How To Fix A Busted Sprinkler

It happens all the time. A sprinkler breaks on your lawn and you probably don’t know about it until you realize there’s a patch of grass starting to turn yellow and dry up. Or, you learn about it quickly when you see a massive puddle of water near your driveway from a busted sprinkler head and water having spewed out throughout the 15 minutes watering cycle.

Should you can a landscaper to come by and fix it? Maybe call a handyman that knows how to fix a busted sprinkler?

You know what? You don’t gotta do any of that! You can fix a busted sprinkler yourself in no time at all. Not only that, you can fix a busted sprinkler for under $10. Let us show you how to do it.

These days, sprinklers are pretty much all the same. They all work pretty much in the same way with water running underneath them and the water pressure making them “pop out” of their small casing and spraying water towards wherever the water spout is pointing. The only thing you have to really worry about is getting one that’s pretty similar to the one that is there in the first place. So the very first thing you will need to do is to dig out the area around the sprinkler and simply turn and unscrew it right outta the ground. All sprinklers are connected underneath to the main water supply line that can be anywhere from 1/2 inch to 2 inches wide. It’s usually white. Each sprinkler is connected to that supply line by a 1/2 connection.

So, just dig around the busted sprinkler, about 1 to 2 inches around it to give you room to simply unscrew it from the supply line. Pull it out slowly so you don’t get a bunch of dirt inside the open hole you’ll leave once you remove it. One of two things will happen when you unscrew it. It will come out with the small 1/2 pipe attached to it on the bottom or it will come out without it and the small pipe will stay on the supply line. Either way, you are fine. If you leave the small pipe behind, use a plastic pipe extractor to push into the pipe and it will grip it, then unscrew it out.

Next look at the sprinkler that you have. Take it with you to the nearest hardware supply store and look for one similar to it. There’s a very big chance you will find the exact same one in one of those big home improvement stores. These sprinklers have a head on them with a different variety of waterspouts to change the flow of water that they spray. There are 1/4 circle spouts that usually go on the corner end of a lawn.  There are half circle spouts that go directly on the side of a lawn. Then there is full circle spout ends that go on the middle of lawns. There are even adjustable ones but the cost a bit more. Simply look at what you have before. Purchase the one you need and also a cheap roll of Teflon tape.

Once you get home, attach the small 1/2 inch size pipe on the bottom of the sprinkler with a little Teflon tape wrapped around it first. Once it’s on there, wrap Teflon tape around the threading of the part that will go to the supply line underneath. Screw the whole thing onto the supply line and tighten by hand only. Those things are all plastic and will break with a pair of pliers or channel locks. Make sure you face the 1/4 circle or half circle in the right direction (Full circle you don’t worry about). The sprinkler will have a marking to show you where the water spout will be. Once in the ground, fill up the open ground with the original dirt and grass you dug out in the first place. Pack it nice and tight. Go turn on the sprinkler and test it out. You’ll if it’s popping out correctly and if the water is spraying out in the right direction.

And that should do it. It’s actually quite simple to fix a busted sprinkler. You can hire a pro for at least $50 or do it yourself for under $10.

Special thanks to our friends over at

Bob Ross has over 30 years of experience cutting, fertilizing, and making lawns look as good and green as possible. He shares his advice and techniques with homeowners and other in the lawn care industry with pride and passion.
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