How to replace a broken sprinkler head

Have you ever had sprinklers that keep getting blocked? Even after you change them and wash them out? The pesky things just keep getting blockages. Do you have brown patches in your lawn and garden?

I’m going to tell you step by step, the best way to stop this.

I’ve been conducting reticulation repairs for almost 2 decades and have learnt a few tricks along the way. If I can share these and save you some money, then its a job well done.

1. Inspect all your sprinkler heads closely, even one you think are fine.

Often nozzles are partially blocked and people don’t even realise. It may be just a sliver of the water coming out is blocked and unless you’re extremely close to the sprinkler, it is hard to see.

Here are some examples. Note I have highlighted where the blockage is in the spray. I have noticed that most people do not see these. You have to get very wet to be able to. So put on the gum boots and bathers. Fixing retic on a hot summer day is certainly not the worst job in the world.

Lawn Blockages
Blocked Sprinkler

2. Prevent it happening in the first place.

Like anything, prevention is better than the cure sooo, when you are replacing the sprinkler head or when you are installing it initially, it’s extremely important to do the following.

This leads me to the most important and central part of this blog.

Broken Sprinkler Repair

3. How to replace a broken sprinkler head.

This applies whether it’s a new installation or if you are replacing a blocked head.

  • Buy one of these tools. This one is called a Rainbird Sprinkler Head Holder, but I’m sure it has an official term. Show this picture to your local Reece Irrigation and they can get it for you or you can order them online at Amazon. This tool is an essential part of retic repairs and is very beneficial to homeowners. As you can see from the example picture it holds the shaft of the sprinkler up so that we can flush all the dirt out.
  • Flush, flush and flush. Use your Rainbird or other tool to hold the shaft up and run the retic until the water is clear. And then do it a little longer. Do not put the shaft down afterwards. One of the biggest mistakes people make is just taking off the old nozzle, turning on the water and flushing it and then putting a new head on. If you do this while the shaft is down, little bits of dirt and sand will go back down into the sprinkler and you will end up with the partial blockages that I have shown in the previous pictures. It can take weeks and sometimes even months to start its evil work.
broken sprinkler

So there you have it.

If your system needs a good going over and you decide to not try my most amazingly smart tips then reach out to me and I would be delighted to help you.

Luke Porter | Install Sprinkler Heads

Luke Porter

The Director of Retic Renovation is passionate about beautiful healthy lawns and gardens.

I have over 17 years hands-on experience in both landscaping and reticulation service and I’m extremely competent in problem solving, repairs, installation, and product knowledge.