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Is it Easy to Replace Sprinkler Heads or Do I Need a Professional?

Jack Moore
Mar 14, 2022 11:26:59 AM

If you suspect that you have a broken sprinkler head, you might be wondering if that’s an easy fix that you can handle on your own. While a quick internet search might have you convinced you can replace sprinkler heads by yourself, there are some important considerations to keep in mind before you head down this path.

Having worked with homeowners who have done some of their own irrigation repairs, we’ve seen where things have gone wrong and what issues have caused problems down the road.

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How to Replace a Sprinkler Head in North Texas

As we mentioned, if you search online about how to replace a sprinkler head, you’ll find a lot of information. There are even videos that can walk you through the process.

It’s not that the task of replacing the sprinkler heads is truly that difficult. If you watch some of the step-by-step videos out there, you can see what should be done to go through the process (assuming, of course, you find a reputable video made by an expert).

The fact is, it’s less about the difficulty of the task and more that there are often problems that arise during the process. We have talked to many homeowners over the years who wish they’d just called us from the start instead of trying to dive in and tackle irrigation issues on their own.

irrigation technicians repair broken sprinkler head

Many times, it caused them more hassles and headaches than they’d anticipated.

That’s why we want to talk about some of the reasons why this task can end up being more complicated than you might have imagined.

Ultimately, if you do decide to replace a sprinkler head on your own, we want you to feel set up for success. Hopefully, by understanding where things can go wrong you can make the right choice for your North Texas home.

If You Replace Sprinkler Heads On Your Own, You Could Create a Monster: A “Franken-System”

One of the biggest problems that we’ve seen when people take irrigation maintenance services into their own hands is that they inadvertently create a pieced-together system—what we’ve nicknamed a Franken-System.

Much like Frankenstein was pieced together with a lot of different parts, this is what can occur when you try to replace irrigation system parts from whatever is available at the local hardware store.

irrigation sprinkler head waters grass

This could leave you with an irrigation system that is functioning less than optimally.

Now you might have a head that sticks too far above the ground or too far below and it’s not watering the way that it should. You could have areas of your lawn that aren’t as green as they should be, and this could be why.

The fact is, when you go to a big box store or local hardware store, you’re going to be limited to the irrigation parts that they have available. Over time, you could end up with this Franken-System that is made up of all different brands.

irrigation technician inspects sprinklers

When we’ve gotten called in for inspection or repair work to irrigation systems, and we find a Franken-System, it can be complicated to repair. We might need to ultimately replace multiple parts of what could have been a simple repair job.

People are really frustrated when they realize they’ve caused more problems by trying to tackle something on their own (as it ends up costing them more money in the long run).

If You Replace Sprinkler Heads On Your Own, You Could Cause Damage

Damage is another big concern of tackling this kind of repair work on your own. When you dig the hole to replace the sprinkler head, you could end up cracking something and causing further problems. It’s very important that you are careful as you dig in your yard and around your sprinkler system.

Another problem that we commonly see is when homeowners accidentally get dirt into the line.

This might not manifest itself as a problem right away. But the dirt could get pushed through the line and end up clogging the filters. This could render other heads less efficient, even if the system is not completely clogged.

irrigation technician repairs line

This could mean causing collateral damage, unrelated to the problem you were trying to “fix.”

There’s nothing more frustrating than creating a bigger problem than the one that you were attempting to fix.

If You Replace Sprinkler Heads On Your Own, You Could Invest a lot of Time and Money

Another really important point that we want to make is that it’s not “free” to take a DIY approach to replace sprinkler heads in your lawn.

Obviously, it’s likely something that you’re tackling on your own to try to save some money but people sometimes end up finding they have to spend more than they expected.

irrigation technician digs up sprinkler head

For instance, if you dig up the sprinkler head and find that there is a root system that has grown around it, you might now need to buy a tool to cut through that. This could mean yet another trip to the hardware store and another purchase.

Homeowners don’t always consider how valuable their time is (and how much time these DIY projects can take). It could end up taking you almost an entire day to do a simple repair job if things go awry in any way (such as our example of discovering there are roots in the way).

All of this also relies on you properly diagnosing an irrigation problem in the first place.

irrigation team inspects sprinklers

What you might think is a broken sprinkler head could actually be something else entirely! Unless it’s completely obvious that it’s a broken sprinkler head, it’s important that you don’t jump to the conclusion. Maybe it’s a broken drip line, or it’s something else.

Ideally, you want to make sure that you’ve made the proper diagnosis before getting started with any sort of “solution.” If you feel unsure about what’s going on with your system, it could be a lot more cost-effective to let a professional make the diagnosis and handle the proper repair.

Working with a Pro to Replace Sprinkler Heads (and So Much More)

Our recommendation would obviously be to work with an irrigation professional to replace sprinkler heads, primarily because we’ve seen the above scenarios happen so many times. While we agree it’s not necessarily rocket science to replace sprinkler heads, it is often more complicated than people initially realize. Even matching parts and making sure that everything continues to run optimally can become complicated.

In our opinion, it’s just not worth it to try and save a little bit of money (but open yourself up to greater risk).

Plus, your time is worth something. It’s quite likely that you don’t really want to spend your weekend trying to figure out what’s going on with your irrigation system when you could call in a pro.

sprinkler head watering grass with grassperson truck parked on street

This is also one of the reasons why we really believe that irrigation check-ups are so important. Many times, homeowners assume they don’t need their systems checked regularly, especially if everything seems to be functioning properly.

But problems aren’t always obvious right away. Oftentimes, a check-up can reveal a small problem in its early stages and prevent it from becoming serious. Unfortunately, homeowners usually don’t recognize that there’s an irrigation system problem until it’s causing bigger issues.

Gaining Peace of Mind

We know that irrigation problems can be frustrating and costly. But catching issues, like sprinkler head problems, early can make a big difference.

That’s why at Grassperson, we recommend at least bi-annual irrigation checks in the spring and in the fall.

In the spring, we’re making sure everything looks good as we head into the hottest months (and drought-like conditions). We’re making tweaks where they’re needed and making sure any repairs (however minor they may be) are handled. In the fall, we’re making sure the system is set up for winter when the lawn and landscape needs will dramatically change again.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to peace of mind. When it comes to ensuring that you’re not wasting water and that your lawn and landscape will continue to look and perform as the “best on the block,” we feel that’s what you deserve.

Instead of worrying about potential irrigation problems that may be lurking, you can leave it up to a pro who knows exactly what your Northern Texas property needs. Get a Free Quote, then you can enjoy the best lawn and landscape on the block!

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