Why Are My Sprinklers Barely Spraying? (Explained)

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If you’ve just recently started noticing that your sprinklers are not working as hard as they usually do, then don’t worry!

Your sprinklers are barely spraying because the water pressure might be too low. This can be as a result of clogged or dirty sprinkler heads, leaks and obstructed water lines. Moreover, you could have opened the main valve or backflow preventer valve halfway.


Why Do My Sprinklers Have No Pressure?

There are many reasons your sprinklers have no pressure. Here are some of them;

Obstructed Sprinkler Heads

As you trim the lawn, you will produce lots of grass clippings and dirt. Even though most lawnmowers do collect them, some don’t. This can present a serious issue for the sprinkler system in your home.

The plant debris may remain on the sprinkler’s head and as they pop up and then retract, they may get stuck in the head. And with time, debris will build up enough and block water flow or even reduce it severely. Whenever this arises, the sprinkler can not release enough water.

This is regardless of how many times the cycle runs. You can check the sprinkler head to ensure it is free of debris. And in case you realize dirt is collecting, you can scrub it away or remove it without damaging your system.

This will do away with any low-pressure challenges and it will function the right way. Still, if you cannot eliminate debris or the issue persists, you can call for help.

Leaking Water Line

A sprinkler does receive its supply from the mainline of your residence. Moreover, whenever it is in perfect condition, it always maintains constant pressure. This allows the water to flow at a uniform speed as you want.

However, if there is a leak, the water pressure drops because of the seeping water and air entering the line. To detect the leaks, you can check your yard for any unusual wet spots during the watering sessions. Furthermore, you can check out for water bubbling on the lawn and the way every sprinkler head is operating.

Extremely low pressure means some heads are not receiving water completely. You can reach out to an expert as soon as you realize any of these issues. This will allow for earlier repairs and hence the water bills won’t shoot up as it will be working as required.

Main Valve Is Partially Opened

Winterizing a system is very important and you need to do it more often. This means you turn off your sprinkler system’s water supply and blow out any moisture that remains in the line. And as the spring turns around, you can ensure the system is running by turning the supply on.

You can do this yourself and you should not worry about how it will happen. Still, because you don’t use the shutoff valves frequently, they may get sticky as time goes by. And when you try turning it on, you may think it is fully opened and yet that’s not the case.

In case the water pressure is steadily dropping after you turned on the system, you can go back and confirm if you opened it as required. Ensure it isn’t opened halfway. And if it is the case, you can turn off the water supply and attempt opening it again.

This is will help out as it will break up any sediment or dust which is making the valve difficult to operate. However, if the valve is opened all the way, consider contacting a technician. The problem may be a clog in the line and they will have to repair it before you use the sprinkler as you always would.

Growing Roots In the Line

While shrubs and trees enhance the value of a property, they can still be risky to your water line. When you grow them, their roots may spread in the soil and propel deep into the ground. Since they are so strong, they can push out the rocks or puncture the line and even grow inside.

Whenever this occurs, the water line gets clogged up. Any obstacle to your residence’s waterline can lower the water pressure. Water has to go past the obstruction, and this hinders the rate of flow that the sprinkler can release.

In this case, consider calling a repair technician to mend the issue.

Sprinkler system repaired with new valve below used head ready t

Why Are My Sprinklers Barely Spraying?

Your sprinklers are barely spraying because the water pressure in the system is possibly very low. The cause of this problem can be as follows;

Main Water Valve Is Not Opened Completely

In case there’s the main water valve where the system does connect to your residence’s water supply, confirm if it is entirely open. A sprinkler needs more flow than a shower or sink and you may have opened the valve partially without knowing.

Backflow Preventer Valves Are Not Fully Opened

If the whole system is not getting sufficient pressure while the water pressure in your residence is okay, the valves could be the issue. Ensure you open the valves fully to give the highest pressure. The backflow preventer has a vertical and horizontal pipe with a valve on each.

These valves are normally open anytime you have the handle in a parallel position to the pipe. And if you want to adjust them, just turn the horizontal one first and proceed to the vertical pipe.

A Leak or Break On the Water Line

Digging your yard or introducing a fence post can result in you cutting the waterline. And thus, the need for repairs. You may also create leaks. You can inspect for broken lines and leaks by looking for abnormally wet sections in your lawn.

When the system is operating, you may notice bubbles from the ground in the leaking area. Ensure you also check for sprinkler heads that are not functioning well. You may locate a water line issue between a first non-operating and a last operating head.

Clogged or Dirty Sprinkler Heads

In the event of low pressure on one or more sprinkler heads, it may be dirty. You can assess the head and then filter and clear the dirt if needed. Besides, grass can grow near the base of the head and resulting in them not popping up.

Obstructed Water Line

In case you can not see any leak, there may be an obstruction in the waterline. This can result due to a large shrub or tree roots wrapping up the waterline. Also, the weight of parked or driving vehicles compress the soil and thus, crushing the line.

In such instances, you should consider replacing the damaged parts to restore the pressure. And if roots are the main problem then you can reroute the line to have it operate the right way.

How Can I Make My Sprinklers Spray More?

You can easily make your sprinklers spray more. However, this depends on the model you plan on installing. If you check the heads carefully, you will realize they have an integrated nozzle which is essentially a very tiny screw.

This enables you to adjust your sprinkler head. And all you will require is a screwdriver for loosening or tightening the screw till you get the spraying density and pattern you need. If you want more water for your lawn, you can turn it on an anti-clockwise direction to get the high water pressure you desire.

Moreover, if you encounter issues  with over spraying, you will have to turn it in a clockwise direction to get a reduced water pressure.


As noted, there are several reasons why your sprinklers are barely spraying. Even though it can be such an awful encounter when you want to use it, you can call a professional to help identify and repair the problem. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try, with a little bit of knowledge, you can try adjusting it to spray more.