How to Replace a Cracked Sprinkler Riser

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A damaged sprinkler riser may be the most common problem a homeowner experiences with lawn maintenance. The most common cause of riser damage is from a spinning lawnmower blade. Another problem for the homeowner may be that he is unaware that he can replace one of these damaged risers. It is, in fact, quite simple. Here are 5 steps that will guide you in replacing your damaged sprinkler riser.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • 2 Lockjaw pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Roundmouth shovel
  • Plastic Sheet
  • Riser Removal tool

Step 1 - Locate the Broken Riser

You'll first know you have a broken sprinkler when you find dry or soggy places on your lawn, when your sprinkler is on and you see water gushing from a broken sprinkler riser. If you're not sure you have a broken riser, turn on your sprinkler system and find the sprinkler head that isn't working as it should. That is where you'll normally find your broken riser.

Step 2 - Remove the Sod and Soil from around the Riser

Use your shovel to dig up the sod and soil from around the riser and sprinkler head. Remove all the soil from around the base of the riser where it screws into the pipe. This will prevent dirt from falling into the open pipe when the riser is removed. If dirt falls into the open pipe, it can clog the sprinkler head when the head and the new riser are screwed back in place.

Step 3 - Remove the Riser

To unscrew the riser from the system PVC pipe, hold the riser with one of your pliers, and then use the other pliers to loosen the sprinkler head from the riser. Remove he head, then unscrew the riser from the lateral PVC pipe it's connected to. You may need one of your pliers to loosen it. The riser may be broken off, so be sure you remove all of it from the pipe.

Step 4 - Remove Broken Riser Pieces

There's a good chance the riser, itself, will be broken off, since it is more fragile than the head it's screwed into it. If the riser is broken off with a piece of it lodged inside the pipe, try to remove the loose piece, then unscrew the lodged piece that's left screwed into the lateral pipe. If this piece is too small to grasp with your fingers, you might be able to unscrew it with your pliers. If it is broken off so short that you can't grasp it with your pliers, you should next use a riser removal tool to unscrew it. Try to avoid getting dirt into the pipe opening.

Step 5 - Attach the New Riser

Screw the new riser into the lateral pipe by turning the riser clockwise. When you have it screwed into the pipe, turn on your sprinklers and allow the gushing water to wash out any dirt in the pipe or the riser. Then turn off the water, screw on the sprinkler head, and position it so that it will spray in the right direction. Finally, replace the dirt and sod, turn on the sprinkler, and test the new riser.

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