Sprinkler System Checklist




Sprinkler Selection & Layout



Are lawn areas and landscape plants on separate zones?


If not, relocate sprinklers.

Are rotors and spray heads on separate zones?


If not, relocate sprinklers. Piping or other changes may be necessary.

Are lawn and plant areas that require watering receiving it?


If not, adjust spray pattern or replace with nozzle that has correct spray pattern.

Are pavement areas or plants that do not require water receiving it?


If so, replace or adjust nozzles to receive the appropriate arc pattern or relocate sprinklers.

Are spray patterns free from obstructions?


If not, trim plants or relocate sprinklers.

Are sprinklers covering at least 80 percent of the distance to adjacent sprinklers?


If not, relocate sprinklers to provide head-to-head coverage.

Are sprinklers of similar make and model used in each zone?


If not, match manufacturer and model within each zone.

Do all rotors or spray heads within a zone have the same flow rate?


If not, replace sprinklers or nozzles as needed to match.

Do sprinklers rise up enough to provide adequate coverage?


If not, replace short heads with taller ones of the same model or add fittings to raise height.

Time Clock Settings

Are rotor zones set to run 45-60 minutes?


If not, adjust as needed.

Are spray zones set to run 15-20 minutes?


If not, adjust as needed.

Is the clock set to operate during allowable day(s) and times?


Know and follow local watering restrictions. Adjust as needed.

Rain Sensor Device

Is the sensor blocked by plants or other objects?


If so, move sensor or prune plants.

Is the sensor wired into the clock properly?


If not, follow manufacture's wiring instructions.

Is the sensor checked annually for proper operation?


Check annually. See Do It Yourself Rain Sensor Checkup.

Maintenance Issues

Are sprinklers or pipes damaged?


If so, repair or replace with similar model.

Are sprinklers clogged?


If so, clean nozzles, screens and filters by soaking and scrubbing with a toothbrush. If many are clogged, zone flushing may be necessary. Install filters or screens to minimize clogging.

Any leaks?


If so, check rubber seals for tears and debris. Clean or replace with similar model.

Are sprinklers leaning?


If so, place upright. Stake to protect if this occurs often, or consider moving the sprinkler. On slopes, heads should be aligned perpendicular to the slope.

Is water leaking from the lowest head when the zone is off?


If so, install a check valve or replace sprinkler with one containing a built-in check valve.

Landscape Appearance

Do lawn and plants appear healthy?


Check for other causes of problems first (damage, fertilizer deficiency, etc.). If not, check plant's water needs against amount of water applied.

Are there excessively dry or wet spots?


If so, check sprinkler spacing and application rates.

Are there visible holes in the ground?


If so, check for leaks, fix, then fill holes.

Are there any areas that are visibly eroded?


If so, check for leaks, make repairs, fill area, and cover with mulch, sod or groundcover plants.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to provide step-by-step instruction on sprinkler system repairs and design issues, but created to be a checklist for homeowners desiring to know more about efficient sprinkler system management. Equipment operation manuals should be consulted for proper use and repair instructions. Many manufacturers provide the manuals electronically on their website. It is suggested that the assistance of a professional licensed irrigation contractor be sought for those tasks beyond the knowledge and abilities of the homeowner. Persons involved in the creation, production, or delivery of this information shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages (including property damages, damages for loss of business profits, business interruption, etc.) arising out of the use of this information, or any omission or inaccuracy of any information.


* Adapted from a publication created by Christine Claus, St. Petersburg Water Resources Department, and Dr. Joan Bradshaw, University of Florida IFAS, with funding provided by the Pinellas-Anclote River basin Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.