I added a couple of branches to my sprinklers over a year ago to add some more sprinklers to cover some brown spots on my backyard grass. There are now 16 sprinklers with 4 off of two branches and 8 off the center branch.

There are some brown areas now and it looks like my pressure is way down. None of the sprinklers are popping all the way up and the spray looks lower than it used to. They are set to run at midnight and 6:00 in the morning, so I don't usually see them running.

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They look normal in the pic but they are not popping up all the way and not spraying as far as they used to. They did have good pressure after I added the extra sprinklers - I even capped a couple off to see if it helped (it didn't).

My guess is that there's a leak somewhere. Either one of the PCV joints broke, one of my splices for the new branches broke, I broke a line while planting a bush, or a gopher chewed into a line.

How can I troubleshoot to narrow down to where the issue is? Is there something I can stick down into a sprinkler connection and stop the water flow to the rest in that branch? My best idea is to get an inline valve and stop off the center line to see if that's where the issue is but that seems like a bit of work for a test.

The lines are 6 inches below the ground so I don't know if I'll see water - especially since I have gophers that have made tunnels that the water could be flowing through (I have an unlimited supply of gophers from the city's fenced-in, empty field next to me).

  • Can you cap off all the sprinklers? If so, you could cap them all off and turn the system on and see where the lawn gets soggy. But I don't know if having the system pressurized with no outlet might cause some other issues, so maybe wait and see what other people say.
    – csk
    Jun 8, 2021 at 16:49
  • @csk - I would have to dig down at least 4" to get to the bottom of the sprinkler to cap it off ( × 16) so I think it would be easier to put a valve in the main branch of 8. The water may be going down a gopher hole and not show up. Jun 8, 2021 at 18:24
  • Could you check the pressure? Maybe the main pressure changed (too many sprinkler at same time on your street? or just some leak also on main line). On the other hand, you have many sprinklers active together. Maybe you should had to split into two zones. Jun 9, 2021 at 8:21
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi - The pressure seems normal everywhere else. Unfortunately, while using the manual switch, my controller got stuck on so I had to turn to water off till I replace it (flushing it out as recommended didn't help). Jun 9, 2021 at 23:27
  • So, could you check the old controller? Maybe there were debris (which caused both problems). In such case, maybe you could add a small filter Jun 10, 2021 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


You need more stations . Three stations is not many depending on the area. Many controllers have 6 ; they often recommend a limit of about 5 sprinklers per station , of course it depends on the size of the sprinkler heads. I have two 6 station controllers but I have complicated system ,mostly for shrubbery.

  • I don't think the number is the problem - they looked fine last year after I added the new ones. When I capped 4 of them off to test, the pressure still wasn't enough to pop the sprinklers up all the way. Jun 9, 2021 at 23:24

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