What's under the sprinkler head?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by crawdad, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Yesterday, I got another mowing job for the upcoming season. The neighbor across the street also wants a price, but they weren't home. I walked the yard, and saw two sprinkler heads that seem way too tall. So, I checked them out, they're just sitting in the holes. I picked them up, the head itself, an "orbit hardtop" appears to have something broken off inside on the bottom.
    I haven't worked with irrigation systems before, but now is as good a time as any to learn. What's down there, generally? Will I have to dig to find out, or is it generally a "T" under each head?
    Both of these heads are broken the same way, could be from getting run over with a heavy machine. I'm thinking that I may have to dig under the line, to lower it when making repairs, to prevent it happening again. Maybe buy a shorter head to replace it with?
    As I said before, I haven't worked with sprinkler systems before, but I would like to get into it a little bit, for my mowing customers. I don't plan to jump into installing them, but I should be able to do repairs, to keep other contractors off "my" lawns.
    I'll be going back today around noon to give a price for mowing, and plan to tell her about the broken heads at that time.
    Crawdad
    One more thing, could they break like that from freezing, not being cleared before winter? I don't want to blame the last mower man if it wasn't him.
     
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Crawdad - you'll have to dig down and see what type of fitting it is/was. Sometimes, the head is threaded directly into a tee using a threaded nipple. Other times, it may be threaded into a smaller pipe, then threaded into the tee. This is what is referred to as a swing joint. Both are easy fixes, but the swing joint is preferred because it will "give" when a piece of equip. is run over it. In your case, the heads could have been broken by running over with equipment, water freezing and cracking the fitting, or from using too much air pressure to blow the sprinklers out for the winter. I would suspect the last one is the culprit. Anyways, it's an easy fix and you should have no trouble fixing it in a few minutes. When you replace the head, level it up and place it slightly lower than the exisiting grade.
     
  3. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Thanks for the quick reply. Are you familiar with the "orbit hardtop?" How do I set it lower, are most heads adjustable for height?
    I guess I'll have to dig a little to look at the line, then find a local source for parts, etc. If it's just a broken nipple, I can get that at Lowe's or Home Cheapo.
    Crawdad
     
  4. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    I just spent a few minutes at http://www.orbitonline.com
    The "hardtop" doesn't come up on a search of the site, it must be an older, discontinued, head. I have a general idea what to look for now. Hopefully, it's a broken nipple. Can I say nipple, or are the whiners gonna get offended at "colorful language?"?;)
    Crawdad
     
  5. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    I'm not familiar with the hardtop, but if you need a new head I'm sure you can replace it with something from Rainbird, Hunter, Toro, etc. It's more than likely a broken nipple. When you're at Lowe's, pick yourself up a "broken nipple extractor". Very handy tool for what you're doing. I think you can say "nipple". That;s whats interesting about the plumbing industry - names of fittings and parts that can be taken the wrong way, i.e. male/female adapters, nipples, horsec*cks, etc.
     

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