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Learn How to Replace a Sprinkler Head

Question: How Do You Replace a Sprinkler Head?

What You’ll Need to Repair the Head of a Sprinkler:


Steps to Replace a Sprinkler Head:

  1. Turn Off the Water Supply: Before you begin, make sure to turn off the irrigation system to avoid any water spraying while you work. This step optional due to the fact the system should not be running while you replace the head.
  2. Dig Around the Sprinkler Head: Use a shovel or garden spade to carefully dig around the existing sprinkler head. Make sure you dig a wide enough area to work comfortably without damaging the surrounding pips. Clear about 6-8 inches around the head and a few inches deep.
  3. Remove the Old Sprinkler Head: Once you’ve exposed the base of the sprinkler head, unscrew it by turning it counterclockwise. If it’s difficult to unscrew by hand, you may use pliers, but be careful not to damage the pipe it’s attached to.
  4. Clean the Area: Remove any dirt or debris from the threads of the pipe where the sprinkler head was attached. Use a towel or small cloth to clean it out to ensure a good seal for the new head.
  5. Install the New Sprinkler Head: Screw the new sprinkler head onto the pipe clockwise by hand. Make sure it is secure but avoid overtightening, which can damage the threads or the head itself.
  6. Check the Sprinkler Head Alignment: Adjust the sprinkler head so it’s at the correct height and direction, ensuring it will properly water your lawn or garden without spraying onto sidewalks or buildings. Make sure it is not spraying the concrete/sidewalk or anywhere that does not need to be watered to avoid water waste.
  7. Fill in the Hole: Once the new head is installed and aligned, carefully fill the hole back in with the dirt you removed, packing it down around the base of the sprinkler head.
  8. Turn On the Water and Test: Turn on your irrigation system and observe the new sprinkler head to make sure it’s working correctly. Check for any leaks around the base and adjust if necessary.


Helpful Tips When Replacing a Yard Sprinkler Head

By following these steps, you can effectively replace a faulty or damaged sprinkler head and keep your irrigation system working efficiently.


Common Problems When Replacing a Sprinkler for your Yard

When you are replacing a sprinkler head you can run into some issues, and we have listed them below for everyone. If you do keep running into any of these issues, we always recommend consulting a professional or hire a professional if the issue persists.

Mismatched Sprinkler Head: Using a replacement head that doesn’t match the specifications of the existing system (like flow rate, spray pattern, or radius) can lead to inefficient watering or dry spots.

Damaged Threads: Cross-threading or over-tightening the sprinkler head can damage the threads on the head or the riser, leading to leaks or difficulty installing the head properly.

Leaks: If the sprinkler head or the connection isn’t sealed properly, it can result in water leaking around the base of the sprinkler head. This might be due to worn or missing washers or incorrect installation.

Debris in the Line: Soil, sand, or other debris can enter the line when the head is removed, especially if the water isn’t shut off during the process. This debris can clog the new sprinkler head or the valve.

Pressure Issues: Inconsistencies in water pressure can affect the performance of the new sprinkler head. If the pressure is too high, it can cause misting, which leads to water waste. Too low pressure will result in inadequate water coverage. Sometimes with pressure issues you may need a pressure regulator, have a leak in your system somewhere, or have a root pinch (if you have trees in the yard)

Difficulty in Removal: Old or corroded sprinkler heads can be difficult to remove. The heads might be stuck due to rust or soil compaction around them.


At NationScapes we get all our heads/nozzles from either Rainbird or Hunter!

Learn How to Replace a sprinkler head from Rainbird (offsite link to Rainbird’s website)

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