HandyHomeMasterBloghttps://handyhomemaster.com/how-to-replace-sprinkler-head/How to Replace Sprinkler Head

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on How to Replace Sprinkler Head

Last Updated: 26 April 2021

Handy Home Master created for informational purposes only. Thus, we neither endorse you in any way to buy specific products in our reviews, nor making you act like it’s written in our guides. We are reserving the rights for you to make your personal decision.



Editor-in-Chief of the Handy Home Master

If you’ve read our posts and articles, you’ll know how much we love putting our hands to work. Rarely do we call a plumber or a professional to fix minor things around the house or the yard, and fixing a sprinkler system is no exception.

Sprinkler heads can be easily damaged by snowplows, freezing weather, debris, lawnmowers, or even grass clipping. They can also get damaged due to wear and tear during regular use. For some of us, replacing the broken head can be a tiresome and tedious process. Luckily for you, this doesn’t have to be the case. Replacing should be an easy project; In this post, we are going to discuss how to replace sprinkler heads for the lawn in quick, easy steps.

After reading this guide, you will know what to do all by yourself. So, lets fire away!

Step 1 – Determine Sprinkler Heads Type

How to Replace a Rainbird Sprinkler Head?

Determine Sprinkler Heads Type

When you notice that your sprinkler capping pops up and sprays water all over or doesn’t pop up, it means that it is broken. It’s one of the most common problems associated with these devices.

The first thing you should do is to identify the type of the head. It will help you when it comes to dismantling the parts. It will also enable you to know the manufacturer, the size of the nozzle, and the model number to purchase the correct size that fits your device.

Orbit 55200 Pulse Pop-Up Impact Sprinkler Head
  • UNIVERSAL DESIGN: Perfect replacement for old, failing, or inefficient impact sprinkler heads, and is compatible with all major brands.
  • SPRAY DISTANCE: Comes preinstalled with a 35-foot spray distance nozzle.
  • PRESSURE RANGE: Operates between 20-80 psi, and offers great spray coverage in low pressure situations.
  • FULLY ADJUSTABLE SPRAY PATTERN: Full or part circle means you always have the right unit on hand regardless of the application.
  • MULTIPLE INLETS: 1/2-inch threaded side or bottom inlet to offer multiple installation options.

How to Replace a Pop up Sprinkler Head?

Pop-up sprinklers are regarded as one of the best sprinkler heads currently on the market. They are durable and spray water according to your desired pattern. Here are a few quick, simple steps on how to replace a pop-up sprinkler head.

Locating the Damaged Head

The most common problem with a pop-up sprinkler is either the capping is loosened or unattached. The first thing is to find the riser, and the best way is to turn on the water system and look for bubbling water.

Choosing the Appropriate Size of the Sprinkler Head

Choosing the Appropriate Size of the Sprinkler Head

When replacing the damaged part, you need to find the proper head size; most pop-up sprinklers are designed to spray water in a particular direction of 45, 90, and 180 degrees, ensuring the water reaches a specific section. It’s essential to get the right size and determine your preference for the capping.

Dig out the Broken Sprinkler

Using a spade or shovel, dig a 4-6 inches diameter around the riser and remove sod around it. Remove excess soil to ensure you have complete access and sufficient working space. Place the sod and soil on a plastic sheet to prevent them from scattering all over your grass.

Unscrew the Broken Sprinkler from the Riser

Extract the old riser by turning it counterclockwise. If both the riser and sprinkler come off, unscrew the two parts and re-attach the riser to the water system.

Attach the New Sprinkler

Wrap a seal tape at the end of the male riser, wind it neatly around the riser threads till it forms a uniform layer that will reduce the chances of future leaks and create a snug fit connection. Position both ends and turn it slowly in a clockwise direction, continue turning until its firm and secure.

Setting and Adjusting the Nozzle

Adjust the spray nozzle till it points to your desired location. The last thing that you may need is to water your car or patio instead of your lawn and plants.

How to Replace a Broken Sprinkler Head?

How to Replace a Broken Sprinkler Head

Replacing a broken lawn sprinkler head can be quite costly. But the good news is if you follow these simple steps, you can quickly fix it in a cost-friendly and affordable way.

Detect the Broken Section

Turn on the system, observe water coming out, and determine whether pipe, nozzle, riser, or the head is broken. Use a marker to highlight the broken part.

Dig up a Hole

Well, when we say dig a hole, we don’t mean the entire lawn. Dig up a small hole diameter around the broken head. When drilling in a turf area, cut out a small piece of the sod and place it aside to be used later.

Unscrew the Sprinkler Head

Turn the broken head in a clockwise direction. Disassemble both parts and screw back the riser onto the waterline.

Installation of the New Sprinkler Head

Attach the brand-new head onto the T-fitting and ensure it is set at an appropriate height to prevent further damage.

Apply a PVC glue to both the male coupler and the T-fitting, ensuring they are tightly fit together inside the edge of the fitting. Hold them together for a few minutes to allow the glue to dry.

Pro tip

Buy a high-quality glue; don’t buy substandard things.

Setting the Nozzle

Depending on your preference and angle size, set the nozzle to water the desired parts of your lawn. This direction can always be changed to water other parts of your backyard or garden.

How to Replace a Sprinkler Head Nozzle

Replacing a nozzle is a piece of cake! You can easily do it all by yourself. Below is a simple procedure of how to replace a hunter PGP sprinkler head.

Dig Around the Sprinkler

Replacing garden sprinkler heads, such as hunter sprinkler heads, is an easy and straightforward process. Using a shovel, dig up a round or square hole until the head nozzle is visible.

Unscrew the Head Nozzle

Slowly and carefully move it in a counterclockwise direction. Unscrew the nozzle from the riser and ensure no soil got into the waterline.

If the stem is left exposed for an extended period, cover it with a cloth or tarp.

Changing the Heads

Once you’ve checked that connection if free of dirt or debris, screw back the new head onto the threaded line.

Rotate the nozzle head until it fits tightly, ensuring there are no water leaks.

Set up the Nozzle

After replacing the head, rotate the nozzle till it points to your desired area where you want it to water at a certain angle.

How to Replace a Rainbird Sprinkler Head?

How to Replace a Rainbird Sprinkler Head

Having the Right Materials for the Job

It is an essential step of any plumbing job, having all the right materials and tools required during the task at hand. This is a list of equipment and tools you’ll need for rainbird lawn sprinkler heads.

  • A spade or small shovel
  • PVC adhesive or liquid pipe glue
  • Pipe cutters and hand saw
  • Male coupler
  • An identical head
  • Threaded PVC tee fitting

Once you’ve assembled all these tools, you are good to go.

Rain Bird 1802HEVN15 High Efficiency Professional Pop-Up Sprinkler, Adjustable 0° - 360° Pattern, 8' - 15' Spray Distance, 2" Pop-up Height
  • #1 commercial-grade irrigation spray head brand in the world
  • Superior flow technology reduces water usage by up to 40%
  • High Efficiency adjustable 0° to 360° spray pattern nozzle ideal for watering odd-shaped areas
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel spring assures flush retraction every time
  • Patented pressure-activated co-molded wiper seal prevents wasteful water leakage and assures long life

Clearing out the Area to Access the Sprinkler

Using your shovel, carefully dig the top parts of the ground around your sprinkler. Ensure you dig a sufficient area that will allow you to reach the whole thing. Its recommended you dig a diameter of up to 6-8″ inches, allowing you complete access to it.

Be careful when digging not to cut the waterline. Once you’ve finished drilling, begin to remove the soil layer and dirt till you can hold the sprayer capping with both of your hands.

Remove the Old Head

When you have complete access, turn the head counterclockwise. Unscrew it carefully, ensuring there is no dirt dropping into the connection. In case some mud got into the water system accidentally, flush it out by running water through till it’s clean.

Replacing the Sprinkler with New Head

Once it’s completely free of dirt, screw the new head onto the threaded end of the line and turn it counterclockwise. Never use a joint compound or Teflon tape in the riser threads.

In case you see water on the new head, there is no need for alarm. Most of the rainbird sprinklers are factory-tested to ensure they properly work, and they are often packaged when still wet.

Set the Nozzle Lift both the grasp and cap and stem them firmly together using your finger. Thread the nozzle onto the sprinklers’ stem and screw them in place. To ensure your new device is working correctly, always remember to clean them often.

Step 2 – Dig out the Broken Part

Using a shovel, dig up around the sprayer. It’s recommended to dig about one foot; make sure you don’t dig deep enough, disrupting the water system. After cutting, gently remove the sod layer and use a hand trowel to remove the dirt.

Step 3 – Unscrew the Old Head

Unscrew the Old Head

Gently turn the sprinkler in a counterclockwise direction, ensure there is no dirt falling into the water system. If, by any chance, dirt got in the waterline somehow, flush it out by letting the water run through it.

Step 4 – Screw on the New One

After making sure the connection is free of dirt, screw your brand-new capping into the threaded end of the water sprayer. If a lawnmower broke your head, you can dig a little dipper and ensure your new one is not more than half an inch above the ground.

Step 5 – Set the Nozzle

When it’s all done, set your new nozzle to the direction you’d like it to water according to your preferred angle.

Checking for Issues and Filling the Hole

Turn on the Sprinklers

Set the Nozzle

Turn on the sprinkler system and let it run for approximately 30 seconds to remove all the soil particles and debris. Switch it off in preparation to refill the hole.

  • When your sprinkler is running, keep an eye out for possible leakages around the riser. If you spot water escaping, tighten it, or wrap an additional layer of seal tape till the leaking stops.
  • It’s always recommended to test out your new device before filling the hole in case there might be a slight hiccup.

Flush the Water Line System to Clear Clogs

If your water system line is clogged with dirt, you need to flush water to remove it. To do this, you need to unscrew the new sprinkler and let the water run through it for 30-60 seconds.

The water, filled with debris, will drain out altogether, leaving the line clear. After you’re are done, don’t forget to turn it off.

  • Another way is to insert a flexible hose over the line, flush all the debris, and redirect the debris-filled water to other parts of the yard.
  • However, at times, the clogged water system may be a sign of a malfunctioning sprinkler rather than the capping.

Refill the Hole

Shovel back all the soil and dirt to the gap around the sprinkler and ensure its evenly distributed. After placing it back, tamp it down using your shovel or palm. The new head is the same as the old one so, there shouldn’t be any dirt left on the ground.

Return the Grass Section That Had Been Cut

If you have removed all grass in one portion, gently return it and place it around the sprinkler. Apply a little bit of pressure to ensure its compact.

Continue to water the transplanted part to re-establish its root system. Inform other members of the family to tread carefully around the replanted region not to harm the plant.

Are Sprinkler Heads Interchangeable?

Well, not all sprinkler head types and nozzles are interchangeable. But most manufacturers do produce interchangeable parts, which determine the radius and pattern of the water flow.

This has greatly saved many customers from numerous trips to the hardware store. Thus, it’s advisable to have all the specifications.

How Long Do Sprinkler Heads Last?

Well, the best lawn sprinkler heads will last anywhere between 10-15 years because they are made of quality materials and features enhancing durability. As for some cheaper head sprinklers, they will last anywhere between 2-3 years.


In this article, our experts from HandyHomeMaster.com have shown simple methods on how to replace low-pressure sprinkler heads, and the impressive thing is you can do it all by yourself at home, making sure your plants and grass are watered round the clock.

If you have any additional questions, thoughts, and experiences that you would love to share with us, please feel free to do so. We will be more than glad to help you!

Share your thoghts
Please fill required fields
Please fill required fields
Please fill required fields


Eugene Cook
6 September, 2020
i'm new to this, tell me, is it worth buying a system or is it better to do with regular manual watering? thanks
26 August, 2020
i have a beautiful green lawn that I take care of to keep the grass in a good condition. however, i’m in my sixties and it’s getting difficult for me to water my garden with a hose or watering can. that’s why i want to buy and install lawn sprinkle heads. i need quality items since i’m a widow and changing a sprinkler head in case it breaks may be a huge problem for me. Which one would you recommend to buy?
11 August, 2020
i thought it was a huge problem to replace a sprinkle head until i read this post yesterday. Thanks for this detailed instruction! I looked through your other posts and product reviews and found them worth attention. They are interesting, helpful, and are written in a great language! I’ll bookmark this site!
5 August, 2020
Hello, everyone! Today, all day I’ve been searching for the info on how to replace a pop-up sprinkler head. Thank God, I eventually came across this post! Here, I found so-much-needed information for me! It Ok, I’ll go and try to find out whether the capping is loosened before it gets dark. Anyway, 😊 thanks a lot!
31 July, 2020
your instructions helped me, it's great!
rose boulay
18 July, 2020
my husband is an experienced diyer, he can do everything around the house himself. however, he is on a business trip right now, and i have to replace a broken sprinkler head. we live in Florida, hence, our garden really needs frequent watering. so, tomorrow i’m gonna deal with the sprinkle head myself! luckily, i’ve found here step-by-step instruction! wish me luck!
Jason M
16 July, 2020
Great post! I’m a professional plumber, and, yes, I agree that in most cases, handymen can replace a sprinkle head themselves. But it’s always better to call an irrigation professional if you face any difficulty while replacing a broken item or adjusting its radius and arc. Otherwise, there are chances to worsen things.
28 June, 2020
My rainbird sprinkler head broke 2 days ago(( I tried to fix it myself but failed! Luckily, I found this post! It’s one of the most comprehensive posts I’ve read on this topic! Thanks for such a great job, guys!