Hot Topics: Broken Sprinkler Head Hot Topics: Broken Sprinkler Head

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Original post: Mower Meets Sprinker Head

sagosto63 Member

One of my sprinkler heads takes a few hours to release into the ground and I ran it over with my mower. I hoped it was the head shielding but it pours out water. I've attached a picture. Is there a DYI replacement?

Man holds a broken sprinkler head.

XSleeper Group Moderator

I can't really tell what kind of head it is from the fragments. Find a similar head and see if there is a brand or number on it. Changing heads is usually pretty easy. Cut out and save the sod, the dig a hole around it. Many sprinklers will just unscrew from the riser.

sagosto63 Member

I actually have a replacement from when I extended my deck and had to cap off two heads. I am not sure if they are the same sprayer, but I should be able to just unscrew the broken one and replace the head itself.

XSleeper Group Moderator

That sounds better yet.

sagosto63 Member

I did a quick YouTube search and it seems as straightforward as using a pair of pliers to unscrew the head and screw the new (used in this case) one on. Does that sound right?

beelzebob Member

Usually rotation arc and angle of spray are two adjustments required after replacing a sprinkler head. You should be able to find the information on the web once the manufacturer is identified.

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

You probably only broke the cap and riser portion of the sprinkler. You should be able to just screw a new cap and riser in place. You might want to turn on the water first and flush out the sprinkler body so you don't get any dirt trapped inside. Then, once you have the body back together, you can futz around to get the emitter set for the correct coverage area and range.

sagosto63 Member

Thanks. This is the best case scenario and what I hoped for. Assuming the cap and riser are broken, do I still just use pliers and unscrew it?

XSleeper Group Moderator

We still don't even know what kind of sprinkler head you have. Hard to describe the repair with no information.

sagosto63 Member

I assumed they all screwed on. I'll see if there are any markings on the head.

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

Part #11 is the sprinkler body that's buried in the ground. Hopefully you just hit the top cap that screws on. You'll likely need to buy a whole pop up sprinkler assembly to get the guts but it will make the repair really easy if all you have to do is screw on the new guts.

A diagram of a sprinkler system.

If the sprinkler body is damaged get a bucket, garden trowel, channel lock pliers, and some old newspaper. Cut out a section of sod around the sprinkler and lay the sod on the newspaper. Then with the trowel dig straight down putting the dirt into the bucket. You want the sod cut out so the sprinkler is close to one edge of the hole. Make the hole long enough for your wrench or pliers to fit down in the hole. Reach down into the hole with the pliers and hold the fitting right below the sprinkler. With your other hand unscrew (counterclockwise) the sprinkler body. Pour a little clean water over the fitting in the ground to rinse it off and screw on your new sprinkler. Then pack the dirt back into the hole and place the sod you cut back on top. Gently step on it to get rid of air pockets and keep it watered well for the next couple weeks until the grassroots are re-established.

sagosto63 Member

Thank you. This is very helpful. How much sod do I need to cut to make sure the opening is big enough? Would it be just a bit bigger than the diameter of the sprinkler body? This actually got interesting because I had to cap off two sprinklers to make room for my deck extension and they are different. Perhaps that's a good thing. Can I pick either or hopefully the one I have is a direct replacement? The system is RainBird so I cannot explain why the hunter exists. Perhaps the mowing issue occurred with the original house owners too.
Sprinkler head.
A sprinkler head.
A sprinkler head.
A sprinkler head.

XSleeper Group Moderator

You only need to take out a little bit with that type of sprinkler head, assuming your replacement matches exactly. Pilot Dane described it very well. You will be able to just unscrew the cap (#5 in his illustration) and remove the "guts." Do the same to the new head and just swap the parts.

You are just removing enough sod and dirt so that you can unscrew the head while ensuring that no dirt falls inside the sprinkler head while you have it open.

If your replacement does not match exactly — for instance if you have a shorter body — then you may need to dig a bigger hole, unscrew the entire sprinkler, add a new riser that you have cut to the correct length, then reinstall the sprinkler and new riser.

To read the rest of the thread, look here: https://www.doityourself.com/forum/lawns-landscaping-outdoor-decor/595044-mower-meets-sprinker-head.html

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