Pop-Up Sprinkler Head Repair in 7 Steps

What You'll Need
Pointed trowel or serrated knife
Pointed spade-type shovel
Old terrycloth towel
Small tarpaulin to hold dirt and turf

A pop-up sprinkler head in your lawn irrigation system may, as it ages, start spraying slowly or intermittently, or it may stop retracting into its riser. You can repair or replace it easily following these lawn sprinkler repair directions.

To Repair a Plugged Sprinkler Head

Step 1: Extract the Pop-Up Sprinkler Head, Inspect and Clean It

Hold the edge of the sprinkler head with an old terrycloth towel. Turn it counter-clockwise to loosen it from the riser. Lift it out and check it for blockage. Remove any leaves, dirt or other material you see. Flush out the sprinkler head with your garden hose. Reattach it and test it to see if water comes out. If not, you will need to replace the sprinkler head.

To Replace a Pop-Up Sprinkler Head

Step 1: Dig Out the Pop-Up Riser

Use the pointed spade to dig out the turf to a depth of 3 inches around the riser. Go down farther to the water pipe that connects to the underground sprinkler system, if necessary. Be careful to avoid cutting into the water pipe. Set the turf and dirt you dig out on a tarpaulin.

Step 2: Extract the Old Sprinkler Head and Body

Unscrew, by turning counter-clockwise, the old sprinkler head and body and extract them from the hole. Pull out the riser as well. Wedge the serrated knife into the ground at the base of the riser to help lever it out.

Step 3: Purchase a New Pop-Up Sprinkler Head and Body

Ensure the sprinkler unit you buy has the same depth and threading as the original. If you can find a suitable sprinkler model with an orange pull top rather than a nozzle, get this instead. It is easier to clean debris out of this kind.

Step 4: Attach the New Pop-Up Sprinkler Head and Body to the Riser

Wrap the threaded connector for the riser in teflon tape and attach the new sprinkler head and body. Turn until it is just snug to your hand.

Step 5: Reattach the Sprinkler and Riser to the Sprinkler Circuit

Turn off the sprinkler system for a few minutes. Insert the riser and sprinkler unit back into the ground, and test by turning on the water. If the water fogs or mists, the water pressure is too high. Reduce the water pressure to release distinct water droplets.

Step 6: Replace the Filter Screen and Tighten the Sprinkler Nozzle

Turn the sprinkler system off for a few minutes. Use the flush-plug handle to lift the riser, twist off the flush plug, and put the filter screen and nozzle into the sprinkler head, and seal tightly.

Step 7: Adjust  and Test the Spray Nozzle on the Sprinkler Head

Move the spray nozzle by turning it until it points in the desired direction. Reactivate the sprinkler system and test the new sprinkler head. If it is working correctly, replace the dirt and turf, pushing it down solidly around the pop-up sprinkler head.