How to Replace Sprinkler Heads
The older sprinkler heads are, the more likely they are to be broken or damaged. Very often, they tend to end up stuck in the upright position, making them likely to be run over by a lawnmower, tripped over or kicked by children playing on skateboards or riding their bicycles.
Over time, it becomes necessary to replace older sprinkler heads in order to keep the sprinklers in good working order and to stop further damage to the sprinkler system. In order to be prepared for eventual replacement of sprinkler heads, it is a good idea to always have a supply of sprinkler heads on hand.
Carefully dig around the sprinkler head that you are replacing. Dig approximately 6 inches deep all the way around the sprinkler head, paying close attention to the pipe that connects the head to the rest of the sprinkler system.
Set the dirt aside, since you will need it later to backfill the hole after you have finished changing out the sprinkler head.
Once you have found and reached the depth of the riser – the pipe that connects to the water supply pipe, then carefully unscrew the old damaged sprinkler and remove it. Plug the hole to the riser with a piece of cloth so you do not let dirt fall into the hole.
If the riser becomes unscrewed from the water supply while still attached to the sprinkler head, unscrew the sprinkler carefully from the riser. You do not want to damage the threads that attach the riser to the sprinkler.
Take the removed sprinkler head to the hardware or home improvement center so that you will know what kind of sprinkler you need to purchase to replace it.
If you cannot find the exact same sprinkler, then choose a new sprinkler head that has the same diameter opening at the bottom and is the same length. You do not want to buy a sprinkler head that is too long since it will stick up above the grass-line and be broken all over again.
Also purchase Teflon tape in the plumbing section if you do not already have some. Wrap a piece of the tape around the threads of the riser before you attach it to the new sprinkler head.
Attach the new sprinkler head to the riser, making sure that it is tightly attached.
Briefly turn on the sprinkler to clear any dirt that may have gotten into the line.
Align the nozzle so that the water from the sprinkler is watering the lawn or plants you want watered.
Replace the dirt and the grass that was in place before you began digging out the sprinkler head.
Run the sprinklers to make sure that the new sprinkler head is working correctly.