How to Replace Damaged Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler systems are crucial for maintaining lush green landscapes, especially when water conservation is a priority. Like any system, they can occasionally suffer from wear and tear, leading to the need for replacement parts. The sprinkler head is one of the most commonly damaged components of a sprinkler system. Whether it’s been hit during mowing, damaged by kids playing, or worn out over time, a damaged sprinkler head can impact the efficiency of your entire system. Fortunately, replacing a sprinkler head is a simple DIY task. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Tools & Materials:

  • Replacement sprinkler head
  • Flat-head screwdriver or pliers
  • Small shovel or hand trowel
  • Bucket or small container (optional)
  • Old towel or rag

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Turn Off The Water Supply: Start by turning off the water supply to your sprinkler system. This will prevent a geyser-like surprise when you remove the damaged head.
  2. Locate the Damaged Sprinkler Head: Identify the broken or malfunctioning sprinkler head you want to replace.
  3. Clear the Area: Dig a circle around the sprinkler head using your small shovel or hand trowel. Make sure you give yourself ample space to work without causing damage to any adjoining pipes. If soil or debris falls into the exposed pipe area, you can use a bucket or container to store it temporarily.
  4. Remove the Damaged Sprinkler Head: Once you’ve exposed the sprinkler head and its connecting pipe, grip the base of the sprinkler head with one hand and turn it counterclockwise. You can use the flat-head screwdriver or pliers for added leverage if it’s too tight. Be gentle to avoid damaging the connecting pipe.
  5. Clean the Area: Before installing the new sprinkler head, clean around the exposed pipe to ensure no debris or soil will enter the system. An old towel or rag can be handy for this.
  6. Install the New Sprinkler Head: Screw the new sprinkler head onto the exposed pipe clockwise. Hand-tightening is usually sufficient. Ensure it’s straight and level with the ground.
  7. Adjust Spray Pattern (if necessary): Different sprinkler head models have varying patterns and ranges. Depending on your sprinkler model, you might need to adjust the spray pattern to ensure it covers the desired area. Typically, this can be done by turning the top of the sprinkler head or using a small screw located on the head.
  8. Test the System: Turn the water supply back on and activate the sprinkler zone to test the new head. Ensure it’s spraying correctly and covering the desired area. Make any necessary adjustments.
  9. Refill the Hole: Once you’re satisfied with the performance of the new sprinkler head, backfill the hole with the soil you removed earlier. Tamp it down gently to ensure the ground is level.


Replacing a damaged sprinkler head is a straightforward task that can ensure the proper functioning of your irrigation system. You can keep your lawn green and healthy throughout the growing season with the right tools and patience. Regularly inspect your sprinkler system to spot any malfunctioning heads early, making the replacement process smoother.