Top 7 Common Sprinkler System Questions Answered

Top 7 Common Sprinkler System Questions Answered

Apr 23rd 2024

Sprinkler irrigation is a method of applying irrigation. Water is distributed through a system of pipes, usually in the ground. It is then sprayed into the air through sprinklers so that it breaks up into small water drops which fall to the ground.

A sprinkler setup supports the growth of lush, healthy produce while conserving water by reducing waste and runoff.

Sprinkler systems enhance your crop yield by 10-30% and use 20-40% less water than a flood irrigation system, helping the soil absorb all the essential nutrients. However, dealing with a sprinkler setup is more challenging than it sounds, raising many questions for first-time farmers and gardeners.

But don't worry; this guide will answer the seven most common sprinkler system questions so you can get your irrigation network up and running quickly.

1. How Often Should I Water My Lawn with a Sprinkler System?

One of the most commonly asked questions by gardeners about maintaining a healthy, green lawn is about the frequency of watering. How often you should water your crops depends on several factors, including grass type, soil moisture, and weather patterns. Generally, you should run your sprinkler system twice a week during the year, except in the summer months, when you may have to water the field thrice a week.

Lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week from rainfall or irrigation. The best way to do this is by running your sprinkler systems for 20 minutes thrice a week, spraying around ⅓ inch of water in each session. Similarly, you can water the crops in 30-minute sessions twice weekly, each delivering around ½ inch of water.

2. How Do I Make My Sprinkler System Last Longer?

If you want to ensure your sprinkler system's longevity and optimum performance, the key is to set up a regular maintenance schedule. Here are a few tips to make it last longer:

  • Regularly check for clogged nozzles and remove any debris or dirt buildup
  • Turn off your sprinkler system during the winter months to avoid deep freeze
  • Readjust the sprinkler heads in case of water run-off to avoid wastage
  • Test all the irrigation zones at the beginning of the spring season
  • Regularly trim plants around sprinkler heads to avoid blockage

3. How Much Does a Sprinkler System Typically Cost?

The cost of a sprinkler system depends on several factors, including the number of watering zones, the size of your lawn, and the type of sprinkler you choose.

For example, in-ground sprinklers, costing up to $10,000 have a far higher initial investment than above-ground setups, which come for $1500 to $3500. This substantial difference in prices is because in-ground systems consist of a network of underground pipes, requiring 8-16 hours in installation and considerably more in repairs and maintenance.

However, on average, you may expect to pay $3600 for a sprinkler system installation in a 0.25-acre yard (the average lawn size in suburban homes). This cost is subject to change depending on the type of irrigation system installed and the number of zones, but most often varies between $2,200 to $5,000.

Lawn Size

Price Range

1 acre


0.5 acres

$4,000 - $8,000

0.25 acres

$2,200 - $5,000

5,000 sq feet

$1,000 - $3,000

4. What Are the Signs That My Sprinkler System Needs Repair?

If you want to maintain an efficient irrigation system and ensure your crops receive the right amount of water, it's essential to identify when your lawn sprinkler needs repair. Failing to recognize these signs early on can lead to costly repairs later and impact the well-being of your yield.

Here are five go-to signs indicating that your sprinkler set needs attention:

  1. If you see puddles forming in certain regions, notice a sign of uneven watering, indicating clogged nozzles or misaligned sprinkler heads.
  2. If water sprays out in a burst rather than a smooth stream or makes a hissing sound, check for air pockets or debris that may be in the sprinklers.
  3. If sprinkler heads are not entirely popping up or water is not reaching as many crops as it usually does, you may have a low water pressure.
  4. If your water bills unexpectedly increase, this is the first hint that there may be a leak in the sprinkler system or broken spray heads.

5. What are the Top 5 Sprinklers?

Micro Sprinklers: Micro or Mini sprinklers are a great way to water in places where drip emitters aren't feasible. They are also good for plants that require constant moisture on the foliage.

Impact Sprinkler: Typically, impact sprinklers are made from brass or bronze (to withstand the pressure and force generated), a material that can make them pricier than other sprinklers. They can be set to water in partial or complete circles.

Rotary Sprinklers: Rotary sprinklers shoot a stream of water using a mechanical nozzle with an adjustable spray pattern. They typically deliver water between 20 and 40 feet from the head and can deliver up to one-half inch of water to your lawn with each use. Additionally, rotary sprinklers can be used in permanent systems or as freestanding units.

Pop-Up Sprinkler:Concealed sprinklers are installed with most permanent irrigation systems. These sprinkler heads are powered by spring mechanisms that extend the spray nozzle above the lawn to spray in full, half, or quarter-circle ranges. When the water turns on, the pressure forces the head up out of the ground, and then it recedes once the water shuts off. These sprinkler heads allow for regular mowing and easy lawn maintenance, making them a go-to choice for many homeowners.

Traveling Sprinkler:The Traveling Sprinkler is the perfect solution for watering an extra-large area. Set a custom watering path with your garden hose and adjust the speed to water the entire yard easily. The sprinkler propels itself along the path to evenly water up to 13,500 sq. ft. of lawn. When finished, the automatic shut-off will stop the sprinkler.

6. When Is the Right Time to Water My Lawn?

The right time to water your lawn is just before sunrise or early morning, usually between 6 am and 10 am. Since early mornings are calmer with minimal winds, watering your crops during this time helps them soak up adequate water, reaching the roots where needed most.

Early mornings have lower temperatures, meaning less water escapes the soil through evaporation. As a result, your plants retain more moisture, which translates into healthy growth patterns. If your only choice is to water during the late afternoon or evening, aim to do it between 4 pm and 6 pm.

The evaporation rate during this time is lower (than midday), giving the grass blades ample time to dry out before nighttime.

7. Why Is My Sprinkler System Not Covering All Areas Evenly?

If your sprinkler system is not watering evenly, it may reflect negatively on the health and well-being of your yield. The most common reason for uneven watering or coverage is a clogged nozzle and irrigation head, possibly caused by dirt and sand accumulation over time. If so, you can gently remove debris from the nozzles with a small wire or needle.

Other reasons for uneven watering may include misaligned or damaged sprinkler heads. Thus, you should check all heads to ensure they're aligned to spray water in the right direction. In case of damage, replace the irrigation head to restore proper function and coverage. Besides, water pressure issues may also be the culprit behind uneven coverage, which can be solved by installing a pressure regulator.


Now that your sprinkler system-related questions are answered, it's time to start installing an efficient irrigation setup. A sprinkler system helps promote healthy lawn growth. So, if you want to reduce the time spent watering, installing a sprinkler for your lawn is the best thing you can do.

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