How to Cap Off a Sprinkler Head

Close up of a man's hands cutting a piece of PVC irrigation pipe.
  • 0-1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Damp towel
Teflon tape
PVC cutters
PVC primer
PVC cement

If you have a sprinkler head you would like removed, you can simply cap it off. Capping a sprinkler head is easy using the following steps.

Find universal sprinkler head caps on Amazon

Tip: Paying attention to the efficiency of your sprinkler system can pay dividends. One broken sprinkler head can waste hundreds of gallons of water in a single cycle. Check regularly to see your sprinkler system is working properly and you'll save water and cash.

Step 1 - Locate the Dead End

The dead end is the last sprinkler in a series. Capping the dead end itself leaves water in the underground line with nowhere to go, and if the sprinklers are spaced far apart, this wastes water pressure. In areas prone to freezing, it can cause water in the line to ice and damage the pipe as well. So, instead, dead ends should be capped at the preceding or next-to-last sprinkler head.

Step 2 - Remove the Sprinkler Head

Use the shovel to dig out an area around the sprinkler head. Dig deep enough so you can access the riser or pipe leading up to the sprinkler head. After you have removed enough dirt, remove the sprinkler head by turning it to the left, or counterclockwise; although, you may need to use one hand to hold the riser in place so it doesn’t twist out as well.

If this is a dead end sprinkler head, you can either dig up the entire line for use elsewhere or simply remove the last sprinkler head. You will need to dig around the preceding sprinkler head so the line can be capped, so dig just past the head all the way down to the supply line. Use caution to avoid cracking the line with the shovel.

Step 3 - Install the Cap

water spraying from a sprinkler head

With the sprinkler head removed, you should see just the riser coming up from the irrigation line. Use a damp towel to clean the threads of the riser. Now, add Teflon tape to the threads, wrapping the tape two or three times. This will help ensure water does not leak out. Your cap should be the same width as the riser. Twist the cap onto the end, and add enough force so it is as tight as possible.

For a dead end cap, use PVC cutters to cut the pipe just past the sprinkler head fitting. Leave enough space for the cap to go onto the pipe, and clean the pipe with PVC primer. After allowing it to dry, apply PVC cement to the outside of the pipe and the inside of the cap, then quickly twist the cap onto the end of the pipe.

Step 4 - Test the Seal

To make sure the cap is sealing water in, turn on the sprinkler, and check for any leaks.

Step 5 - Fill in the Hole

With all connections sealed, you can now fill in the hole around the cap. The sprinkler head can be used as a spare or for repair parts.

Since water resources are becoming more precious, especially in drier areas, this is important information to know.

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