Solving the 4 Most Common Sprinkler Problems

 In Detect Water Leaks, Irrigation Controller Rebate, Resource Central, Sprinkler Consultations

Free Sprinkler Consultations

At the end of a busy summer, when sprinklers often run at night or early morning, water customers may no longer be thinking about maintaining their landscape irrigation system. But hot seasonal weather is the perfect time to troubleshoot the common water-wasting problems that plague in-ground sprinkler systems.

According to Thornton’s partner Resource Central, the following challenges (and a lot more) can be discovered and solved after a water customer receives a free, personalized Sprinkler Consultation.

Broken Heads

A single leak or broken head can waste between 9 to 16 gallons of water per minute. Continuing to run a typical watering program with one broken head can waste up to 11,520 gallons of water per month.


Each zone with overspray can waste 1.6 to 8 gallons of water per minute. That’s up to 5,760 gallons of water wasted per month per zone with a typical watering schedule.

Low & Tilted Heads

Low heads get obstructed by grass and the water is unable to reach its intended area. This often causes uneven distribution of water leading to brown, dry spots of grass and misting.

Tilted heads prevent water from being properly distributed, causing some areas to be overwatered and some underwatered. This can create runoff, brown spots, and overspray.

Unintended Irrigation Controller Programming

It is common to have unintended watering happening without your knowledge when the system is at work late at night or early in the morning.

Look for hidden programs, extra start-times and long watering times. For example, an extra start time on a system with 4 zones, running 15 minute run times, 3 days per week could easily add up to an additional 7,200 gallons per month or more.

The Solution

Just like a car, sprinklers need an occasional check-up to make sure they’re watering as efficiently as possible. Leave it to the experts. During a scheduled appointment that lasts approximately 90 minutes, a trained sprinkler technician will conduct efficiency tests on your sprinkler system to determine exactly how long to run each zone without over watering. The inspection includes:

  • A visual assessment to pinpoint problems
  • Tests to measure precipitation rates—how much water is coming out of sprinkler system
  • Tests to determine distribution uniformity—how evenly the water is covering the intended area
  • Soil sample to determine root depth and soil type

In addition to real-time remedies, water customers receive a customized watering schedule, a diagnostic list of potential problem areas to tackle, and practical DIY sprinkler maintenance tips.

The Results

Almost 100 Thornton residents had a Sprinkler Consultation completed in 2020 where technicians found that most participants had inefficient watering schedules due to the type of clay soil in the landscape. Nearly 761 sprinkler inefficiencies such as broken, clogged, or tilted sprinkler heads were detected that lead to significant water waste over time. Customer satisfaction was rated at 96% and because of these Sprinkler Consultations, the city estimates an total savings of 465,000 gallons of water every year.

Scheduling an Appointment

Sprinkler Consultations are safe. Resource Central prioritizes the health and safety for staff and program participants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Technicians follow CDC and public health department guidance while conducting all inspections.

Sprinkler Consultations are free to qualifying Thornton water customers by requesting an appointment with Resource Central, or by calling 303.999.3824. Learn more at

Without Water Life Would Be Pretty Dry graphic
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