How to Replace a Sprinkler Head – Step-by-Step Guide

Last updated on May 29th, 2020 by

Sprinkler systems are a good way to keep your precious lawn fresh. However, like many other machines, they are susceptible to breaking down or being damaged, especially if they are old. A broken sprinkler head can do more harm to your lawn than good.

If your sprinkler head is damaged, you might need to replace it. Fortunately, it is a very easy task provided you have some of the necessary tools and know how to go about it.

Don’t worry! Here, in this post, we’ll explain how to replace a sprinkler head in the easiest manner.


Necessary Tools

Replacing a sprinkler head isn’t difficult, but having the right tools can simplify the job a bit. Thankfully, the necessary tools are common tools that you might either have or are even readily available at times. The tools are:

  • Shovel

Sprinkler heads will need to be dug out a bit before they can be removed. A square-shaped shovel will help dig and remove the surrounding dirt away and access the sprinkler to remove it. A trowel is also a good alternative.

  • Knife

A knife is useful if you want to remove some of the grass on your lawn around the lawn before digging in with your shovel. Any knife will do so long as it is sharp enough to cut the grass.

  • Wrench

Before you can replace your sprinkler head, you will need to unscrew it and remove it. A wrench helps loosen the screws of your sprinkler and removing the head.

  • Replacement Sprinkler Head

If you’re going to replace a sprinkler head, you’re going to need a new sprinkler head. And if you’re not using the same model, you should make sure the replacement sprinkler head fits your sprinkler system.


Replacing a sprinkler head is a relatively safe job, but there is a small risk involved in damaging a pipeline while digging or shoveling.

Before you begin the process of replacing a sprinkler head, it is very much recommended to look at a plan of the water pipes and any electrical lines to minimize the risk of digging into them during the process.

Steps to Replacing a Sprinkler Head

Make sure that you have all the necessary tools at your disposal before beginning the replacement procedure. The steps to replacing a sprinkler head are:

  • Cut the Grass 

This step may not be necessary if the ground near the sprinkler head is weak or loose. For harder ground, you want to remove the grass and a bit of the upper layer of the ground using a knife or trowel. Insert the knife about 10 centimeters deep and move it around in a square or circular pattern to cut it.

Remove the patch of grass you have cut up and place it nearby. If it is intact, you can easily place it back without much worry, but if it is not intact, you may need to wait for the grass around that area to grow back.

  • Begin Digging

Take your trust shovel and begin digging up the ground you had cleared up before. Do not dig too deep nor put too much force into it. In case you do not have access to the ground plans and where the pipes are located, you will need to be very slow and careful during this step as a shovel can damage the pipelines.

Dig up a bit of the turf until you can see the supply line connecting to the sprinkler head. When it is fully visible, you can stop digging. You can dig up the soil and place it onto a pile to make it easier to place back.

  • Unscrew the Sprinkler Head

Once the ground has been dug up enough, you can begin to unscrew the sprinkler head. If you are having trouble, you can resort to using a wrench of the proper size. Turn it counterclockwise slowly, making sure not to pull on it.

After unscrewing the sprinkler head, check to see if you have also unscrewed a smaller pipe alongside it. This smaller pipe is known as the riser and helps to connect the sprinkler head to the water pipe. If it came out along with the sprinkler head, then unscrew the riser from sprinkler head and clean it.

  • Replace the Sprinkler Head

Align the new sprinkler head and rotate it clockwise with the riser in place to connect it to the pipeline. Check to see if it is loose or not. Restart your sprinkler and check to see if the water is properly spraying or not. Adjust it as necessary.


As you can see, replacing a sprinkler head is quite easy, provided you followed the steps properly. Be careful not to damage the riser when screwing it in.

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