Sprinkler System Not Working in All Zones: Reasons And The Ultimate Fix

When you have trouble with your sprinkler system, you need to fix that as soon as possible. Otherwise, it may get totally beyond repair, and you don’t want that!

One of the common issues we face is the sprinkler system not working in all zones. It may happen due to many different reasons, even if you are doing proper maintenance.

So it would be better to learn some tricks so you can get the sprinkler to work when you need it.

However, not all of us are familiar with mechanical tasks; thus, here are some tips for you to handle the situation flawlessly. So without wasting much time, let’s get started.

Solutions When Sprinkler System Not Spraying in All Zones

sprinkler system not working in all zones

When you install a sprinkler system in your lawn, it is divided into two or more zones to water independently each zone. Every single zone has multiple sprinklers to spray water.

And when multiple sprinkler zones not working, here are the things you need to perform.

  • Check the Controller

First of all, take off the cover of the controller system and check if the wires are attached to the terminal.

If there are any loose wires, you have to connect them instantly to make things work.

And when there is nothing wrong with the wires, it is time to inspect the voltage zone with a millimeter. Usually, the multimeter will register between 24-28 volts.

But if it is lesser than the number suggested on the instruction manual, the controller is undoubtedly defective.

And here is how you can replace the controller.

Things you will need:

  • Multimeter
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Owner’s Manual


  • Firstly, wrap a piece of tape around each wire.
  • Secondly, write down the name or numbers of the terminal, then pull the wires out. You can use a Phillips screwdriver to do that.
  • Thirdly, remove the screws and take the controller down from the wall. Afterwards, install the new controller.
  • Lastly, put the wires into the accurate terminals by checking on the writings you did. Then, fasten the screws to hold down the terminal to keep the wires attached perfectly.

Now the controller system should work just fine.

  • Check The Solenoid And Wiring

Here is another troubleshoot you can do if half of the sprinkler zone not working accurately.

When the controller, fuse, and transformers are working fine, it is time for you to check the solenoid and Wiring. Just set the multimeter to “ohms” and touch one lead to the common terminal and the other to the zone’s terminal.

If the register is between 20-60ohms, you don’t have to worry about anything.

When it is lower than the recommended amount, you should know that the solenoid switch that activated the sprinklers is damaged.

Things You Will Need:

  • Multimeter
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Owner’s Manual

Here is how you can replace the solenoid switch.

  • First of all, you need to turn the controller off. And then, shut the backflow preventer on the water hose, which is connected to the valve.
  • Afterwards, rotate the wire connectors and off the cables from the solenoid to the common and field cables. When you are done with that, you can detach the solenoid by disentangling the cables.
  • Now, unscrew the solenoid from the valve, and then install the new one. All you have to do is to coil the end of one cable to the common cable. And take the other cable; attach the end of it to the field cable. Then you are good to go.

You can watch this video if you need more help changing the sprinkler valve solenoid.

What To Do When The Sprinkler System Doesn’t Change Zones?

Sometimes the sprinkler system won’t change zones, and here are the troubleshooting methods you can perform to solve the dilemma.

  • Valve Issues

Each sprinkler zone comes with separate valves, and when it gets damaged, it may stop working.

Therefore, you need to scrutinize the valve. If it is broken, damaged, rusted or stuck, you may need to replace the whole thing right at this instance.

  • Leaks and Clogs

If the sprinkler system is stuck in one zone, maybe there is a leak or clog in the system. Unfortunately, it is challenging for a typical homeowner to figure out these damages.

Hence, you may need to hire a professional to fix this issue.

When there is a leak in the system, the water bill will be increasing rapidly. Thus, you need to eliminate this problem as soon as you can.

But while checking for these problems, you may need to go through the valve, solenoid, fuse, and other electrical things.

If you are not a professional, there are chances that you may get electrocuted!

Therefore, it would be better if you seek professional help to fix this problem. But if you are an expert, feel free to do anything you want!

Why Do All My Sprinkler Zones Come On At Once?

sprinkler system won't change zones

When it is about sprinkler management, another common question is, why do all my sprinkler zones come on at once?

This problem often occurs when the sprinkler system was winterized or turned off for a long time without proper maintenance.

There are mainly two reasons that can cause this issue.

Reason One – Trapped Air in the Valve

If a small air particle gets stuck in the small water ports of the valve, the flow will be interrupted.

As the water flow keeps the diaphragm closed, the system will stay open at once.

How to Fix This Issue?

  • First of all, you have to turn on the main water supply. And then, go to each valve individually and try to open and close them manually.
  • If the valve bonnet is a screw, you don’t have to open up the whole thing. Just keep it slightly opened and wait until the water squirts out of it.
  • Now turn on the sprinkler system and if you are still having the same problem, try to perform the previous step a few times. If the trapped air causes the problem, it will be solved after several tries.

Reason Two – The Valve Needs To Be Throttled

When you are assured that the problem didn’t cause trapped air in the water ports, you may need to throttle the valve.

How to Fix This Issue?

  • Firstly, you need to close the flow control knob partially. Just perform one complete clockwise turn to do that. After that, wait for a few seconds, and if the valve doesn’t close, twist another half turn. You can keep doing this until it closes properly.
  • When it closes, the valve will make a whooshing sound. If it doesn’t, the valve is broken, and you need to replace it.
  • However, when it is perfectly closed, turn on your sprinkler system if it is working or not. If it is working, you can go on with sprinkling water everywhere!

Sprinkling System Maintenance Tips

I faced similar sorts of problems and got worried when my Hunter sprinkler system stopped working. I learned the hard way that regular maintenance is the key!

To maintain the top-notch condition of your sprinkler system, here are some tips that you can follow.

  • Set up the watering schedule according to the seasons.
  • Regularly examine the sprinkling system for leaks and clogs.
  • You can install a rain sensor to save water.
  • Always make sure that the blocked sprinkles are adequately cleaned.
  • If the system is having any issues, fix it immediately for better efficiency.
  • You can hire an audit to inspect your sprinkler system during the summer.
The Bottom Line

When using a sprinkler system in your law, you will face few issues in a year. And that’s pretty normal!

Well, we have covered some common problems, such as the sprinkler system not working in all zones, so you can have a better management plan if you ever go through this ordeal!

Maintaining your sprinkler system is effortless if you do it regularly. So if you want to avoid the hassle, make sure you are taking care of it habitually.

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