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Sprinkler Tips: How to Fix a Broken Sprinkler Head

How to Fix a Broken Sprinkler Head

When a sprinkler head breaks, it’s obviously time to find out how to fix a broken sprinkler head!

Don't worry!

It will be cheaper than replacing your whole sprinkler system; it’s easier than you think, and you can almost always do it yourself.

We will show you how to fix a broken sprinkler head in this step-by-step guide.

How to Replace a Broken Sprinkler Head

How to Replace a Broken Sprinkler Head

Sprinkler systems are a major fixture of the residential landscape, watering lawns and gardens all summer long. But as anyone who’s ever had to approach a broken or malfunctioning sprinkler system knows, they require maintenance.

Since you've decided to do the work yourself, make sure you play it safe by following these guidelines.

Step 1: Purchase a Replacement Sprinkler Head That Fits Perfectly

Sprinkler heads are not all the same; they come in a variety of sizes and types. So, make sure you buy one that fits perfectly. Check the size and shape of your existing sprinkler head before you buy a new one. If it’s too big, it won't fit right; if it’s too small, water will leak out around the edges.

To ensure that your new head fits perfectly in place, measure the distance from one end of the pipe where it meets the ground to the other end (not including any fittings). Then, purchase a replacement that matches this distance as close as possible.

If you have a standard sprinkler head with holes that are spaced evenly apart, you should be able to find a replacement easily at your local hardware store or home improvement center. If not, contact the company that made your irrigation system to see if they offer replacements for older models.

Step 2: Turn Off the Water Supply

You will need to turn off the water supply to your sprinkler system before removing or replacing a broken head. This will stop the flow of water through your pipes and allow you to work safely without having to worry about leaks or flooding.

To do so, find the valve where your water line enters into the ground and turn it clockwise until you hear it click into place.

Step 3: Dig Up & Get the Broken Sprayer Out

Once you have turned off the water supply, it’s time to dig up your broken sprinkler head. Use a shovel to carefully remove dirt from around the base of the head until you can see its base plate. Be sure to dig at least one foot away from the pipe itself so that you don’t accidentally damage it while digging. You will have to remove any dirt or debris from around the pipe before attempting to remove the broken sprinkler head.

Step 4: Unscrew the Old Head Step

To remove the sprinkler head, start by unscrewing it from the riser (the small pipe it's attached to) by turning it to the left. If the entire riser came off with the head, gently separate the two pieces.

Plumbers use tape or pipe sealant on the riser to prevent leaks by filling any gaps between the male threads of the riser and the female threads of the sprinkler head. You need to remove those first.

If the riser's threading is damaged, excessively worn, or seems misaligned, you'll need a new riser. If it appears to be in good condition, put on some fresh sealant or tape and screw the riser back onto the water pipe. Be careful not to let any dirt fall into the open water line.

If your riser is damaged, don't worry - it's simple to swap it out for a new one. If the entire riser came out when you removed the sprinkler head, just purchase a replacement that's the same length and width as the old one. Then, apply some thread seal tape to both ends before screwing in the new riser. If only the top of the riser snapped off when you were removing the sprinkler head, use a riser removal T-tool to get rid of the remains of the old riser. After that, it is time to start installing a new riser.

Step 5: Attach the New Head

Use a screwdriver to attach the new head to the water line, then start filling in the hole around it. Be sure to keep the head level as you pack down the dirt with your hand. Once you're finished, replant some grass and give it a good watering to help the roots take hold. Now, test your sprinkler system and make sure it's functioning properly.

What Causes Sprinkler Heads To Break?

What Causes Sprinkler Heads To Break

There are a few activities that can cause sprinkler heads to break. Lawn mowing, aeration, and other mechanical work can all put stress on the head and cause it to break. You can reduce the risk of this happening by making sure that your sprinkler heads are installed at the proper height. Also, winterizing your irrigation system can help protect it from extreme temperatures and other damaging effects of winter.

Some Helpful Tips After Replacing the Sprinkler Heads

Once you have installed the new sprinkler heads:

Be sure you have at least one in every growing bed.

Make sure your irrigation system has the proper pressure.

Test it several times over the hot summer months especially.

Keep them watered during the summer, but don't overwater plants.

Wrapping Up

If you’re a homeowner, you probably have a lawn. And if you have a lawn, you need a sprinkler system. Sprinklers make it possible for grass to survive even the stressful summer months and continue to grow, even in very arid regions. But even the most well-maintained sprinkler systems will develop problems over time, so don't stress out. Hopefully, this will be the most valuable guide at those times.

Remember working on a sprinkler system is potentially hazardous, so don't try to tackle this project if you lack basic plumbing tools and skills. Feel free to contact us, for any irrigation and repair services.

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