DIY Sprinkler Head Repair & Replace

Hi, this is Skip Orth with Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions. Today what we're going to talk about is how to change a sprinkler head in your lawn.

What we have here, we have a sprinkler head that's right here, and we're going to dig this out, and I'm going to show you how to replace it. My cat's going to help me here. Okay. So what we're going to do is we're going to take ... this is a trenching shovel. As you can see, it's kind of skinny and it's rounded. This is the tool that I like to use to dig out sprinkler heads, but any shovel will work. The reason I like this one is you could get right around the sprinkler head without a problem. But if you don't have a trenching shovel and you just want to use a bigger one, that's fine.

What I'm going to do is I'm going to loosen up the dirt around the sprinkler head. As I'm pushing the shovel in the dirt, one of the things that I'm going to be careful of is there somewhere attached to this sprinkler head, there is a piece of flexible pipe. I don't want to cut the flexible pipe in two with the shovel. As long as I don't come down too hard on the ground as I'm putting the sprinkler head in, then I'm not going to do that. Sometimes it's easy to mistake a root ... There's a root right here, so I'm going to chop through that. But sometimes it's easy to mistake that piece of flex pipe for a root and chop through it. Then you have to end up replacing or fixing the flex pipe. So I don't want to do that. I'm getting all of the dirt out from around here.

One of the keys to replacing a sprinkler head as you're doing it is to ... Okay, here's the flex pipe if you want to get a close up. There's the pipe that runs up to the sprinkler head. So that's the thing I don't want to chop into. But what I'm going to do, I'm going to actually dig out a little bit below the bottom of the sprinkler head. The reason I'm doing that is when I unscrew the sprinkler head, I don't want dirt falling into the fitting that the sprinkler's screwed into because eventually that dirt will get into the sprinkler head and it will clog up the sprinkler head. So I'm going to remove as much dirt as I can so that it's out from under the sprinkler head like that.

The sprinkler head is connected to this piece of flex pipe, and there's a little elbow right here that the sprinkler is screwed onto. All I do is I just unscrew the sprinkler from the connection like that. Now, since this sprinkler really isn't bad, I don't need to replace it. I'm just going to put the same sprinkler back on the connection.

Now, one of the keys to reconnecting the sprinkler is, you don't want to screw it down tight. Once it gets going here, sometimes it's kind of hard to get it directly on top of there so the threads bite. Going to try to see if that helps. There we go. That makes it a little bit easier.

So you can see how the sprinkler head is kind of ... I don't have it torqued down real tight. I have it kind of loose. The reason for that is, is that the left side of the arc, you can see this little arrow right here on the top of the sprinkler head, that shows which direction the stream is pointing. That's where the stream comes out. I can turn the head and see where the arc is. So the arc is stopping right there on the right side, and it's coming all the way back around here on the left.

If I leave the sprinkle head like that, it's actually going to spray this direction, which I don't want it to do. I want it to spray that direction where the grass is. So I'm going to turn it a little bit more and then check the spray arc. Okay. That's a little bit too much because I want it to spray a little more that direction because there's some grass over there that I want it to cover. I'm going to turn it like that, and then I'm going to check it. I'm going to turn it a little bit more, and I think that's about how I want it cover because there's a sprinkler head at the tip of that grass over there that I want it to reach so that it gets full double coverage. Then there's some grass out there that I want it to reach. So that's about where I want it.

Now, another thing that I'm going to show you is how to check the filter in this head. I'm going to take it back out and take it apart. Now, the way it comes apart is the body just unscrews from the top like this. Just unscrew it, and it pulls out like so. Okay? Now at the bottom here, this is actually a filter, and sometimes that filter can get clogged. The way you change the filter or clean the filter is take a little screwdriver, and it just pops out like that. You can see it's like a little basket. The water comes in, filters through here, and then goes up through the sprinkler head. So this filter is pretty clean, but if there was stuff in the pipes or whatever, it would collect around the edge of the sprinkler head here in this filter. Once you take the filter out, you can clean all that out in there and clean the filter so you would get better pressure on the sprinkler head. If the sprinkle head is just barely pushing out any water, it's very possible the filter is clogged.

Another thing I'm going to show you about this sprinkler head here is every rotor has a nozzle on it, and that's this blue thing right here. Let me get a pointer here. This blue thing is a nozzle, and the size of the hole in that nozzle determines how much water per minute comes out of this nozzle and, consequently, how much water goes on the grass. If you can see it there, you can see those numbers 3.0. That means this nozzle puts out three gallons of water per minute. It's a 3.0 nozzle.

Let's just say I had an area that I wanted to put more water out and I wanted to increase it, what I would do, I would get another nozzle. This is called a nozzle tree. It just has a bunch of nozzles on it at different sizes. So you can see the different numbers on here. I think that's a 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and it just goes on up. I think this is a 6.0. A 6.O is going to put twice as much water on the grass as a 3.0. It'd be six gallons per minute versus three gallons per minute. I don't want to change the volume on this particular one, so I'll just use a 3.0. I'll just change out the 3.0 nozzle on here with another 3.0 just to show you how it works.

So I got the new nozzle here. You see the screw right here. What I have to do is I have to retract that screw to be able to get the nozzle out. The way I do that, I stick this ... This is a Rainbow screwdriver. I stick it in the very top here and turn it around until I feel the screwdriver land into the slot. There it is. You can see I'm retracting that screw so that the nozzle will come out. So once the screw is all the way retracted like this, since I'm changing out this nozzle, I'm not going to try to save this nozzle. So I'm just going to stick the screwdriver in here in the top and just pop it out just like that.

So that nozzle's gone, and I'm going to put in a new nozzle. It just slides right in there, and kind of press it in. All the way in. Now, very important that you put that set screw back, because if you don't put the set screw back down, when you turn the sprinkler on, the water pressure will blow that nozzle right out of the sprinkler head. So I'm going to put the screwdriver back in here, and I'm going to put that set screw back in place, as you can see. Yeah, there.

Now another thing about this set screw is, is that if I wanted to shorten the throw of the stream of water, if I wanted to make it shorter, I would take that set screw and keep screwing it down until it came down in front of the nozzle. When that screw came down in front of the nozzle, it would shorten the throw of water. So if I wanted to make the sprinkler not go as far, then I would keep screwing that screw down and it would make the water stream shorter. Okay? So that's how you change a nozzle and check a filter.

I'm just going to put this back together like this. It doesn't really matter how you put this together. It just goes in however, and you just screw it down. You don't have to really torque it down really tight, just snug. It's fine. I'm going to put it back in here. There. Okay. Sometimes it hard to get these ... There it goes. All right. All right.

Now I'm going to check the radius. Okay, so here's where the water comes out, the little arrow right there. I want it to go a little farther that way and go back and go a little farther that way, and that'll be good.

What I'm going to do now is just going to bury this back, draw the dirt back ... just like so. That's how you change a sprinkler head, change a sprinkler nozzle, and clean out the filter of a sprinkler head.