drip Irrigation tubing

Repairing a drip irrigation tubing depends on the length of the damaged part. Here’s a quick guide to fixing the damaged tube:

Materials required: 

  • Drip irrigation tubing
  • Repair kit (available for purchase at most home improvement stores)
  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Silicone sealant (optional)

Steps to repairing drip irrigation tubing  

  • Locate the damaged section of tubing and cut it out with a utility knife or scissors, leaving enough room on either side of the damage to insert the repair kit fittings.
  • Insert one end of the barbed fitting into the tube, then use a flathead screwdriver to push it in until it is flushed against the outer wall of the tube. Repeat this step with the other end of the barbed fitting.
  • Place one end of a short-length piece into each side of the barbed fitting and secure them together by pushing down firmly on each end until they snap securely using your fingers/flathead screwdriver.
  • Once you have secured the connection, apply silicone sealant around both sides of the connection for extra protection from water pressure and leakage (optional).
  • Allow 24 hours for the sealant to dry before running water through the system.

Want to extend your drip irrigation tubing? You can check out this one-minute perma-loc coupling tutorial for extending drip irrigation tubing.

Did you find what you were looking for? If not, please let us know through the contacts and we’ll be glad to offer more guidance.