How to Maintain Your Lawn Sprinkler System: Tips for Homeowners in Eau Claire, WI or the Twin Cities

There are some things we take for granted, like that ice cream we stashed in the freezer will still be there when we crave it, and our sprinklers will always turn on and work perfectly.

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Somebody might beat you to that mint chocolate chip. And you need to maintain your lawn sprinkler system in order for it to spring into action whenever you need it. 

It doesn’t just automatically work. If it were that easy, there’d be no such thing as irrigation technicians.

Check out these tips for maintaining your lawn sprinkler system year-round. That’s right — it needs attention year-round. 

Spring Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Inspect Your Sprinkler Heads 

Let’s start with spring tasks. Before you turn your irrigation system on after a long winter, you need to really take a look at it.

lawn sprinkler head inspectionIf you laid on the couch all winter, never moving, you’d be a little creaky come spring, right? (We’re not judging.)

Winter is long around here, and all irrigation systems need attention. Approximately  80 percent of them need at least a minor repair after winter. 

First up: Physically inspect every single sprinkler head. There’s a lot that can go wrong:

  • Frost can cause the ground to heave and nudge your sprinkler heads out of whack. That means they might spray your driveway instead of your lawn.
  • The ground probably settled a bit over the winter months. Are the heads sitting high enough so they’re not spraying things they shouldn’t? Adjustments might be needed.
  • Heads could be leaking.
  • A snow plow might have caused damage.
  • Residue in the line can flow to the heads once the water is turned on, clogging the head without you even realizing it.
  • A fitting might have come loose.

You get the idea. Check every single head thoroughly. 

Remember, you typically run your sprinklers early in the morning, when you might not notice any problems. Best to check them over before anything goes awry.

Spring Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance:  Adjust Your Controller

Before you turn your system on for spring, you’ll need to reprogram all the settings — what time of day it should run and for how long.

Irrigation technician managing irrigation controlsA lot of people unplug their irrigation controller for the winter and it loses all its settings. 

Even if you didn’t unplug it, chances are your settings will be all wrong.

Spring is cold and wet. Your settings shouldn’t be the same as in August, when it’s 90 degrees with no rain.

Adjust the controller with the seasons.

Spring Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Check Rain Sensors

If you have a rain sensor, make sure the batteries are still working and that they’re adjusted correctly. Be sure they’re clear and not obstructed by debris.

Spring Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Test Every Zone

Make sure each of your zones turn on and off and run properly.

Things happen, when you don’t even realize it:

  • Lightning may have zapped your system.
  • There may be a leak.
  • An animal might have chewed through the pipe.
  • Maybe a zone won’t shut off.

 Any of these issues, or others, could be causing your system to waste water and cost you money.

Summer Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Now, One More Time

Hopefully you just paid attention to all those steps, because you’ll need to run through them all again at least one time during the summer.

Summer irrigation maintenance That’s when your system is under the greatest demand, and things are most likely to go wrong.

Your bike doesn’t break when it’s sitting in the garage, right? It breaks down while you’re on that 20-mile ride. (Twenty miles? Impressive!)

Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Get the Right Parts

If you tackle an irrigation system repair yourself, be sure to get the right parts. That’s often easier said than done.

Chances are, you’ll have no idea exactly what you need.

We’ve seen repairs done with duct tape and zip ties.

We’ve seen copper pipes patched with tape.

You name it. It’s not good. 

Fall Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Time for Fall Shut Down

This tip comes in capital letters. It’s that important.


If water freezes and expands, things break, and that means a costly repair.

You need a wall of air to get that water out, which means professional equipment.

You have a high-pressure air compressor, you say?

It’s not about the pressure. It’s about the volume.

In fact, if you run too much air pressure for too long, you can actually melt your heads.

This is a job best left to the pros. Too much is at stake. 

Fall Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Winterize That Lake Pump

If you use a lake pump for your sprinkler system, it has to be winterized so it doesn’t break from winter’s freezing temperatures. 

Add RV antifreeze to protect it, and don’t forget to cover up the ends of the pipes so critters don’t crawl in and camp out.

Fall Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Backflow Prep

Freezing water in the backflow device will damage the internal components and can crack the body.

If all the water isn’t out of your backflow device, you may need a plumber in the spring.

Every backflow is different and requires a different procedure to winterize it. If your instruction manual gives you more headache than help, this is a great reason to hire an Eau Claire or Minneapolis lawn sprinkler maintenance company.

Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance: Catch the Small Stuff Early

Many of us have a “fix it if it breaks” mentality.

But if you heed early warning signs and catch potential issues early, there might not be problems to fix.

Irrigation technician inspecting sprinkler systemMost homeowners don’t do this kind of thorough sprinkler system inspection, so they don’t see the little issues, the warning signs that turn into big problems later. 

So, by the time their system needs repair, it’s an emergency.

The grass is getting brown. Those expensive plants are dying.

If a leak goes undetected, damage can happen in a hurry. Retaining walls are washed out. Landscaping is ruined.

Are You Sure You Want to Do This Yourself?

We understand the allure of do-it-yourself. It feels good to tackle a job and maybe save some money.

But lawn sprinkler system maintenance requires an understanding of hydraulics and electricity. Nobody expects the average homeowner to know this stuff.

Let us help you out.

Our irrigation maintenance programs start at $179 a year for basic start-up and winterization tasks.

Or choose our Peak Performance Plan starting at $359 and we’ll be there every month between spring start-up and fall winterizing, to make sure everything is running smoothly and take care of any problems.

You’ll see us so often, you’ll be tempted to invite us for dinner.

Our most popular program is right in-between, and starts at $229.

It makes good sense to have a professional irrigation technician check your system regularly.

Why Hire a Pro for Lawn System Sprinkler Maintenance?

In addition to catching problems early and keeping things running smoothly, professional irrigation technicians offer great advice for saving water and money.

Irrigation technician helping customerHow else will you know about the latest water-saving sprinkler heads? 

They’ll let you know if you’re watering too much, or too little.

Ignore lawn sprinkler system maintenance and you could face repairs far more expensive than the cost to pay for maintenance.

Ready for Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance? Trust RainMaster

There’s a lot that goes into maintaining a lawn sprinkler system. Not all Eau Claire or Minneapolis lawn sprinkler maintenance companies make things easy.

Your choice makes the difference. 

Choose RainMaster, and we make it easy, from start to finish:

  • One less phone call, one less to-do: Don’t worry about scheduling your maintenance appointment. Our automatic scheduling takes care of that.
  • Reliability: No worries about whether we’ll show up. You hired the right company. If you’d like to see the Google reviews to back up this claim, feel free to check them out.

Proper irrigation is key to your lawn’s health, and that means a sprinkler system that won’t let you down.

Do you want lawn sprinkler system maintenance help to get your system running properly and efficientlyRequest a quote today! We’ll review your options together so you can make a confident decision. Then, you can finally enjoy your well-watered lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Topics: Irrigation

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