Repairing a sprinkler system costs an average of $257
Plumbers charge between $50 and $100 per hour to repair sprinkler systems
You could pay as little as $10 for a simple sprinkler head replacement, but system-wide failures could cost $1,000 or more
The size of your sprinkler system, extent of the problem, parts needed, and difficulty of access are the biggest cost-drivers
You can make simple fixes yourself, but for big jobs, always hire a plumber
It costs about $257 on average to repair a sprinkler system, with a typical range of $131 and $391. A sprinkler system will keep your lawn and garden looking green and lush without you having to lift a finger, so if your sprinklers need repairing, it’s important to get it done as quickly as possible to ensure your plants stay happy.
This guide will dive into what causes a sprinkler system to have problems, what factors affect the final cost, and anything else you might need to know.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Sprinkler System per Hour?
Expect to pay an average of $75 per hour for a plumber to repair your sprinklers, with a range of $50 to $100 per hour. How much a plumber will get done in an hour depends widely on the kind of work they're doing.
If they're just replacing a few parts above ground, they could take less than an hour. But if they are having to dig up your system or make extensive repairs, it could take the better part of a day and cost more.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Sprinkler System Near You?
There’s a small difference in price for a sprinkler system depending on where you live.
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll pay on average in various cities:
San Francisco: $380
What Kind of Sprinkler Repair Can I Get on My Budget?
Most homeowners can afford simple sprinkler fixes, but what if you need a total system overhaul? Here’s how much of your system you can get repaired, depending on your budget.
If all you've got to do is replace a sprinkler head that broke, you're likely to pay $10 or less for the part (as well as any gas you used going to the hardware store).
This is generally the low end of what you would expect to pay if the job requires a professional. If it's a simple enough job, the plumber might need to only work on it for an hour or two, leaving you with this relatively modest bill based on a $50 to $100 average labor rate.
While you may get the repair done for as little as $100, the average is closer to around $250. That's because you often not only have to deal with the head, but perhaps other parts like the backflow preventer or even the sprinkler pipe itself.
This is generally the high end of what most people pay, and it can happen if you have a somewhat deep-seated repair with damaged pipes that must be dug out.
$1,000 and Up
If a homeowner has a large sprinkler system covering a wide area, and there’s a wide-ranging problem with it that requires purchasing many parts—not to mention putting in lots of hours of labor to pull the pipes out of the ground—you could see your bill rise to four figures or more. In this case, it may be best to bite the bullet and eat the cost of installing a new sprinkler system.
Sprinkler System Repair Cost Breakdown
There are many variables in a sprinkler system, and the kinds of parts you need to repair your system will rely entirely on the nature of your problem.
Here's a breakdown, according to HomeAdvisor, of some of the items you may need to replace and their typical costs:
Backflow preventer: $125–$900
Wiring (per foot): $0.50–$1.50
You can dive deeper into the cost of a sprinkler head because there are many different types, hence the wide range in prices. For example, a gear-driven sprinkler designed for large yards can cost up to $20 per head, while a simple pop-up sprinkler may cost as little as $2.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Sprinkler Head by Type?
It costs between $1 and $20 to replace a sprinkler head, but which end of that range you end up on will depend largely on what type of sprinkler head you choose.
Here is a breakdown of the cost of each type of sprinkler head:
Fixed spray: $2–$15
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Sprinkler System Yourself?
If you’re fortunate enough to be dealing with a simple problem that requires replacing just one or two parts, you could save a lot of money compared to hiring a contractor. For example, a sprinkler head is pretty simple to replace and can cost you just a few bucks.
Even if you don’t have any background in projects like this, you can generally find help online in the form of instructional videos that offer guidance.
However, if your sprinkler system has wide-ranging problems that are tough to access, it’s time to contact a plumber in your area. A plumber can visit your property in person, take a look at the sprinkler system, run some tests, diagnose the issue, give you some advice, and provide an estimate for troubleshooting your sprinkler system problem.
What Factors Influence the Cost to Repair a Sprinkler System?
The cost to repair a sprinkler system boils down to four main factors: how big your sprinkler system is, how big the problem is, what type of sprinkler head you use (and other parts), and how difficult it will be for a plumber to access the area that needs repairing.
Size of Sprinkler System
As with most projects, the size and scope of it are always going to be the big drivers when it comes to cost. If all you’ve got is a simple sprinkler system for a 200-square-foot yard, that’s going to be a lot easier to deal with than if you have a sprinkler system designed to cover a massive lawn spanning several acres.
Extent of Problem
Do you just have to replace a sprinkler head you accidentally kicked, or are there widespread leaks and flow issues across your system? One you might be able to do yourself in 10 minutes, the other could take a professional many hours to fix.
The parts you need matter as well. If you replace 10 sprinkler heads, you may only need to pay $100 to $200. But if your backflow preventer is shot, that could cost you anywhere between $125 and $900.
Difficulty to Access
An above-ground sprinkler system is easy to access and often won't require you to hire a plumber—and if you do have to hire a plumber, they won't have to work on the project as long. But if they have to start digging up PVC pipes in your yard, your bill will go up quickly.
FAQs About Repairing a Sprinkler System
Why would a sprinkler system stop working?
If your sprinkler system has suddenly stopped working, check to see if the backflow valve has inadvertently been shut off. If that doesn't work, check the wiring to see if there are any cuts or disconnections. Sometimes, a quick check like this can solve the issue; if not, a plumber can diagnose the problem.
How do you know if your sprinkler system is leaking?
A telltale sign that your sprinkler is leaking is if you notice a lot of water pooled around the individual sprinkler, or just notice that it's a lot more muddy and marshy than other parts of your lawn. You might also notice bubbling water coming up from the ground.
All of these are serious signs that should be addressed quickly to avoid excess water usage and damage to your lawn or garden.
Can a sprinkler system leak when it’s off?
Yes, your sprinkler system can leak when it’s shut off, and it's generally due to two main problems: a leaky sprinkler valve and improper grading of the system itself. In the case of the former, a crack or hole could cause it to leak water, but simply repairing the valve should fix it.
If it's a grading issue, that's more serious because it may go undetected, and you could waste a lot of water. It's also possible your system isn't actually leaking and your yard just has poor drainage. Get a professional to take a look.