How to Replace a Broken Rotor Sprinkler

What You'll Need
This how-to instructions
Rotor Sprinkler Head

To maintain a good healthy lawn, you should keep the heads of your rotor sprinkler in good working order. If they happen to get broken or damaged from the general wear and tear, follow these steps to replace the broken parts.

Step 1 - Make Sure the Timing is Right

It is a good idea to turn your sprinkler system off. If it is on a timer, unplug the timer while you replace the broken parts. This will make sure you do not get wet in the replacement process.

Step 2 - Remove the Sprinkler Head

Remove the head of the sprinkler and turn it at the top, just below where the head turns. If you put the sprinkler down, you will have a better feel where the ridge of the rotor is. If you are having a problem pulling off the head, turn it to the left about ¼-inch. It is important that you are not just turning the top of the rotor but the whole head assembly. If you are still having problems, use a shovel to dig it up.

Now that you have completely removed the broken rotor from the sprinkler, you can put in your new sprinkler head.

Step 3 - Add the Replacement Rotor Sprinkler Head

In order to place the new sprinkler head in place you will pop it on and turn it to the right. If you do not have a solid fit, you might need to turn it again ¼-inch.

A Few Tips

  • If you think it is going to take you a long time to finish the project, then you should cap the pipe. This will keep dirt and debris out, and then will not get blocked.
  • To make sure that your new rotor sprinkler is the right side, you can put the new one and old one side by side to see that they are an exact sizing match.
  • Make sure that when you are using a shovel to dig up the broken sprinkler that you don’t pry on it.  This could possibly break the connection to where the sprinkler goes into the pipe.
  • Do not jump on the head of your shovel as this can break the pipe.
  • The safest way to remove the sprinkler is to cut a patch of the grass around the sprinkler head.  Remove the sod carefully so you can put it back after your repair. When you dig this hold make sure that the head of the sprinkler will be at least a half an inch above the ground otherwise any higher could cause the sprinkler to get damaged. Once you have the sprinkler in put the soil back a little at a time and pack it down frequently.  The tamping of the ground around the sprinkler head will keep the head from surfacing above the ground.