How to Fix a Sprinkler Head

Some sprinkler head fixes are easy to DIY. We’ve included the basic steps for fixing heads that won’t drop, cleaning or replacing nozzles or filters, and replacing malfunctioning Irrigreen and non-Irrigreen sprinkler heads.

Thankfully, if you are handy and aren’t afraid to tackle projects yourself, there are some fixes you can accomplish yourself. Saving a call to your favorite landscaping or irrigation company and the bill shortly following.

Remember that when digging in the ground, you must know where your underground utilities are and always work carefully to avoid damaging your sprinkler system’s supply line.

How to Fix an Irrigreen Sprinkler that Won’t Drop

Another problem Irrigreen users may experience is a riser that won’t drop into the ground when the zone is done watering. It’s generally a pretty simple fix; it usually happens because debris gets between the riser and the head and prevents the riser from retracting.

  1. Access the dashboard in your Irrigreen app.
  2. Select “Zones” at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click the digital zone containing the malfunctioning head.
  4. Under “Set Watering Shape,” click “Edit.”
  5. When the head starts spraying, set it to spray a few feet.
  6. Once the stream shortens, firmly place your hand on the riser’s green cap and plunge it up and down several times. This motion generally loosens any obstructions.
  7. Exit out of the editing mode. The sprinkler head should function correctly now.

Note: If this doesn’t resolve the problem, contact Irrigreen’s service department for help.

How to Fix a Non-Irrigreen Sprinkler Head that Won’t Drop

The process to fix a non-Irrigreen head is similar, but you don’t need to access your system’s app or controls.

  1. Turn the water on to the zone with the malfunctioning head.
  2. Firmly place your hand on the top of the sprinkler head and plunge it up and down several times to loosen any debris causing the obstruction.

How to Clean or Replace the Nozzle or Filter on an Irrigreen Head

A common problem with smart sprinkler heads is a clogged nozzle or filter. If dirt, grass, sediment, or hard water minerals build up in the head, it can lead to shortened spray distances. In most instances, you can take the head apart and clean the nozzle or filter to fix the problem.

  1. Turn the water off to the system or the individual sprinkler head you’re working on.
  2. Grab the green cap on the sprinkler head and gently pull it up.
  3. Grasp the riser firmly and twist the cap counterclockwise to remove it.
  4. Use your fingers or a small screwdriver to remove debris blocking or clogging the nozzle’s opening.
  5. Gently pull the filter from the riser.
  6. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean sediment or buildup from the filter screen. If need be, you can use vinegar or a commercial calcium, lime, and rust remover to remove mineral scale. Never use an abrasive cleaner.
  7. After cleaning the filter, reinsert it into the riser. Make sure the mesh side points downward, and the two white lines on the filter match up with the nozzle’s opening.
  8. Line up the ports with the nozzle opening and hand-tighten the cap onto the riser in a clockwise direction.
  9. Let the riser drop down into the head.
  10. Turn the water on and check for leaks.

How to Replace an Irrigreen Sprinkler Head

Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t fix the head and must replace the entire thing. Replacing an Irrigreen sprinkler head is similar to the initial system installation, but you’ll need to program the app slightly differently.

Note: If replacing multiple heads, you can only work on one at a time. Follow all of the steps for each head, repeating them as needed for the others.

  1. Turn the water off to the system or the individual sprinkler head you’re working on.
  2. Carefully peel back the sod around the green cap to expose the top of the sprinkler head and the surrounding 12 inches or so. If possible, keep the sod in one piece.
  3. Dig up the broken sprinkler head and the surrounding 12” to give yourself room to work. You need to expose the flex line and cable connection, too.
  4. Pry apart the CableLok and disconnect the cable.
  5. Unscrew the head from the flex hose in a counterclockwise direction. Make sure dirt doesn’t get into the open end.
  6. Screw the new head onto the end of the flex hose in a clockwise direction until it is hand-tight. Do not use Teflon tape on the threads.
  7. Connect the cable to the replacement head, and cover the connection with a CableLok.
  8. Do not bury the head.
  9. Turn the water on and check for leaks.
  10. If there are no leaks, plumb the head and bury it.
  11. Replace the sod around the green cap, tamping it down well.
  12. Open your Irrigreen app while standing next to the head.
  13. Select “Zones” at the bottom of the dashboard screen.
  14. Click on the digital zone where you are replacing the head.
  15. Tap the gear icon that appears to the right of the zone name.
  16. Click "Replace Sprinkler".
  17. The app will scan the system for unidentified heads and display the newly installed sprinkler head.
  18. Click "Identify."
  19. In approximately six seconds, the head will rotate back and forth.
  20. Once the head rotates, select the circle to the left of the “IGSprinkler- xxxx” to identify that head.
  21. Click "Done" in the app’s upper right corner.
  22. Calibrate the head.
  23. Erase the existing zone map.
  24. Map the digital zone again with the new head.

How to Replace a Non-Irrigreen Sprinkler Head

  1. Turn the water off to the system or the individual sprinkler head you’re working on.
  2. Dig up the broken sprinkler head and the surrounding few inches to give yourself room to work. Work carefully to avoid damaging the supply line or connections with your shovel. When you get close to the sprinkler head, use a small trowel or your hands to move the dirt away from the head to expose it and free it from the ground.
  3. Grasp the sprinkler head firmly and turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the riser or the connection, attaching it directly to the supply line.
  4. Inspect the riser for cracks and see if the threads are worn or stripped. If you see any problems, it needs replacing. Unscrew it in a counterclockwise direction, like you just did with the sprinkler head, and then screw a replacement riser onto the connection.
  5. Wrap the riser threads a couple of times with Teflon tape.
  6. Screw the new head onto the riser in a clockwise direction, making sure to not cross-thread it. Hand-tighten the head until it is secure.
  7. Adjust the head so it points in the desired direction.
  8. Turn the water on and check for leaks.
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