How to Replace a Broken Sprinkler Head

April 17, 2019

Sprinkler heads can easily be damaged by mowers or trimmers, especially if the head sits fairly high out of the ground. Most homeowners can do the repairs at home without calling for the help of a professional. Follow these simple, cost-conscious steps to replace a broken sprinkler head.

Purchasing a Replacement Sprinkler Head

A replacement sprinkler head can be found at your local hardware store. Make sure to get all the specifics before you head out to purchase a new head. It doesn’t need to be the same brand as your broken sprinkler head, but it does need to be the same type: pop-up or impact. In addition, the new head should also match the inches-per-hour (iph) or gallons-per-minute (gpm) delivery rate. If you install the wrong head, it can over- or under water that section of your lawn or garden and possibly cause other heads in that same area to underperform.

Remove the Broken Sprinkler Head

To remove the broken sprinkler head, use a small garden shovel to cut an eight-inch circle around the old head. Pry out the dirt and set it aside for later. When you reach the water line, unscrew the broken head. The dug out area may fill with water if the head is located at the low spot of a watering zone; if this happens, use a wet/dry shop vacuum to suck out the mud.

Cut the New Sprinkler Head to Height

If you salvaged the old riser from the damaged sprinkler head, remove it and screw it onto the new head. Next, test it by screwing it into the water line. The top of the head should be flush with the ground, not sticking up too far above the grass. If it’s not the right height, grab a new riser with multiple threaded sections and cut it to the correct length. Once you get the proper height, remove the head and flush the line.

Flush the Water Line

Dirt may get into the water line fitting while you work. If you can’t remove all the dirt with your vacuum, you’ll want to be sure to flush it. To do this, build a flushing tool with PVC pipe. Then screw the flushing tool into the water line and aim it away from your work area. Turn on the water for that zone and let it run for about 30 seconds. To finish, clear the pipe by sliding the vacuum hose nozzle over the pipe and sucking out all the remaining water.

Install the New Head

Screw the new sprinkler head into the newly flushed water line and begin filling the hole with dirt. Make sure the head is aligned properly so it sits straight in the hole, and keep checking that its level as you fill the hole back up.

If you’ve never replaced a broken sprinkler head, or if you’re unsure how, it’s best to call in a professional for help. Call Reddi Irrigation at 316-858-0780 for a free estimate and friendly service.

Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.