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Having a clear picture of a sprinkler system’s construction helps homeowners stay on top of maintenance, recognize watering problems, and communicate effectively with sprinkler professionals when troubleshooting system issues.

Heads and Sprayers

Sprinkler heads and sprayers are usually the first components most people think of when it comes to sprinkler systems – likely because these are the most visible elements of the system. Sprinkler system professionals use various types of sprinkler heads when planning an irrigation system installation – each with its own specific characteristics and features designed for the effective dispersion of water.

Numerous factors are considered when choosing the type of sprinkler heads used – including the type and height of plants being watered, the type of soil on the property, the amount of sun exposure, and the slope of the property.

Since different areas of a property have different watering needs, system designers divide those areas into watering zones. Within each zone, specific sprinkler heads are strategically placed to provide full, even coverage for all plantings within the zone.


For most irrigation systems, somewhere on the property is an in-ground valve box (easily recognizable by its green lid). This is where the sprinkler system’s valves are housed – with each watering zone connected via a designated valve. Valves are essential for maintaining consistent pressure within the system. A home or business is unlikely to have the water output capacity to run every sprinkler simultaneously, so zones are watered one at a time. A signal is sent to each valve, which then opens. Water pressure builds in that zone and activates the sprayer heads until another signal closes the valve.

Backflow Preventer & Shut-Off Valve

Most sprinkler systems have a backflow preventer. In fact, many municipalities require it, and for a good reason: it helps prevent water in the irrigation system from contaminating drinking water. These are typically found near the shut-off valve, but in some older systems, they may be buried in an in-ground box, like the system’s valves. Shut-off valves are usually installed near a water meter while backflow preventers can be installed further away when not located directly next to the shut-off valve.


The controller is one of the most important parts of the irrigation system, so it’s essential to know where it’s located and have a basic understanding of how to use it. The controller is the ‘brain’ of the sprinkler system, sending signals to the valves that enable them to open and close as per a preset schedule. Controllers come in varying degrees of functionality, ranging from extremely simple to Wi-Fi-enabled versions that allow fine-tuning a watering schedule from a mobile phone. The controller can be attached to a home’s exterior or inside the garage or basement.

These are some of the main components of a sprinkler system. Knowing where to locate them and their functions helps homeowners better maintain a system and prevent disruptions and repairs. A homeowner needing a refresher, or wanting to make sure their system and all its components are in peak working condition, can call KC Sprinkler Pros for a thorough maintenance audit for their system, ensuring it’s working properly, and answer any questions.

Please call (816) 703-9760 to schedule a maintenance visit with the KC Sprinkler Pros or click here to send the team a message online!