The Q&A Archives: Pop-up Sprinklers don't pop-up

Question: We bought a new house with landscaping completely done. The sprinkler system was already turned off for the winter when we bought it. When we turned on the system, two or three of the pop-up sprinklers do not pop-up as high as the rest. Water pressure seems to be OK. What could be causing this?

Answer: There are only a few reasons a sprinkler head won't pop up; debris in the head or low water pressure. A third reason might be that the heads themselves are defective or broken. Start by removing the heads and inspecting them to make sure there's no grass, bugs, or anything else clogging them. Try working them with your fingers to make sure they can pop up. If they're stuck, you can either replace them or try to work them loose. Another method of clearing the lines and the heads is to drain, or blow out your pipes. This can be done using a small air compressor, or air tank and blowing the water out of the lines on each individual zone. Make sure to shut off your water source to the system and get all the water out of the lines by removing one of the heads on a particular zone and using a quick-connect fitting to attach the compressor. Apply the air until the heads pop up and all the water is relieved.

If none of this works, and you're sure the water pressure is okay, it's time to replace the non-working heads.

Best wishes with your new landscape!

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