Sprinkler Valve Not Turning On? Try This 5 Step Fix

If you have a sprinkler valve for your irrigation system, you depend on this to work properly so your lawn will be happy and healthy. It can be frustrating if your sprinkler valve system is not working appropriately. It is important to go through a few common reasons why this might be taking place. That way, you can address them appropriately.

There are several reasons why your sprinkler valve might not be opening properly. Perhaps the sprinkler head is dirty, or maybe it has been broken entirely. You may also have a damaged door leaking pipe somewhere, and there could be an issue with the voltage system or the backflow device valve. It is important to go through these common issues so that we can figure out how to get your sprinkler valve to open again.

Even though it might be a time-consuming process to go through all the possible reasons why your sprinkler valve is not opening properly, this is important for making sure your sprinkler valve works as well as it should. 

We have done a lot of research to figure out some of the most common reasons why a sprinkler valve might not open properly. Take a look at the results of our research below, and remember to contact a professional if you need help with your sprinkler valve system. 

Materials Needed To Fix a Sprinkler Valve That Won’t Open

If you are getting ready to take a closer look at why your sprinkler valve might not open, you need to gather the right materials. You need to be able to isolate the sprinkler valve that is not working, and you should also have your manual with you so you can figure out what types of parts you might need. You may also need a screwdriver to take apart the sprinkler valve if you need to take a look inside.

In addition, you should make sure you have a strong cleaning solution, a possible snake cleaner, and a damp cloth or towel you can use to clean the sprinkler system if it is dirty. A dirty sprinkler valve is one of the most common reasons why the sprinkler system will not work properly. You need to have the right equipment to clean it.

After you have gathered all the necessary materials, it is time to move to the sprinkler valve system and take a closer look at what is going on.

5 Steps To Fix a Broken Sprinkler Valve System

If you want to fix your broken sprinkler valve system, there are several steps you need to follow. These include: 

Step 1: Start By Cleaning the Sprinkler Head Itself

If your sprinkler valve is not opening, the first thing you need to do is clean the sprinkler head. It is not uncommon for sprinkler heads to get clogged with a lot of dust, dirt, and debris. This is particularly true if you have pets that regularly run through the backyard.

Thankfully, your manual should have a detailed list you can follow for maintenance of your sprinkler head and valve system. You may need to use a strong cleaning solution to thoroughly clean the sprinkler head. This could be enough to remove the blockage entirely.

If you have not cleaned your sprinkler head in a long time, the dirt is probably going to be taped on there pretty thoroughly. Therefore, you need to take the time to remove this before you move on to the next step. If you take the time to clean the sprinkler head now, you won’t have to come back to this step later. Go ahead and roll out this option by cleaning your sprinkler head thoroughly.

When you are done, test the sprinkler system one more time. See if you can get it to operate appropriately. If you can, you have solved the problem. If not, it is time to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Replace a Broken Sprinkler Head

If you are sure you have thoroughly cleaned the sprinkler head and it is still not working, there is a chance that it might be broken. There are lots of ways a sprinkler head might be broken. If you have pets, they may have spent a lot of time chewing on the sprinkler head, thinking it is something they need to attack. This could be the reason why it is not working properly.

It is also possible that the sprinkler head may have stuck out so high that you ran over it with the lawnmower. If that is the case, the sprinkler head might need to be replaced.

There are numerous signs that could indicate the sprinkler head has gotten cracked. For example, the plastic casing might be broken. Or, the sprinkler head itself is not popping out from the ground. You may even see the sprinkler head laying on the ground next to the rest of the system.

Fortunately, this is a relatively easy fix. You need to take a closer look at the manual to see what type of sprinkler heads you use. Then, you need to order a replacement and follow the instructions to swap it out. After this, you should test your sprinkler system again to see if it is working appropriately. If the sprinkler head is still not producing any water, it is time to take a closer look at a few other possible causes.

Broken Sprinkler Valve Head
Sprinkler heads are often obstructed by mower blades or edging tools while landscaping.

Step 3: There Could Be a Pipe Damaged or Leaking

If there is no water coming out, it is also possible that there might not be any water flowing into the sprinkler system. This could happen if there is a pipe somewhere that is damaged or leaking. Unfortunately, pipes can still suffer a lot of damage even when we bury them underground. We may think that they are properly protected, but this might not be the case. 

For example, there might be a tree in your backyard that has an extensive root system. Roots tend to follow water, so if there is a pipe in the area, the root system may have grown so much that it is blocking the entire pipe itself.

You need to remove the damaged section of pipe and replace it with a fresh segment. You may need to do a significant amount of digging, so you may need to call for some extra help. You also need to make sure you call and avoid any gas lines that might be running underneath your house.

If you are uncomfortable with this step, it is time to reach out to a professional who can assist you. That way, you make sure this is done appropriately, and you protect everyone else against potential injuries. 

Step 4: Check the Direction of the Backflow Device Valve

You may also need to take a closer look at the backflow device valve. If you find that the sprinkler head or valve system is not opening up or turning on, it could be a problem that is as simple as the backflow valve pointing in the wrong direction. 

You need to figure out where the backflow valves are located. Then, you need to make sure they are turned the right way. If the backflow valve is obstructing the flow of water, this is probably the culprit. 

Ideally, you have two valves. One of them should be located on the horizontal piping system. The other should be located on the vertical segment. Make sure both of them are pointed in the right direction. Then, try to test the sprinkler system one more time. 

Step 5: The Entire Sprinkler Valve Could Be Defective

Finally, it is entirely possible that the entire valve might be damaged. As a result, you do not have sprinklers that are working properly. You need to test the resistance of the valve using a multimeter. If you get a high level of resistance, this is a sign that there is still current flowing through that specific part of the sprinkler system. If you do not get a lot of resistance, then this is a sign the valve could be dead.

Before you go about replacing the valve, make sure the zone wires are attached appropriately. You need to take a look at the manual, make sure the wires are attached to the appropriate control terminals, and make sure they have the right level of resistance by testing them using a multimeter.

If you have done all of this, and you have discovered the problem is the valve, then it is time to replace it. You will need to take a look at the manual to see what type of valve you need. If you need help with the step, you can reach out to a professional who can assist you.

After you have installed a new valve, test the sprinkler system one more time. It should be working correctly. If not, call a professional for help. 

Top view of sprinkler valves
The zone wires should be attached to the appropriate control terminal, so check that before replacing the entire valve.

Fix a Broken Sprinkler Valve System

In the end, there are a lot of reasons why your sprinkler valve might not open. The most common reason why the valve is not opening is that it is simply clogged because it has not been cleaned in a while. Make sure you clean your sprinkler valve system regularly to ensure it does not get cloged. Then, if it is still not opening, you may also want to take a look at the backflow device system, the voltage system itself, or even the pipes.

If you still are having a difficult time figuring out why your sprinkler valve system is not opening as it should, then you may want to reach out to a professional who can help you. That way, you can figure out exactly what is going on, gather a few suggestions, and figure out how to fix the issue. You do not have to go through this alone, and you deserve to have a working sprinkler system that will help you keep your lawn healthy.