Sprinkler System Not Turning On – Here’s How to Fix

Sprinkler System Will Not Turn On

There is no doubt in accepting that sprinkler systems are a fantastic way to keep the lawn healthy and fresh. However, when the sprinkler system will not turn on or is not spraying again, you need to consider the issue.

Well, there is one bad and one good news for you related to this. First, go for the bad news. You have to begin to dig ditches to know where the issue is, and you have to replace or patch the pipe if you have a system having underground pipes and one of them gets leaked.

Now it is time to discuss good news. It says that you can fix your sprinkler system on your own if it goes wrong. However, you need first to know why the sprinkler system won’t turn on firstly.

Check out this article to know the major issues behind turning off your sprinkler system and how you can fix them on your own or by taking the assistance of an expert.

The Sprinkler Heads are Dirty

You should first check the system’s sprinkler heads to know why your sprinkler system will not turn on as these heads work on water and remain very near to the soil, so it is commonplace for them to get clogged with debris and dirt.

Fortunately, you will have an informative list of instructions on how you can separate the head of the sprinkler and clean it regardless of the kind of head you have as the maker of it incorporates maintenance details in the item’s user guide.

Broken Parts

Sprinkler System

A broken part can also be a reason why your sprinkler system will not turn on. Mostly, it is either a sprinkler head or the control panel for the automatic framework.

It would help if you thought that sprinkler heads got broken when their cleaning doesn’t perform the technique. To know if your sprinkler head is broken, countless numbers of ways are there to get the response. There are also chances of cracking of the plastic casing.

There is no popping up of the sprinkler heads. When the heads are very high above the ground, and a lawnmower or car runs over them, then the head’s top entirely got broken at sometimes. Sprinkler heads must be dug out, and you must install new ones in the event they got broken.

However, before you invest resources in buying a new head that you may not require, you need to consult a sprinkler expert for confirmation if this is an issue. It would help if you also got some suggestions from an expert regarding how you can prevent the sprinkler heads from breaking – it is also possible to invest in a brand new model. Replace the problematic sprinkler with an identical and new mode.

The same process goes on in the event the control panel got broken. You can replace or fix it with the help of irrigation professional.

Leaking or Damaged Pipes

It is quite shocking to believe that when you try to bury pipes underground and think that they will remain secure, you are wrong. They can still experience damage. It is widespread that the underground pipes will be damaged if a car runs over them or is crushed by the growth of tree roots.

So, you have two ways for this in this scenario. You can begin to dig from the sprinkler head that is working last, or in the event, the pipe is running close to the tree, you can begin to dig straightly close to the tree. It will be smart to avert the pipeline route as away from the roots of the trees as you can in the event pipe has suffered damage because of the tree.

With the assistance of a hacksaw, you must cut the damaged part and replace it. It would help if you did excess of digging as per the lawn’s size. So, there is no damage in calling for some extra assistance.

Backflow Device Valves

The answer to why the sprinkler system will not turn is straightforward in some scenarios. If you are facing low water pressure, then the reason could be the valves that have not been turned on entirely.

You need to find the valves and check that both are turned on. You need to have two valves; one must be situated for the vertical pipes and the other for the horizontal pipes.

Issues of Voltage

Sprinkler System Irrigation

Most lawns have various sprinkler regions, customized as per factors like the yard’s shape, the kind of plants in every region, and many more.

Each region of watering gets power from an electric valve that could lead to sprinkler heads that will not turn on in a particular region.

There is no plugging in of the transformer, or it is also possible that the circuit breaker of the signature panel is not turned on in case of breakdown.

As the zone wires have to get connected to the controller’s terminals, you should also monitor them. For the non-working area, you may require a multimeter for voltage testing.

Every controller must mention in the user guide the needed range of voltage for the machine to work appropriately. You need to change the controller in the event multimeter is providing a number out of the range.

Defective Valve

You will be left with the non-operating sprinklers in the event the valve gets damaged. You must test the resistance OHMS to find out if it is the issue.

You can go for turning on the multimeter to conduct this checking after you switch off the system. The multimeter must give OHMS that is in the range already mentioned in the user guide.

It is highly likely that the solenoid is destroyed if the number is less than the minimum level needed. But what is a solenoid? It is the thing that runs a control valve for a particular area.

It is effortless to replace the solenoid. You must ensure that the backflow device water valves and the controller are not turned on.

It would help if you disconnected the destroyed solenoids of separation and unscrew this after opening the box for the separation control valve.

It is ideally familiar if the water drips from the opening, even if the valves are not turned on, so there is no need to take much stress for this.


On its own, the program will send the signal for opening the valve and operating the sprinklers in the event you possess programmable sprinklers. There are countless numbers of things that can breakdown, however before you get to know the actual issue, it is ideal to ensure that the sprinklers are programmed to operate.

You need to check this thing firstly and, yes, double-check it before you call for assistance. If still, the sprinkler will not turn on after confirming that the programming is doing well, you can shift for troubleshooting of the remaining system.


The smart controllers already have built-in programming and connectivity for different scenarios of weather. And it is quite frequent for sprinkler systems to have a freeze or rain sensor attached straightly to the controller.

If a scenario of the weather is identified, the controller will automatically skip the watering schedule with anyone mentioned above. You can face a breakdown of the controller if the internal connectivity or freeze and rain sensor have some issues.

You should consult an expert to solve this issue as these kinds of problems ultimately can lead to other problems.

Final Words

The issues mentioned above and their fixes are just a few ones that can answer your question on why the sprinkler system will not turn on.

It is much possible that the sprinkler system will not even turn off and then begin to spray unevenly or may lead to puddles that can make your lawn a swimming pool due to excess watering. However, that’s not the issue here.

It is effortless to detect the steps again and know what leads to issues if the sprinkler system was a DIY project.

Suppose you are not an expert or never depended on the handyman skills. In that case, some of the repair mentioned above tips can lead to difficulty, while some of them, like changing and removing defective sprinkler heads for maintenance and cleaning, is quite simple.

It is a great idea to call for expert help to detect and solve the sprinkler system’s problems at hand in the event you find these quite tricky.

Sandy Jensen
Sandy Jensen is the founder of OrganizeWithSandy and Works with Champalimaud Design where she curates and creates fresh ideas for designing and styling your life.

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