Basic maintenance of your smart sprinkler system is crucial to keeping it running efficiently. These instructions cover routine maintenance practices and how to do simple repairs like cleaning or replacing filters and changing heads.
You don’t have to be a sprinkler technician to keep your smart sprinkler system running at its best. All it takes is some routine maintenance. To help you with this task, we’ve included our basic maintenance recommendations. We’ve also detailed how to handle nozzles or filters that need attention and how to replace an Irrigreen head if it gets damaged.
Part of being a homeowner is taking care and maintaining things around your house, and your sprinkler system shouldn’t be ignored. Routine irrigation system maintenance goes a long way in keeping your sprinklers running well and watering where they should.
To help you, we’ve put together a sprinkler system maintenance checklist for a watering season.
When you turn your system on in the spring—after having it off for the winter—make sure to perform a spring audit. Watch it during one of its scheduled programs, or run it manually, checking heads and lines for cracks, breaks, leaks, etc. It’s also good to check head alignment and adjust the zone maps if they are off alignment.
Throughout the Season
- Watch heads periodically to ensure they rotate correctly and haven’t deviated from the zone map.
- Routinely check the water pressure from your supply source to ensure it hasn’t dropped unexpectedly.
- Clean clumps of grass from around or over the top of the heads, especially after mowing. Keeping the heads free of grass allows them to pop up and set back down without snags or obstructions.
As we talked about in our other article, you’ll want to winterize your system after turning it off for the season. Winterizing removes water from the lines and sprinkler heads to protect them from freeze damage.
Some homeowners hire a landscaping contract to winterize their sprinklers, and others choose the DIY route. If you want to do it yourself, we have step-by-step instructions to walk you through the process.
Basic Sprinkler Head Repairs
Some repairs are easy to DIY. The most common problems are clogged filters and nozzles that won’t drop back into the ground after the cycle finishes.
When doing repairs, always shut off the water to the entire system or the sprinkler head you’re working on )if you installed an individual shut-off where the head comes off the supply line). Once the repairs are finished, turn the water back on to the sprinkler system.
How to Clean or Replace the Nozzle or Filter
One of the most common problems with smart sprinkler heads is a clogged nozzle or filter. A build-up of dirt, sediment, grass, or hard water minerals can result in shortened stream distances.
- Grab the sprinkler head by the green cap and gently pull the riser up.
- Grasp the riser firmly and remove the cap by hand, twisting it counterclockwise.
- Remove any debris that may be clogging or blocking the nozzle opening.
- Remove the filter from the riser.
- Use a small soft-bristled brush to clean the buildup or sediment from the filter. Use vinegar or calcium, lime, and rust remover to remove mineral scale if necessary. Avoid using abrasive cleaners. If it is dirty enough, it may be worth replacing it entirely.
- Once cleaned, reinsert the filter, making sure it points down, and the filter marks line up with the nozzle opening.
- Hand-tighten the cap back onto the riser in a clockwise direction.
- Tighten the torx screw on the cap after reassembly.
How to Fix an Irrigreen Head that Won’t Drop
Another problem users see with their Irrigreen system is a head that won’t fall back into the ground after watering. Sometimes, grit or debris between the sprinkler head and the riser prevents the head from retracting. Most times, it’s pretty simple to fix.
- Start at the dashboard in the Irrigreen app.
- Select “Zones” at the bottom of the dashboard screen.
- Click the digital zone with the malfunctioning head.
- Under “Set Watering Shape,” click “Edit.”
- At this point, the sprinkler head will start spraying. Set the head to spray a short distance, like 5 to 7’.
- Once the sprinkler is spraying water, place your hand firmly on the green cap and plunge the head up and down a few times. This motion should loosen any grit or debris obstructing the head from retracting.
- Exit the edit mode. The sprinkler head should drop down now.
Note: If this doesn’t solve the problem and the head doesn’t drop, contact Irrigreen support for assistance.
How to Replace an Irrigreen Sprinkler Head
Sometimes, there isn’t any way to fix a head, and you must replace it. Replacing a head is similar to installing a system, but the process within the app is slightly different.
Note: If replacing more than one head, you must only work on one head at a time. Plug in one head, follow these steps, and repeat the process for the others.
- Shut off water to the entire system or the sprinkler head (if there is an individual shut-off where the head comes off the supply line).
- Carefully dig up the sod around the green cap to expose the head, cable, and water connector. Keep the sod intact if possible; peel it back to access the head.
- Pry apart the CableLok and disconnect the cable from the head.
- Unscrew the old head (counterclockwise) from the flex hose.
- Thread the sprinkler head onto the small end of the flex hose until it is hand-tight. Do not use Teflon tape.
- Connect the replacement head to the cable, covering the connection with a CableLok.
- Do not bury the head.
- Turn the water on using the shut-off at the t-connector to check for leaks.
- If there are no leaks, plumb and bury the sprinkler head. Then replace the sod around the green cap making sure to tamp it down well.
- Access the Irrigreen app on your smartphone or tablet.
- Select “Zones” at the bottom of the dashboard screen.
- Click the digital zone for which you are replacing the head.
- Tap the gear icon to the right of the zone name.
- Click "Replace Sprinkler".
- The app will scan the sprinkler line for unidentified heads and display the blank head you installed.
- While standing next to the head, click "Identify."
- In six seconds, the head will start rotating back and forth.
- Once you see the head rotate, select the circle to the left of the “IGSprinkler- xxxx” to identify that head.
- Click "Done" in the upper right corner.
- Calibrate the head so it’s spraying the correct distance.
- Erase the existing zone map.
- Map the digital zone again.