How to Replace a Sprinkler Head

Replacing a sprinkler head is similar whether it’s an Irrigreen head or not: dig up the head needing to be replaced, unscrew it from the supply line, thread a new head onto the connection, check for leaks, and then bury everything.

Whether replacing an Irrigreen or non-Irrigreen head, ensure you have all the replacement parts close by when it’s time to start. Once you remove the old head, you want to get the new head on the line quickly to avoid getting dirt and debris into the open water line.

How to Replace an Irrigreen Sprinkler Head

If you installed your Irrigreen smart sprinkler system, you’re already well-equipped to replace a malfunctioning or broken head on your system. Replacing it is similar to the steps you followed in the initial installation. However, you’ll need to go into the app and set up the new head slightly differently.

Note: You can only replace one Irrigreen sprinkler head at a time. If you need to replace multiple heads, work through the following steps for a single head and repeat for each subsequent one.

  1. Shut the system water off at the main supply junction or the individual head if you installed shut-off valves at each head.
  2. Use a shovel or trowel and carefully peel up the sod around the green cap on the top of the Irrigreen head. You want to expose an area 12 to 15 inches in diameter to give yourself plenty of room to work. If you can, keep that piece of sod intact so it’s easier to reinstall.
  3. Carefully dig into the ground to expose the entire sprinkler head, the flex line, and the cable connection. When you get close to the components, use your fingers to remove soil to prevent damaging them with the shovel or trowel.
  4. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry apart the CableLok and then disconnect the cable from the head.
  5. Grasp the flex hose in one hand, and unscrew the Irrigreen head in a counterclockwise direction with your other hand.
  6. You want to ensure dirt doesn’t get into the open end of the flex hose. Try to keep a hold of it with one hand or prop it up so it isn’t touching the soil.
  7. Grab the new Irrigreen head by the top and thread it onto the end of the flex hose in a clockwise direction. Do not use Teflon tape on the head; thread it until it is hand-tight.
  8. Connect the existing cable to the new sprinkler head, and snap the CableLok back over the connection to protect it from dirt and water.
  9. Do not bury the sprinkler head at this time.
  10. Turn the water supply line back on and check for leaks.
  11. If there are no visible leaks where the head connects to the flex line, set the sprinkler head so the top is parallel to the ground and about ½” above grade (the soil surface, not the grass). Fill the hole with soil, tamping it down to remove air pockets.
  12. Set the sod you removed in step 2 back around the green cap, tamping it down well to create good contact with the soil.
  13. Stand near the head and open the Irrigreen app on your smartphone or tablet.
  14. Click “Zones” at the bottom of the dashboard.
  15. Select the digital zone where the new head is located.
  16. Tap the gear icon appearing on the right side of the zone’s name.
  17. Click "Replace Sprinkler".
  18. At this time, the Irrigreen app will scan the system for unrecognized heads and display the newly installed head (e.g., “IGSprinkler- xxxx”).
  19. Click "Identify."
  20. After about six seconds, the replacement head will rotate back and forth.
  21. Once the head starts rotating, click on the circle to the left of the “IGSprinkler- xxxx” to identify the head.
  22. Click "Done" in the app’s upper righthand corner.
  23. Follow the steps to calibrate the head.
  24. Erase the existing zone map in the app.
  25. Remap the digital zone using the replacement head.

How to Replace a Non-Irrigreen Sprinkler Head

Replacing a non-Irrigreen head is a little more straightforward since you don’t need to reprogram anything in the controller. The most important thing is to purchase the same type of head with the same spray pattern and distance.

  1. Shut the system water off at the main supply junction or the individual head if you installed shut-off valves at each head.
  2. Use a shovel or trowel to dig up the malfunctioning sprinkler head and the surrounding few inches to give yourself some space to work. Work carefully to avoid damaging the riser, connections, or supply line with your shovel or trowel. When you get close to the sprinkler head, use 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 in your hand and turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the supply line connection or riser.
  4. If there is a riser, unscrew it in a counterclockwise direction. Inspect it for splits or cracks and see if the threads are worn or stripped. If you see any problems, it needs replacing. Screw the riser (whether new or old) onto the connection in a clockwise direction.
  5. Wrap the threads on the top of the supply line connection or riser several times with Teflon tape.
  6. Screw the new head on in a clockwise direction until it is hand-tight, making sure to not cross-thread it.
  7. Adjust the head so it points in the desired direction.
  8. Turn the water supply line back on and check for leaks.
  9. If there are no visible leaks, fill the slight hole around the head and tamp the soil down well.
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