Why Do My Sprinklers Have Low Water Pressure?

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Every homeowner desires a lush green yard. But often, maintaining a lawn and keeping it green requires a fair bit of time and effort. 

I’ve installed sprinkler irrigation systems for even water coverage and water efficiency, and to avoid maintaining a constant vigil over my lawn. 

Rainfall is inconsistent in my area, and my smart irrigation system automatically figures out when it’s been raining too little and then automatically adjusts the water that my grass and landscaping get. 

However, I’ve recently noticed that some of my sprinkler heads weren’t able to reach their operating range due to low water pressure. 

There are several causes for low water pressure sprinklers such as unopened valves, clogged nozzles or you have low water pressure in your home due to a problem with your municipal water supply. 

lawn sprinkler low water pressure

Does Low Sprinkler Water Pressure Matter?  

The answer is a resounding YES! If your water irrigation system has low water pressure, it can greatly cause a loss in irrigation efficiency and affect your watering schedule, water leaving from the spray head will fail to reach the adjacent heads and the spray will not be in a uniform pattern. 

In worse cases, it can even prevent the sprinkler heads from popping up at all.

What is the Minimum Pressure Required for a Lawn Water Sprinkler System? 

The ideal operating pressure for most residential lawn sprinklers is between 30 and 50 PSI (pounds per square inch).

With sufficient water pressure, each sprinkler head will perform the way it was designed and the result will be even spray watering coverage and efficient use of your water supply. 

Reasons for Low Water Pressure Sprinklers 

1. Backflow Preventer Valve Issue or Not Fully Open

If your entire sprinkler system is suffering from low irrigation pressure, but your home water pressure is fine, then great chances are that you’ve not fully opened the backflow preventer valve. 

To explain briefly, a backflow prevention device is installed on your home’s water pipes. This preventer device allows water to flow in one direction but never in the opposite direction. 

To ensure optimum pressure and adequate water pressure, ensure that the backflow preventer valve is opened all the way. ‘

The backflow preventer valve has two pipes – one horizontal and another vertical, and each pipe may be equipped with one valve. Open the valve all the way and check if your sprinklers are getting normal water pressure. 

2. Shut-Off or Main Water Valves Aren’t Fully Open

There’s usually a shutoff valve located where your sprinkler system connects with your home’s water supply. When this main valve isn’t opened all the way, you may experience sprinkler water pressure issues and weak water pressure in your home. 

A sprinkler system needs more water pressure than other amenities in your home like your sink or shower. Therefore, you may have not noticed low water pressure when the shut-off valve was partially closed. 

Turn in this main water control valve all the way and see if this resolves the sprinkler low water pressure issue. 

3. Water Line Leak or Break

Have you or a service provider recently fixed or installed anything in your yard like a fence post? If so, your water pipes may be leaking or broken. 

Run the sprinklers and look for water bubbling from the ground, which is where the leak is located. A leak or break in the water line can also cause one or more of your sprinkler heads to not work properly. If you suspect a break or leak in the water line, get it looked at by a professional plumber. 

Water pressure on running lawn sprinkler

4. Water Line Obstruction 

Large trees and shrubs near water systems are other common culprits of sprinkler low water pressure. These plants typically have deep rooting systems that can easily wrap around and cause an obstruction in your water line. 

The weight of these heavy roots may have crushed the line. In the event this happens, you will have to replace the damaged section of the water line to restore water pressure. 

5. Clogged or Dirty Sprinkler Heads

Just like your shower or kitchen tap, sprinkler heads can get clogged with dirt after a period of use. If there are just one or two sprinkler heads that have low water pressure, examine their head and filter and clean them if necessary. Sprinkler heads can easily get clogged with grass, soil, and other debris. 

sprinkler head

6. Issues with the Municipal Water Company 

Check with your neighbors if they’re experiencing low water pressure issues, and if they are, get in touch with your water supply company. 

If the drop in water pressure is permanent due to one or more reasons such as new construction in your area, you may need to reconfigure or buy a new sprinkler system to adapt to the low water pressure. 

How to Check Sprinkler Water Pressure? 

If the water supply in your home is low, you should get that fixed first before exploring the steps to fix low-water-pressure sprinklers. 

Understanding your water pressure isn’t just vital for your sprinklers but for the overall plumbing system.

You can test your water pressure with a few simple tools

  • A measuring jug 
  • Timer (the one on your phone will work)
  • Calculator (again on phone)

Steps to Check Sprinkler Water Pressure

  1. Place the jug under a tap. 
  2. Turn on the main sprinkler tap on full. 
  3. Make note of the time it takes to fill the jug.
  4. If it takes more than 6 – 10 seconds to fill the 1-liter jug, then you have low water pressure. 

Low Water Pressure: How to Correct it for a Beautiful Garden?

If you have low water pressure, check your municipal water supply to ensure they aren’t facing any problems with water pressure in your area.

If no issues are reported, I’d call a plumber to diagnose the problem with low water pressure.

Here’s a video on how to troubleshoot sprinkler water pressure:

How To Troubleshoot Sprinkler System Pressure Problems

What Type of Sprinkler is Best for Low Water Pressure?

Impact sprinklers are regarded as the best for low-water pressure water sources. Impact sprinklers are fitted with regulation valves that control the water flow.

This type of sprinkler system will provide you with the right water pressure for healthy plant and grass growth even if the water pressure in your home is low.

The 2 Best Low Water Pressure Sprinklers for Lawn

A strong and consistent flow of water is required for many lawn sprinklers to work their best. But if you live in an area that receives low water pressure, you’ll have to switch to a water sprinkler designed to operate with low water pressure. 

1. Melnor 65003-AMZ MiniMax Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler – The Best Lawn Sprinkler For Water Pressure As Low As 15 PSI

Melnor 65003-AMZ MiniMax Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler

The Melnor MiniMax water sprinkler offers full coverage of up to 4,000 square feet. It features a four-way adjustment system for precise watering. 

This mini-size oscillating sprinkler is fitted with an Infinity turbo drive motor and can be quickly connected and disconnected with the included QuickConnect product adapter. 

Melnor 65003-AMZ MiniMax Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler with...
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Melnor 65003-AMZ MiniMax Turbo Oscillating Sprinkler with...
  • Mini sized oscillator with full-size coverage up to 4000 sq. ft.
  • Four-way adjustment for precision watering right where it’s needed. Flow-through base allows unit-to-unit connection so multiple sprinklers can be set up throughout the yard
  • Infinity turbo-drive motor provides a smooth operation that will not cause puddling and extends the life for years of use

Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-01-30

2. Grow Green Sprinkler – Best Low-Pressure Water Sprinkler for Larger Lawns 

Grow Green Sprinkler

The GrowGreen water sprinkler boasts a powerful and versatile design and a 360 degree rotation, and 32.8 feet spray distance. 

You can adjust the sprinkler nozzles to spray in any direction, making it easier to customize your watering schedule. Further, it’s made from superior-quality ABS plastic, so it will serve you well for many years to come. 

Deal
GrowGreen Sprinkler for Yard, Rotating Lawn Sprinkler, Large Area...
2,256 Reviews
GrowGreen Sprinkler for Yard, Rotating Lawn Sprinkler, Large Area...
  • POWERFUL & VERSATILE LAWN SPRINKLER: Give your yard maximum even water sprinkling with 80 PSI water pressure, 360 degree rotation, and 32.8 feet spray distance,
  • FULLY ADJUSTABLE SPRINKLER: Adjust the sprinkler nozzles to spray in any direction to customize your watering. The sprinkler base is weighted to keep the unit in place and ensure it doesn't move around.
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Our sprinklers are made with high-quality ABS plastic and a rust proof polymer, this durable lawn sprinkler will provide long lasting, worry free performance.

Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-01-30


How Do I Increase Water Pressure in my Sprinkler System?

Can I Use a Pump to Increase Water Pressure for Sprinklers?

Installing a boost pump can help increase the pressure to the sprinkler heads.

What Type of Pump is Used to Increase Water Pressure?

A booster pump increases the water flow rate to the sprinkler system. This type of fan works just like a fan and has blades that spin to increase air movement. This movement increases the water flow rate.

Which Water Pump is Best for Sprinkler System?

Submersible pumps and centrifugal pumps are the best water pumps for irrigation systems. You can find pumps on the market that are labeled as “irrigation pumps”, but they are often cheap sprinkler systems that barely get the job done even under the best conditions.

How Big of a Pump Do I Need for My Sprinkler System?

The size of the pump you need depends on the number of sprinkler heads in your lawn. The more sprinkler heads you have, the bigger the pump you will need to run the sprinkler system without any hiccups.

water pump

FAQs

Q. Are There Any Low-flow Sprinkler Heads? 

A. There are many different low-flow sprinkler heads including micro-sprinklers and adjustable drip emitters.

Q. What is the Most Effective Type of Sprinkler? 

A. Rotating sprinklers are the most effective sprinklers and are the best choice for large lawns due to the even distribution of water they provide.

Q. Is 20 PSI Enough for Sprinkler System?

A. The water pressure for homes is between 30 psi and 50 psi. Most sprinkler systems are designed to use roughly 30 psi, so 20 psi is considered low water pressure.

Q. Why Sprinklers Lose Pressure After a Few Minutes?

A. Clogged sprinkler heads are the most common reason why your sprinklers lose pressure after a few minutes. There can also be other issues with the system such as a damaged sprinkler line, a partially opened shut-off valve, and/or an increased demand for the local municipality water supply.

Q. Low Water Pressure in House When Sprinklers are On?

A. To prevent low water pressure in your house when sprinklers are on, install a regulator on your sprinkler system and set it to a slightly lower pressure than what you want in the house.

Final Thoughts 

There are several reasons for low water pressure in your sprinkler systems and sprinkler line, most of which you can fix yourself such as the backflow preventer valves and clogged sprinkler heads.

If you aren’t sure how to fix a lawn sprinkler or plumbing issues related to lowered water pressure, hire a plumber to get the job done. 

Before doing so, call your local water supply company to see if they are any low water pressure municipal water supply problems in the area.