How to Remove a Sprinkler Head

A sprinkler is watering a fresh green lawn with the words, how to remove a sprinkler head.

Many homeowners rely on their sprinkler system to help keep their yards and gardens healthy and looking its best. When parts of your sprinkler systems break, like a sprinkler head, either due to a mishap with the lawnmower or just from old age, some of your yard/garden might not be getting the water it needs. Here are some steps you can take to replace your sprinkler head and get your system back up and running.

Get Your Replacement Sprinkler Head

Start by inspecting the top of the old sprinkler head to find the manufacturer and model number. You will also need to know the size of the nozzle. If you cannot find this information due to the wear of the sprinkler head, you can always check another one in your yard as they should all be the same model. If you are trying to replace a rotor head, you’ll need to get the information from another head that rotates in the same direction as the broken one, so you don’t mess up the water pattern for your plants.

Removing the Old Sprinkler Head

Use a shovel to cut into the top layer of dirt. Make a nice hole about 1 ft around your sprinkler head. It is vitally important that you do not dig or cut too deep, as the risk of hitting a water line is fairly high. After you have finished digging out your 1ft hole, you will need to remove the sod layer, or the dirt holding the sprinkler in. You can easily do this by lifting the dirt straight up. Next, use a hand trowel to move the remaining dirt away from the sprinkler head. Make sure you remove enough dirt so that you can use both hands to remove the sprinkler head.

Finally, turn the sprinkler head counterclockwise. Try not to get any dirt into the connection once it is exposed. Doing this can cause a major clog within your sprinkler.


You can now screw the new replacement head in place. Make sure you run water through the new sprinkler head to remove any dirt that may have gotten inside during the installation process. Keeping running the water until it runs clear.

Replace the dirt around the sprinkler head but be sure the head of the sprinkler is no more than ½ inch above the ground. This will help prevent it from getting clogged with dirt, grass, or developing a leak from low drainage.

Before you turn your sprinklers back on, you will need to set the nozzle. To do this, you will need to lift the cap and grasp the stem of the sprinkler head firmly with your fingers. Thread the nozzle into the stem and then screw it firmly into place. At this point, your sprinkler systems should be good to go.

HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler is proud to offer superior plumbing and sprinkler repairs and installation services. If you are having trouble with your sprinkler, but are unsure of how to solve it, a simple call to HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler – Kathlyn Smith can help you find a solution. Contact us today for more information on our services, and allow us to help you get the most out of your sprinklers and plumbing.