Fixing a Leaking Pop Up Sprinkler

Anyone who owns or maintains a lawn will eventually find a plugged or broken pop up sprinkler in his lawn. It's inevitable. If you find yourself with this predicament, will you attempt to fix your own sprinkler, or will you pay someone else to do it? Will you be reluctant to try fixing it because you think you lack the necessary experience and tools? If so, check out the information below. You'll find this challenge to be one you can easily meet.

Things you'll need:

  • Round mouth shovel
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • 2 Pipe wrenches, or adjustable pliers
  • Plastic Sheet

Step 1 – Locate The Defective Sprinkler Component

To fix your sprinkler, you'll first need to know which component to fix and where on your lawn the component is located. The easiest and quickest way is to turn on your sprinkler, one zone at a time. Inspect each sprinkler head separately to see if water is spraying from it as it should be. If water is gushing from it, rather than spraying, or if no water is coming from the sprinkler head you'll need to determine the reason.  

Step 2 – Inspect A Bad Sprinkler Head

Water flowing, gushing, or leaking from the head will be a tip-off that the head is damaged or loose. Shut off the sprinkler. You will more than likely find the head lowered to its resting position below or at the lawn surface. Turn the head to determine if it is loose. If it is, tighten it by twisting it. You may need to use a pair of adjustable pliers. If the head is not loose it may be plugged with a tiny piece of debris. Twist off the head to inspect it. You may need to use two pairs of pliers, one to hold the riser from turning, the other to unscrew the head.

Step 3 – Dislodge Debris from the Head

If you find debris, such as sand or tiny particles jammed in the head, remove them with your screwdriver head. If necessary open the screw in the head slightly to free the particle.

Step 4 – Inspect the Threads on the Head and Riser

Water may be leaking from the joint where the head is connected to the riser. Examine the threads on both pieces to see if they are damaged. If the top of the riser is not high enough out of the ground to see its threads, you'll need to dig up the turf and soil around the riser.

Step 5 – Remove the Turf and Dirt

Spread a plastic sheet on the ground that you can put your sod and dirt on. Dig up enough of the sod and dirt from around your riser that you can see the riser threads. If they are damaged you'll need to replace the riser. To do this remove enough dirt that the base of the riser is exposed. Use your pliers to unscrew the riser from the horizontal pipe it's screwed into, then replace the riser with a new one of the same length.

Step 6 – Finish

Be sure your riser is screwed on tightly, replace the sod and dirt, screw the sprinkler head on tight, and test it by turning on the sprinkler system.