Why Do My Sprinkler Heads Stay Up?

June 5, 2018

Maintaining a lush, green lawn is hard work. Fertilizing, killing weeds, mowing and landscaping all take time and money to accomplish. One of the most difficult parts of lawn maintenance is ensuring that your lawn receives the perfect amount of water.

Many homeowners depend on an irrigation system to keep their yard looking postcard-worthy. Over time, maintaining a sprinkler system can turn into more of a chore than mowing the lawn. A typical problem homeowners experience is that sprinkler heads get stuck in the raised position after they’ve finished watering the lawn.

The fix can be as simple as rinsing off the nozzle or as complicated as replacing multiple sprinkler heads. If you have a stubborn sprinkler head that refuses to retract back into the body, the following steps can help you diagnose the problem.

Check to see if there’s debris in the sprinkler head.

One of the most common issues that homeowners experience is when an object slides between the sprinkler riser and the sprinkler body. Depending on where you live, the condition of your yard and where your sprinklers are installed, there are a number of objects that are small enough to slide between the moving parts of the sprinkler. Any debris can prevent the riser from sliding back down into the sprinkler body. Some common types of debris include:

  • grass
  • soil
  • rocks
  • leaves
  • seeds
  • tree needles

Luckily, this is an easy fix for most homeowners. Simply remove the debris with a brush, air or water and make sure the sprinkler head retracts.

If your sprinkler collects debris repeatedly, there may be an issue with the sprinkler’s placement一the head could be placed too low, so water from the sprinkler carries debris back into the sprinkler body while the system is running.

2. Inspect the sprinkler for damage.

Even with today’s advancements in sprinkler technology and materials, an exposed sprinkler head is an easy target for backyard accidents. Most commonly, accidents happen if the riser and nozzle are already stuck in the raised position. Children can kick a ball into it. Lawnmowers can run it over. Pets can chew on it. You can trip over it playing badminton during your next backyard barbecue. There are nearly endless opportunities for your sprinkler heads to get damaged accidentally.

If your sprinkler head is stuck in the raised position, check the following parts for damage:

  • Riser. If the riser is cracked, chipped or warped, it won’t be able to slide back into the sprinkler body.
  • Seal. The seal could be cracked, worn, or bent, preventing the riser from dropping back into place.
  • Cap. Did the soil level build up over the cap?
  • Spring. Is the spring exposed, or does it feel loose?

3. Consider the age of your sprinkler system.

Remember that as an exposed outdoor system, your sprinklers take a beating from Mother Nature. Sun, snow, wind, drought, heat and cold are all harsh on your irrigation system.

As your sprinklers age, certain parts can wear down and stop functioning properly. Depending on the age of the system, you may be able to replace some worn out parts; however, it’s easier to replace the entire sprinkler head in many cases.

As a quick fix, you can lubricate the sprinkler heads to prevent any further damage the next time you’re out enjoying your yard. But remember, it’s easier to address the root of the problem before you run into more advanced, expensive issues down the road.

If you ran through these basic steps, and you still can’t get your sprinkler heads to retract, it’s probably time to call in a professional. There’s a good chance that you may need to replace some sprinkler heads. If you live in the Wichita area, the sprinkler experts at Reddi Irrigation are just a phone call away. Reddi Irrigation can help you service, repair or even replace your entire sprinkler system.

Contact Reddi Irrigation at 316-858-0780 to schedule an appointment with an irrigation expert today.

Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.