Even high-quality sprinkler systems that were perfectly installed can develop problems. They have mechanical parts, and these parts can break down and wear out. What’s more, the rapidly changing weather in the Mid-Michigan area is a factor as well. If you start to notice evidence of any malfunctioning parts or problems, call the sprinkler experts at Spartan Irrigation. We’ve been doing this since 1976, and we’ve seen everything. Here are some of the most common irrigation system issues we see in the Spring each year.

3 Common Sprinkler System Issues

1. Supply line shut off gate or ball valve leakage or failures

Although ball valves are subject to failure, by-and-large, gate valve failure is the most common type of valve failure we observe at the interior shut-off valve location.  Failure of a gate valve can be caused by many things, but Spartan techs see of couple of them frequently. Gate valves can fail at the interior disk location of the valve. Unfortunately, this type of failure is difficult to detect because you can’t see that the disc inside the valve is not completely closing and stopping water flow.  You will think you have tightened the valve tightly, but inside the valve, water is leaking past the interior shut-off disc and slowly seeping out toward the sprinkler system.  Sometimes the failure is in the hand wheel or stem.  When this happens the hand wheel turns freely and will never completely tighten and close off the water flow.  Whichever the cause of the failure, water passing the through the interior valve and out toward the sprinkler system can spell disaster.  If it happens over the winter, in the spring, you may see significant damage to the back flow prevention device and/or associated plumbing. If you suspect your interior gate valve has failed, Spartan urges you of have a licensed plumber replace the interior valve as soon as possible.  

2.  Damaged sprinkler heads

Springtime is the time Spartan finds the most damage to sprinkler heads.  The amount of damaged we see is usually a direct result of how much snow had to be shoveled or plowed over the winter.  It is very common for heads along driveways, sidewalks and parking lots to experience damage or inadvertent removal by snow removal equipment.  Occasionally extremely cold temperatures will freeze the ground around the heads and actually crack the body of the sprinklers.  If sprinkler damage occurs during the watering season, it is most often caused by lawn mowers and edging equipment.  To avoid lawn mower damage, replace any aging sprinklers that don’t retract properly after their run cycles.  If damage by edgers is the problem, have your sprinkler moved back from hardscape edges 4-5 inches. 

3. Freeze Thaw Cycles

In Michigan, the four seasons make our state a lovely place to live, but the continual freeze/thaw cycles can cause regular maintenance issues. Ground heave from the ground freezing can push heads out of the ground and make them susceptible to being hit by lawn care equipment.  The heave can tilt heads side-to-side or front to back.  These misalignments can keep your sprinkler heads from applying water to the proper area or efficiently. The freeze/thaw cycles can also age your sprinkler system components that are all buried in the freezing and thawing soil.  A thorough inspection when activating your sprinkler system in the spring can help identify issues that winter weather may have caused.  Looking for these issues and staying on top of the regular maintenance, can help your sprinkler system run smoothly and efficiently during the watering seasons.  

Contact Us today

You’ll save time, money, and headaches by keeping an eye on your sprinkler system. And with Spartan Irrigation as your partner in maintaining and repairing your sprinkler system, you’ll be in good hands. Spartan Irrigation employs a fully equipped service department offering maintenance and repairs on all types of lawn sprinkler systems. Contact us at (800) 331-1746 to schedule a service call today.