When Should I Replace My Sprinklers? (Explained)

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Sometimes it’s hard to know when you should replace your sprinklers.

There is no exact sign when to replace your sprinklers. The best possible way to know is to check your sprinklers regularly. For example, uneven water on the lawn can be a sprinkler problem or it is the main pipeline problem. But other signs to check are leakage and sprinkler head defects.

Irrigation system in function

How long should a sprinkler system last?

On average, a sprinkler system lasts up to 20 years if it is made of quality materials. On the other hand, a sprinkler system made of low-quality materials only lasts up to three years.

A sprinkler system has different parts, and each part has a different lifespan. The system pipe can last up to 40 years while the valves can last up to 15 years. The system’s controllers can last up to 10 years.

However, the system and its parts may degrade fast when the water quality gets compromised. An adverse change in the climate also contributes to the degradation of the sprinkler system.

But you do not need to wait for 20 years before you replace the system. If you notice corrosion or you notice that you have been replacing some parts several times, it is time to consider replacing it.

How do I know when to replace my sprinklers?

A sprinkler may wear and tear due to several reasons. Fortunately, you can spot the problem easily, so you do not get caught by surprise when the sprinkler stops working. The signs you must check include leakage, frequent repairs, uneven watering, and an outdated system.


Leakage is one of the reasons why you need to replace your sprinkler system, but sometimes the leakage comes from the mainline. Before you decide to replace the sprinkler system, you must check the source of leakage.

Frequent repairs

If you notice that you have been requesting a service call in one season, it is time to replace the sprinkler system.

It only means that the repair is not helping the system to get back in its mint condition.

Prolonging the replacement may only lead to a nightmare where you cannot control the problem anymore.

Uneven watering

An outdated sprinkler system is a culprit for the uneven watering of the lawn. If you notice that a portion of your landscape is overwatered or underwatered, it is better to check your sprinkler system.

In case that the sprinkler has no problem, check your piping system. Probably, there is a leakage in the pipeline.

Sprinkler heads defects

Now that you already know the causes why a sprinkler needs to be replaced, it is time to let you know that there is another reason why it does not work.

That one reason is the sprinkler head. Yes, sometimes it is just the sprinkler head that needs to be replaced to keep the system working.

Incorrect height for the area

Uneven watering is one of the effects if the sprinkler head is not installed to its correct height. With lower height, the lawn may get flooded and you will notice that the sprinkler only covers certain parts.

The quick fix for this is to check if the sprinkler head is sitting at the correct height. If the height is low, buy a new one that matches the desirable height.

Broken sprinklers

Sprinkles may be damaged by lawn mowers or an animal that chews the nozzle and head.

When it happens, it is time to replace it and use a swing riser assembly appropriate for the sprinkler head you buy. The swing riser can help in protecting the sprinklers from possible damage.

Many sprinkler heads, one valve zone

If you use several sprinkler heads with one valve zone, it is time to make up your mind. Every sprinkler head varies in precipitation rate and combining it with other types does not give you the same result.

To maximize the sprinkler head, it is recommended to choose one type only.

Changing landscape

As the plants grow, the irrigation system change. Therefore, the sprinkler head needs to be adjusted or be replaced.

The adjustment and replacement are necessary to ensure that there is an even water distribution to the plants.

How do you fix a sprinkler valve?

In this post, I will focus on the anti-siphon valve. This type of valve may or may not need replacement depending on the diaphragm problem.

You will know if there is a problem when the sprinkler does not turn on or there is a leak around the zone valve. In most cases, you need to clean the diaphragm to solve the problem.

Turn off the timer and the water shut-off

Before replacing the valve, turn off the timer so the electricity does not flow to the solenoid, then turn off the water shut-off.

On the valve diaphragm, look for the manual bleed screw, then open it to allow any excess water or pressure of the valve. Removing the pressure makes the replacement easier because you would not need to fight the water pressure.

After removing the excess water and pressure, shut it off again.

Remove the lid

The first thing you need to remove is the breaker lid. Once you removed it, remove the gasket, and replace the valve with the O-ring.

Hand-tight the valve you replaced. Once you are done replacing the breaker lid, unscrew the solenoid using your hands, then remove the diaphragm.

Check if there is no gravel sitting on the valve. If you find gravel and other debris, remove it before replacing the valve. Screw the new valve in a crisscross manner.

Thread back the solenoid

Turn on the water shut-off slowly. Do not worry if there is a leak. The valve needs to hit 15 psi to be able to work properly.

A rotating sprinkler spraying a water into the backyard

How much does it cost to replace sprinklers?

A sprinkler system price ranges from $1,800 to $5,200 because the pricing varies on the number of zones needed for your lawn. It gets higher if you set up lawn irrigation. It can cost up to $10,000 per acre to install. But if you plan to do it yourself, it can only cost you up to $1,500 per ¼ acre yard.

There are many considerations when choosing a sprinkler system. You must consider the system type because the prices vary. An in-ground sprinkler system can cost up to $10,000. Drip irrigation costs up to $3,000 while the commercial farm costs up to $7000.

Other cost factor includes lawn size, lawn shape, landscaping design, yard slope, number of zones, soil condition, smart and Wi-Fi enabled controllers, quality of parts, water main connection and location.

It is easy to compare the rate offered by one sprinkler repair pro from the other just by looking at the numbers. But you must take note that the price may vary depending on the factors that the repair pro considers.

For example, if you live in a place where the freezing temperature is common, you can expect the cost to be 10% higher than the other regions.

You must also expect that the repair pro may hire a third-party plumbing service that will work on the sprinkler connection to the water’s main pipeline connection. It is one of the things that you must include in your budget, so you do not get shocked with the bill you must pay.


Sprinklers should last for a long period. But it is attainable if you schedule a maintenance check. You do not need to hire a professional but you can opt for it if you prefer.

Maintenance is necessary because your landscape changes every season and the plants are growing. It does not only keep the sprinkler system in good condition,

but it also helps in making sure that the landscape gets the right amount of water that the plant needs.