The web browser you are using is out of date and no longer supported by this site. For the best TractorSupply.com experience, please consider updating your browser to the latest version.
Buy Online Pick Up in Store Now available - Tractor Supply Co.
Navigate to Shopping Cart
Cart Item Count
 
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Left Arrow
    My Account
  • Make My Store

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?

    CONFIRM CLEAR INFO?

    Click "YES" to clear all the customer data, cart contents and start new shopping session.

    Your current shopping session will get automatically reset in seconds.
    If you are still active user then please click "NO"

    Changing your store affects your localized pricing. This includes the price of items you already have in your shopping cart. Are you sure you want to change your store?

    Your nearest store doesn't match your preferred store. Do you want to change the nearest store as your preferred store?


    • To Shop Online
    • To Check In-Store Availability

    click here
    We do not share this information with anyone. For details,please view our Privacy Policy
    X

    Please enable your microphone.

    X

    We Are Listening...

    Say something like...

    "Show me 4health dog food..."

    You will be taken automatically
    to your search results.

    X

    Your speech was not recognized

    Click the microphone in the search bar to try again, or start typing your search term.

    X

    We are searching now

    Your search results
    will display momentarily...


    Sprinkler Pump Troubleshooting

    sprinkler pump

    Lawn and garden sprinkler systems are the best option for anyone wanting to maintain a regular and hassle-free watering schedule. When maintaining a sprinkler pump, some troubleshooting and/or testing may be required to identify potential issues.

    Here are some common symptoms, possoble causes, and corrective actions for maintaining a lawn sprinkler pump.

    Symptom 1: Sprinkler Pump will not Start

    If your sprinkler pump will not start, there are a few possible causes:

    • The system pressure has not dropped to the switch's "On" or "Cut-in" pressure (valid only if controlling pump with a pressure switch).
    • Fuse or circuit breaker in your fuse box or breaker box has blown or tripped.
    • The pump's motor is set to incorrect voltage, or, voltage being fed to motor does not match the motor's rated voltage.
    • The voltage at pump motor is too low.
    • Pressure switch contacts are dirty or burned (valid only if controlling pump with pressure switch).
    • Power wires are loose / disconnected.
    • Starting component of motor has failed.
    • The motor has failed.

    Go down the list of possible causes to determine the problem with the pump.

    Has the System Pressure Dropped?

    • The zone valve may not be opening to allow water to move. Try checking or repairing the zone valve.

    Has the fuse or circuit breaker blown?

    • Check all wiring, pressure switch, and motor to make sure there aren't any loose wires or connections.

    Is the Motor Set to the Wrong Voltage?

    • Read the owner's manual to see what the correct voltage is for your pump and how to reset the pump to the correct voltage.

    Is the Pump Motor Voltage Too Low?

    • Measure the motor's voltage while it is trying to run. Comapare to the base voltage of what is supposed to go to the motor. If the voltage at the motor is more than 5% lower than the base voltage, check for loose connections or wire that is too light in gauge for the horsepower and length of wire.

    Are the Pressure Switch Contacts Dirty or Damaged?

    • Measure the voltage on the motor side of the switch to see if the proper voltage is getting through. If not, replace the pressure switch.

    Are Wires Loose or Disconnected?

    • Check the voltage at motor (and/or pressure switch) to determine which wire(s) are loose and repair as needed.

    Has the Motor's Starting Component Failed?

    • Test the motor's capacitor and start contactor to see if they are functioning properly. Replace as needed.

    Has the Motor Failed?

    • If everything else checks out okay, then the motor on the lawn sprinkler has probably failed. Replace the motor or the entire pump.

    Symptom 2: Sprinkler Pump Motor Runs but No Water is being Pumped to the Destination

    If your sprinkler pump sounds like it's running, but you aren't seeing any water coming out, there are a few possible causes:

    • The pump has not been primed.
    • The pump is sucking air.
    • The water depth in your water well is too deep.
    • The check valve is installed upside down or is stuck in the closed position.
    • The pump motor is running on the wrong voltage.
    • There is too much restriction in the suction pipe.
    • The check valve, tee, or elbow is installed too close to the pump inlet.
    • The suction pipe is not far enough down into the water source.
    • The end of the suction pipe is burried in mud or dirt.
    • The suction pipe is frozen.

    Has the Pump been Primed?

    • Follow the directions in your owner's manual regarding priming the pump.

    Is the Pump Sucking Air?

    • Your suction pipe may have small leaks around the joints or other connection points where air can be pulled in. The entire length of the suction pipe and all fittings must be completely air tight. You can test this by wrapping every joint with plastic wrap to temporarily seal air leaks.

    Is the Well Water Too Deep?

    • The depth-to-water is the height in elevation from the pump to the surface water source. Sprinkler & centrifugal pumps are not able to pump water more than 25' up.

    Is the Check Valve Installed Upside Down or Closed?

    • The pump's check valve must be installed in the direction of water flow according to the arrow on the valve.
    • Make sure the valve is able to open and allow flow.

    Is the Motor Running on the Wrong Voltage?

    • For dual-voltage motors, confirm that the motor is set to the same voltage that you have it connected to.
    • For single voltage motors, make sure you have connected the same voltage that the motor is built to accept.

    Is there Too Much Restriction in the Suction Pipe?

    • Using a suction pipe that is too narrow, too long, or has too many elbows can cause restriction in the pump. Never use a pipe that is narrower than the suction port.
    • Limit the number of elbows.
    • Keep the suction pipe as short as possible. If you do have a long suction pipe, increase the pipe size from that of the suction port size.

    Is the Check Valve, Tee, or Elbow Installed Too Close to the Pump Inlet?

    • Use a straight section of pipe at the pump's suction port (between the pump and the first elbow, tee, or check valve) that is a minimum of ten times the pipe's diameter. Use 24 inches to be safe. Having an elbow, tee, check valve, or other disruption too close to the inlet of the pump can cause cavitation inside the pump.

    Is the Suction Pipe Submerged Deep Enough?

    • Make sure the end of the suction pipe is submerged far enough into the water.

    Is the Suction Pipe Burried in Mud?

    • Make sure the suction pipe is not too close to the bottom of the well, lake, or water source so that it cannot pick up mud, dirt, or other debris. Raise the level of the pipe by putting bags of concrete on the floor of the water source so the pipe can rest on top without getting clogged.

    Is the Suction Pipe Frozen?

    • Make sure suction pipe is not frozen due to exposure to cold. Bury the pipes below frost line for permanent solution.

    Symptom 3: Pump Runs for a Short Time, Delivers Water, but Shuts Off Again

    If your sprinkler pump is running for a short amount of time, delivering water, but shutting off again, there are a few possible causes:

    • The voltage is too low.
    • The circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown.
    • The pump is sucking air.
    • The depth-to-water in the water well is too deep.
    • The motor is operating on the wrong voltage.
    • The pump is cavitating.
    • The impeller and/or diffuser is worn.

    Is the Voltage Too Low?

    • Measure the motor's voltage while it is trying to run. Comapare to the base voltage of what is supposed to go to the motor. If the voltage at the motor is more than 5% lower than the base voltage, check for loose connections or wire that is too light in gauge for the horsepower and length of wire.

    Has the Circuit Breaker Blown?

    • Inspect the pump for a jammed impeller or other damage. Clear the blockage if possible so the impeller can rotate freely.
    • Ensure that the wire that runs from the breaker or fuse box to the pump is of a heavy enough gauge. Replace as needed.
    • Make sure the power wires are not touching or grounded where they connect into the motor.
    • Restrict the pump's output to keep the pump within its designed performance range. Since the motor on a sprinkler pump is free flowing, it will draw more amps when it is allowed to flow lots of water with no back-pressure.

    Is the Pump Sucking Air?

    • Your suction pipe may have small leaks around the joints or other connection points where air can be pulled in. The entire length of the suction pipe and all fittings must be completely air tight. You can test this by wrapping every joint with plastic wrap to temporarily seal air leaks.

    Is the Depth-to-Water Too Great?

    • The depth-to-water is the height in elevation from the pump to the surface water source. Sprinkler & centrifugal pumps are not able to pump water more than 25' up.

    Is the Motor Operating on the Wrong Voltage?

    • For dual-voltage motors, confirm that the motor is set to the same voltage that you have it connected to.
    • For single voltage motors, make sure you have connected the same voltage that the motor is built to accept.

    Is the Pump Cavitating?

    • Cavitation is when bubbles are present inside the water pump or water pipes. We recommend a straight section of pipe at the pump's suction port (between pump and first elbow, tee, or check valve) that is a minimum of ten times the pipe diameter. Use 24 inches to be safe. Having an elbow, tee, check valve, or other disruption too close to the inlet of the pump can cause air pockets to form inside the pump.
    • If the pump is flowing too much water with not enough back-pressure, air pockets can form. Reduce the number of heads or otherwise reduce pump's output.

    Is the Impeller and/or Diffuser Worn?

    • If all items above check out okay, overhaul the pump. Replace the impeller, diffuser, and/or all necessary seals and gaskets.

    Symptom 4: Pump Moves Water, but Not Enough

    If your sprinkler pump is not moving enough water, there are a few possible causes:

    • The pump is sucking air.
    • The depth-to-water in the water well is too deep.
    • The motor is operating on the wrong voltage.
    • The sprinkler system simply requires more water than the pump can supply.
    • The pipes in the system are too narrow.
    • There are restrictions in the pipes.
    • There is debris in the sprinkler heads.
    • The impeller and/or diffuser is worn.
    • You have the wrong type of pump.

    Is the Pump Sucking Air?

    • Your suction pipe may have small leaks around the joints or other connection points where air can be pulled in. The entire length of the suction pipe and all fittings must be completely air tight. You can test this by wrapping every joint with plastic wrap to temporarily seal air leaks.

    Is the Depth-to-Water Too Great?

    • The depth-to-water is the height in elevation from the pump to the surface water source. Sprinkler & centrifugal pumps are not able to pump water more than 25' up.

    Is the Motor Operating on the Wrong Voltage?

    • For dual-voltage motors, confirm that the motor is set to the same voltage that you have it connected to.
    • For single voltage motors, make sure you have connected the same voltage that the motor is built to accept.

    Does the Sprinkler System Require More Water than the Pump can Supply?

    • Check the performance table to find the pump's performance at the depth-to-water in your setup and the pressure required at the pump. Adjust the number of heads in the zone, the GPM capacity of the heads, or split the pump system into properly-sized zones to match the pump's performance.

    Are the Pipes Too Narrow?

    • Replace the piping with larger diameter pipe. Narrow pipes create friction that causes lower pressure. Using pipes with a larger diameter allows more pressure to reach the end of the system.

    Are there Restrictions in the Pipes?

    • Too many elbows, kinked pipe, rust, or scale buildup in can cause pressure loss and flow restriction. Check the pipes for obstructions.
    • Use 45 degree angles for elbows instead of 90 degree angles.

    Is there Debris in the Sprinkler Heads?

    • If the problem happened after you worked on piping, or if you do not have sufficient filtering on the pickup pipe from the water source, then rust, pipe scale, sand, or other debris may have been passed through the pump and is partially blocking the spray head. You'll need to follow the recommendations of the sprinkler head manufacturer to clean out the heads.

    Is the Impeller and/or Diffuser Worn?

    • If all items above check out okay, overhaul the pump. Replace the impeller, diffuser, and/or all necessary seals and gaskets.

    Do you have the Right Type of Pump?

    • If your system does not use a lot of water (GPM) but needs more pressure (PSI), the sprinkler pump will feel a lot of back-pressure. You may need to consider switching to a shallow well jet pump that won't move as much water but that will build better pressure.

    Symptom 5: The Spray Patterns coming from the Sprinkler Heads are Too Small

    If the sprinkler heads are not putting out the right amount of water, there are a few possible causes:

    • The pump is sucking air.
    • The depth-to-water in the water well is too deep.
    • The motor is operating on the wrong voltage.
    • There are restrictions in the pipes.
    • The pump is not getting enough water from the source.
    • The impeller and/or diffuser is worn.

    Is the Pump Sucking Air?

    • Your suction pipe may have small leaks around the joints or other connection points where air can be pulled in. The entire length of the suction pipe and all fittings must be completely air tight. You can test this by wrapping every joint with plastic wrap to temporarily seal air leaks.

    Is the Depth-to-Water Too Great?

    • The depth-to-water is the height in elevation from the pump to the surface water source. Sprinkler & centrifugal pumps are not able to pump water more than 25' up.

    Is the Motor Operating on the Wrong Voltage?

    • For dual-voltage motors, confirm that the motor is set to the same voltage that you have it connected to.
    • For single voltage motors, make sure you have connected the same voltage that the motor is built to accept.

    Are there Restrictions in the Pipes?

    • Too many elbows, kinked pipe, rust, or scale buildup in can cause pressure loss and flow restriction. Check the pipes for obstructions.
    • Use 45 degree angles for elbows instead of 90 degree angles.

    Is the Pump Getting Enough Water from the Source?

    • If you are drawing water from a sand point, you may need to put down more points and tee them together.
    • If you are drawing water from lake, the suction screen may be partially blocked by debris or algae.

    Is the Impeller and/or Diffuser Worn?

    • If all items above check out okay, overhaul the pump. Replace the impeller, diffuser, and/or all necessary seals and gaskets.

    Symptom 6: The Pump is Leaking

    If your sprinkler pump is leaking, there are a few possible causes:

    • A pipe or plug is loose.
    • A body clamp is loose and/or body o-ring is bad.
    • The mechanical shaft seal is bad.
    • The pump body or seal plate is cracked.

    Is a Pipe or Plug Loose?

    • Check that the suction pipe, discharge pipe, and drain plugs are all taped with teflon tape and are airtight.

    Is a Body Clamp Loose or O-Ring Bad?

    • Loosen, then re-tighten the stainless steel clamp that encircles the pump body.
    • Tap the pump body and clamp with a soft rubber mallet while tightening so the o-ring seats properly. If leak persists, replace the o-ring.

    Is the Mechanical Shaft Seal Bad?

    • If water is running out at the open spot where motor meets the pump body, the mechanical shaft seal may be bad. Replace the shaft seal.

    Is the Pump Body or Seal Plate Cracked?

    • Inspect the pump body and seal plate for cracks. Replace the cracked piece.

    Symptom 7: The Pump Looses its Prime

    If your sprinkler pump is loosing its prime, there are a few possible causes:

    • There is a leak in the system.
    • Air is getting into the impeller area of the pump.

    Is there a Leak in the System?

    • The foot valve or check valve in the suction line is not holding. Replace the valve.
    • Leaks in the suction pipe can also allow water out. Check and repair leaks at joints so they are airtight.

    Is Air Entering the Impeller?

    • Check for suction side air leaks. The entire length of suction pipe and all fittings must be completely airtight. You can test this by wrapping every joint with plastic wrap to temporarily seal air leaks.
    • The water level at the water source may be dropping below the suction pickup pipe. Put the suction pipe down further into the water. If drawing from a lake, be sure end of suction pipe is below the water's surface by a minimum amount equal to six times the pipe diameter in order to prevent a vortex. For example, a 2 inch diameter pipe should be submerged at least 12 inches below the water's surface. Deeper is better.
    • Cavitation, or the formation of air pockets, in the pump is great enough to lose prime. Use a minimum of 2 feet of straigh pipe at the inlet to pump. There should be no elbows, tees, or check valves in the last two feet of pipe before the inlet of the pump. Air pockets are also caused by running the pump with too much flow and not enough back-pressure. If this is the case, provide more back pressure.