Why Are Your Sprinkler Heads Sputtering?

The installation of a sprinkler system is one of the best things you can do to support a healthy landscape and a pristine lawn. However, these water irrigation systems do not come without their fair share of problems. Most sprinkler systems will stand up to years of use without incidence, but one issue that can occur with a system of any age is sputtering. 

Sprinkler sputtering is an issue that involves the head not dispersing water as it should. Instead of the water coming out smoothly when the system is turned on, the water "coughs" and comes out unevenly, possibly even spraying areas unintended or oversaturating the ground in certain spots. This can definitely be a frustrating issue, as well as a reason to call for sprinkler system repair. Check out a few common reasons your sprinkler heads may be sputtering. 

The Sprinkler Head May Be Cracked 

A cracked sprinkler head is the most common reason for sputtering. When the head is cracked, it prevents the water from coming out in a steady stream because the crack allows water to spill out unevenly or may put undue pressure on the stream. You can examine the sprinkler head for signs of damage, but cracks are not always immediately visible from the surface. In some cases, cracks under the main head cover may be present. 

You May Have Problems with Water Pressure 

Water pressure is one of the most common culprits behind sputtering sprinkler heads, but is also an issue that can be more problematic to address. If the water pressure issue is coming from your property's plumbing system, you may have more sprinkler heads than the system can accommodate. In some cases, however, the problem comes from underground lines that are allowing either too much water flow to some sprinkler heads and not others or air pressure to slip into the system. In either case, the system will need to be evaluated by a sprinkler system repair professional. 

You May Be Dealing with a Clogged Sprinkler Head 

If you are lucky, the sputtering issue will be caused by a buildup of debris in the sprinkler head. This can occur if mud, dirt, or grass gets lodged in the small perforations of the head, this changes how water is dispersed and can impede the flow enough to cause sputtering. Thankfully, this issue is easily corrected by dismounting the sprinkler head and cleaning it.