You've looked at the system to make sure there are no broken pipes,
right? Sprinklers in our neighborhood used to get very low pressure in
early am because that was when everyone had their timers set to start.
City or well?
It's crazy, sometimes they all work, sometimes none work, and
sometimes only one zone will come on full blast (and the others barely
trickle)---- the one that is the farthest away.
I live in the city. Inspected parts of the pipes, some are buried
underground and can't see them. Could it be related to the neighbors?
I would think that if there were a clog in a sprinkler head, why would they
work part of the time, but will not work at other times ?
How about the water pressure in your house.... does it seem to stay even,
always a good pressure ?
Do you use a pump, or do you have municipal water ?
When the water kicks on, the rocks (obstructions) go to the orifice in the
sprayer. Another time, they don't, or rearrange themselves differently.
Each time, they drop to the bottom waiting for the next wave. And every
time, it's different until they become clogged in one spot.
Based on that description, it is a system pressure problem. I would
install a pressure gauge and see what the pressure is doing both with
the sprinklers on and off and at different times of the day.
I suspect that someone up thread has it correct - all the neighbors
trying to water at the same time.
Sprinkler systems need both sufficient pressure and sufficient flow
volume. One or the other might not be up to the task.
It's entirely possible that it is a neighborhood problem (assuming you
don't run the sprinkler off of a well) - ask around. It is also
possible that you have a leak or diminished capacity water main. If
your house is older and the water main is galvanized, the inside may
be partially blocked - galvanizing doesn't last forever and it rusts
from the inside out. That would lower your flow volume considerably.
Test it by filling a 2 1/2 gallon bucket at different times of the day
and night. Time how long it takes to fill the bucket.
You need to get a water pressure gauge, ~$10, and hook it up to a hose
bib and take repeated reading throughout the day and night. Check the
pressure with nothing at all running, then turn on the sprinkler zones
one at a time and see what the water pressure is at the hose bib. You
should see the pressure drop as you turn on each zone, then the
pressure should build back up as the heads pop up. It should
stabilize at a pressure of at least 30 PSI - that's a fairly typical
minimum pressure for correct operation. If you see one zone has lower
pressure, you may have a leak.
I suspect it is a combination of problems.
If the problem zones have automatic drain valves, it could be that the
pressure is not getting high enough to close the valves, so the valves
leak large amounts of water, so the pressure can't get high enough to
close the valves. A master valve that is not all the way open could
cause this problem.
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