Installing Sprinklers to Upgrade a Sprinkler System

What You'll Need
PVC Piper and couplers
PVC primer and glue
New sprinkler heads
Old rags or towels
Adjustable wrench
Teflon tape or pipe joint compound
Small flags or other ground markers

Installing sprinklers to expand an existing sprinkler system is a cost effective way of increasing the area in your landscape that is irrigated without installing an entirely new system. Adding new sprinkler heads to your existing system is easier than you think and makes an excellent DIY project. To make the job easier, this simple how-to guide will show you everything you need to know.

Step 1: Choose New Sprinkler Head Locations

Choose installation locations for your new sprinkler heads and place small flags or other ground markers to make them easier to find later.

Step 2: Shut Off the Water to Sprinkler System

Shit off the main water valve for your home. Most of the time, the main water shutoff valve will be located at or near the water meter for your home.

Step 3: Dig Location for Joining Sprinkler System

Choose a location that is convenient for you to tie into the existing sprinkler system PVC pipe when installing the new sprinkler heads. When considering a junction point, try to choose a location that allows for the shortest possible runs of PVC pipe to connect your new sprinkler heads. Then, use a shovel to dig down into the soil below the PVC pipe. Make sure to clear out a large enough area so that you'll be able to easily work with the pipe. This will usually mean you need to dig a foot or so below the bottom of the pipe so that you can saw the pipe with a hacksaw.

Step 4: Cut and Prepare Sprinkler Water Supply Pipe

Take the hacksaw and cut a section out of the existing sprinkler water supply pipe. Make the section approximately the same size as the T-fitting connector you will be installing on the pipe. After you cut the pipe, take an old rag or towel and clean the ends of the pipe and some sandpaper to sand away rough edges that were created with the hacksaw.

Step 5: Connect T-Fitting to Old Pipe

Clean the ends of the T-fitting you will be using with PVC primer. Allow the PVC primer to dry, and then use PVC glue to attach the new T-fitting connector to the two pieces of pipe where you cut out the section earlier. Make sure to apply PVC primer and glue to the sections of pipe already in the ground as well.

Step 6: Dig Trenches to Lay Pipe to New Locations

You can now begin digging trenches to the locations for your new sprinkler heads. Make the trenches the same depth as the ones used to bury the existing PVC sprinkler pipe. Now, begin laying the PVC pipe for the sprinkler new sprinkler heads into the trenches. Connect the pieces of pipe with coupler fittings and be sure to use primer and glue when making the connections.

Step 7: Install New Sprinkler Head Riser Pipes

Once you reach an area where you want to install a new sprinkler riser, attach a PVC fitting coupler and then attach a pipe that runs up vertically out of the ground. Connect another piece of pipe to the other open end of the T-fitting to continue making your pipe run.

Step 8: Attach New Sprinkler Heads

On top of the new sprinkler riser pipes, you will need to attach the sprinkler heads. Attach a threaded nipple on top of the sprinkler riser pipe. Then, use Teflon tape to wrap the threaded end of the riser and screw on and tighten the sprinkler head.