A Step-By-Step Guide To Replacing Your Rain Bird Sprinkler Head

If you notice one of your Rain Bird sprinklers isn’t covering the way it should or see water constantly leaking from it, it may be time to replace the sprinkler head. Replacing a sprinkler head is an easy DIY project that can breathe new life into your irrigation system.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer to replacing a Rain Bird sprinkler head: Turn off the water supply and drain the system. Use a sprinkler head wrench to unscrew the old head. Apply pipe thread sealant to the new head and screw it in tightly by hand.

Turn the water back on and check for leaks.

Gathering Your Materials

Replacement Sprinkler Heads

Before you begin replacing your Rain Bird sprinkler head, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. The first item on your list is the replacement sprinkler head itself. Make sure to choose a sprinkler head that is compatible with your existing system.

Rain Bird offers a wide range of sprinkler heads to choose from, including options for different spray patterns, distances, and flow rates. You can find these sprinkler heads at local home improvement stores or online retailers.

Tools Needed

In addition to the replacement sprinkler head, you’ll need a few tools to complete the installation process. Here are the essential tools you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver: A screwdriver will be needed to remove the old sprinkler head and install the new one. Make sure to choose a screwdriver that fits the screws on your sprinkler head.
  • Teflon tape: Teflon tape is used to create a watertight seal between the sprinkler head and the pipe. It helps prevent leaks and ensures proper functionality of the sprinkler system.
  • Adjustable wrench: An adjustable wrench will come in handy for tightening the sprinkler head onto the pipe. It allows you to apply the right amount of pressure without damaging the head or the pipe.
  • Rain Bird adjustment tool: This tool is specifically designed for adjusting Rain Bird sprinkler heads. It allows you to change the spray pattern, radius, and flow of water. If you don’t have the Rain Bird adjustment tool, you can use a small flat-head screwdriver instead.

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials and tools, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step of replacing your Rain Bird sprinkler head.

Shutting Off the Water Supply

When it comes to replacing your Rain Bird sprinkler head, the first step is to shut off the water supply. This will ensure that you can work on the sprinkler head without water gushing out and causing a mess.

There are two main tasks involved in shutting off the water supply: locating the shut-off valve and draining the pipes.

Locating the Shut-Off Valve

The shut-off valve is an essential component of your sprinkler system as it controls the water flow. To locate the shut-off valve, you should start by looking near your water meter. Typically, the shut-off valve is located underground or in a box near the water meter.

It is important to note that the shut-off valve may be different for each home, so it may not be exactly in the same spot as your neighbor’s.

If you are having trouble locating the shut-off valve, you can try reaching out to your local water department or a professional plumber for assistance. They will be able to provide you with guidance on where to find the shut-off valve specific to your property.

Draining the Pipes

Once you have located the shut-off valve, the next step is to drain the pipes. This is an important step to prevent any water from flowing through the system while you are working on replacing the sprinkler head. To drain the pipes, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn off the controller or timer for your sprinkler system.
  2. Open all the sprinkler heads in your system to allow any remaining water to drain out.
  3. Wait for a few minutes to ensure that all the water has been drained from the pipes.

By draining the pipes, you are ensuring that there is no water pressure in the system, which will make it safer and easier for you to replace the sprinkler head. Remember to keep safety in mind and wear appropriate protective gear when working with your sprinkler system.

For more detailed instructions and illustrations, you can visit the official Rain Bird website (https://www.rainbird.com/). They provide comprehensive guides on various aspects of sprinkler system maintenance and repair.

Removing the Old Sprinkler Head

When it comes to replacing your Rain Bird sprinkler head, the first step is to remove the old one. This may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and a little know-how, it can be done easily and efficiently. Here are two methods you can use to remove the old sprinkler head:

Using a Sprinkler Wrench

The easiest way to remove the old sprinkler head is by using a sprinkler wrench. This specialized tool is designed specifically for this purpose and makes the process much simpler. To use the sprinkler wrench, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the sprinkler head that needs to be removed.
  2. Insert the sprinkler wrench over the top of the sprinkler head, ensuring that it fits securely.
  3. Using a firm grip, turn the wrench counterclockwise to loosen the sprinkler head.
  4. Continue turning until the sprinkler head is completely detached from the riser.

Using a sprinkler wrench is a quick and efficient method for removing the old sprinkler head. It minimizes the risk of damaging the surrounding area and ensures a smooth removal process.

Troubleshooting a Stuck Head

Sometimes, you may encounter a sprinkler head that is stuck and difficult to remove. In this case, a little troubleshooting may be necessary. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot a stuck sprinkler head:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the sprinkler system.
  2. Gently tap the sprinkler head with a rubber mallet or a block of wood. This can help loosen any debris or sediment that may be causing the head to stick.
  3. If tapping doesn’t work, try using a pair of pliers to grip the sprinkler head and twist it counterclockwise. Be careful not to apply too much force, as this can damage the head or the riser.
  4. If all else fails, you may need to use a hacksaw to cut through the riser and remove the stuck sprinkler head. This should be a last resort and is best done by a professional.

Remember, troubleshooting a stuck sprinkler head requires caution and patience. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it’s always best to seek professional help.

For more detailed instructions or troubleshooting tips, you can refer to Rain Bird’s official website at www.rainbird.com.

Installing the New Sprinkler Head

Applying Pipe Sealant

Before installing the new sprinkler head, it is important to apply pipe sealant to ensure a tight and leak-free connection. Pipe sealant, also known as pipe dope, is a sticky substance that helps create a seal between the sprinkler head and the pipe.

It prevents water leakage and helps maintain the proper functioning of the sprinkler system.

To apply the pipe sealant, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the threads on the pipe are clean and free from debris.
  2. Apply a small amount of pipe sealant to the threads of the pipe.
  3. Spread the sealant evenly by rotating the sprinkler head clockwise onto the pipe.
  4. Tighten the sprinkler head until it is snug, using a wrench if necessary. Be careful not to overtighten as it may damage the threads.

Applying pipe sealant is an important step in the installation process as it helps prevent leaks and ensures the longevity of your sprinkler system.

Tightening by Hand

After applying the pipe sealant, the next step is to tighten the new sprinkler head onto the pipe. It is important to tighten the sprinkler head securely to prevent any water leakage or misalignment.

To tighten the sprinkler head by hand, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the sprinkler head firmly with one hand.
  2. Using your other hand, rotate the sprinkler head clockwise onto the pipe.
  3. Tighten the sprinkler head until it is snug.

It is important not to overtighten the sprinkler head as it may damage the threads or the sprinkler head itself. Use your judgment and tighten it enough to ensure a secure connection.

By following these steps, you can successfully install the new sprinkler head and ensure the proper functioning of your Rain Bird sprinkler system.

Completing the Project

Once you have successfully replaced your Rain Bird sprinkler head, there are a few final steps to complete the project. These steps will ensure that your new sprinkler head is functioning properly and that there are no leaks or issues with the system.

Turning the Water Back On

Before testing for leaks, you need to turn the water back on. Locate the main water valve for your sprinkler system and slowly turn it counterclockwise to allow the water to flow back into the system. Once the water is turned on, you can move on to the next step.

Testing for Leaks

Now that the water is flowing, it’s important to test for any leaks in the system. Walk around the area where the sprinkler head is installed and look for any signs of water pooling or spraying. If you notice any leaks, turn off the water and double-check the installation to ensure that the sprinkler head is properly secured.

If the leaks persist, you may need to consult a professional or contact Rain Bird customer support for further assistance.

It’s also recommended to perform a pressure test to ensure that the system is functioning optimally. This can be done by attaching a pressure gauge to one of the nearby sprinkler heads and checking the reading. The pressure should be within the recommended range specified by Rain Bird.

If it’s too high or too low, adjustments may need to be made to the system.

Adjusting the Sprinkler’s Arc

After confirming that there are no leaks, you can now adjust the sprinkler’s arc to ensure proper coverage of your lawn or garden. This can be done using the adjustment screw or key provided by Rain Bird.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set the desired arc, taking into account factors such as the size and shape of your lawn as well as any obstacles that may affect the sprinkler’s coverage.

Once you have completed these final steps, you can sit back and enjoy the benefits of your newly replaced Rain Bird sprinkler head. Your lawn will be well-watered and maintained, ensuring healthy and vibrant greenery.

Remember to regularly inspect and maintain your sprinkler system to prolong its lifespan and avoid any future issues.


With a little time and effort, you can successfully replace a malfunctioning Rain Bird sprinkler head yourself. Just be sure to turn off the water, remove the old head properly, apply sealant to the new one, and check for leaks.

Replacing damaged sprinkler heads ensures your system runs efficiently so your lawn stays healthy and green all season long.

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