How To Install Sprinklers

Ysobel Croix | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011

Although installing and designing a sprinkler system requires you to look up building codes and do math, installing a sprinkler isn't nearly as complicated. In fact, once you learn how to install a sprinkler, you'll wonder why you didn't fix it sooner.

Check the sprinkler before removing

If you're not absolutely sure that the sprinkler is truly broken, be sure to check the sprinkler head before you replace it. If you were the one to drive over the sprinkler, you know exactly how broken it is and can skip this step.

If the problem is low water pressure and you can't find the faulty sprinkler causing the problem, your system could be leaking or have a design flaw; call a lawn irrigation professional for a consultation.

With the sprinklers off, inspect the sprinkler for visible damage. If there is no damage, look at the top of the sprinkler to see which way "open" is. Take a flat head screw driver to the notch on top of the sprinkler and open the sprinkler spray head all the way. Turn the sprinkler system on.

If you still have no action or only a disappointing gurgle that isn't a result of low pressure, you'll need to purchase a replacement and install a new sprinkler.

Removing and installing the sprinkler

With the sprinkler system off, you'll need to remove the sprinkler. Picture the pipe that runs under your lawn to your sprinkler. When the pipe gets to your sprinkler, there's an R-shaped joint that connects the pipe to the sprinkler with a coupling.

Dig down six inches around the sprinkler head, being careful to preserve your sod. Simply unscrew the sprinkler head. You'll want to take this whole piece with you to the local hardware store or nursery, so they can provide you with the correct replacement.

One you have your replacement sprinkler head, you may need to assemble it. Simply insert the screen into the housing, followed by the spray head, and adjust to "open."

Once the sprinkler head is assembled, make sure the threaded coupling in the joint still has Teflon tape wrapped around it. Install the sprinkler by inserting it over the coupling and screwing it in place.

Turn the water back on and test the sprinkler for leaks before replacing the dirt and sod. You may need to direct or readjust the spray head.

If you are thinking of installing a new lawn irrigation system, or you think your spinkler system's glitches stem from more than just a sprinkler head, check with a local lawn installation professional. They're easy to find at ImprovementCenter.com.