Quick and Easy Sprinkler Head Replacement

Sprinkler heads can be damaged by any number of things from grass clippings and sand to dirt, snow, and even your friendly neighborhood gopher. The good news is that sprinkler head replacement is easy and so most people can pull it off over the weekend.

Buy the Right Sprinkler Head

The first step is to find the manufacturer of the head you want to replace, then locate the model number. You should be able to find the model number on the sprinkler head. Take note of the nozzle size, which too is listed on the head. If the sprinkler head is damaged to the extent where the model number isn’t easily readable, then dig up another head to get this information.

Now there are various types of sprinkler heads, so you need to buy the right ones. If your lawn has a rotor head installed, make sure to get a head that rotates in the same direction as the one you’re replacing. If the one that broke is a full or a half-circle, find one with the right nozzle size along with the spray rotation.

Most major home improvement stores should have the right parts. If you can’t find them locally, then they should be available over the internet.

Dig Out the Faulty or Broken Sprinkler

You will need to use a shovel to dig out the top layer of soil for around a foot around the sprinkler head. Make sure to go slow and be careful because if you cut too fast and too deep, it may break the waterline.

Once a foot or so has been removed, lift the sod layer straight up. Then remove the dirt around the sprinkler head so that you can put both hands around the head. Being able to grip the sprinkler head is important as it makes replacing it easier.

Take out the Old Head

Turning the sprinkler head counterclockwise will remove it. You will want to be careful not to allow any dirt to get into the connection after the head is removed. Once removed, simply take the new replacement head and screw it in place.

Put Everything Back

Put the dirt and sod back. If the sprinkler head was previously damaged by a lawnmower or a snowplow, you would want to place it a little deeper. Ideally, the head shouldn’t be more than half an inch above the ground. That will ensure the sprinkler head isn’t clogged with grass and dirt.

Place the Nozzle

The final step of your sprinkler head replacement would be to lift the cap and grab the stem with your fingers to replace the nozzle. You can also do this by using a tool that should have come with the rotor head. Put the nozzle through the thread and slowly screw it in.


Sprinkler head replacement isn’t difficult, and most homeowners can do it within an hour or so. However, if you do see signs of more serious damage, it would be a good idea to call a professional.

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