Broken Sprinkler

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grillnchilln, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. grillnchilln

    grillnchilln LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 16

    What do you do about damaged sprinkler heads? I am usually pretty fortunate facing obvious or visible heads or pop ups that are below the surface. But when you get blamed for repeated damage (i am not sure i am fully to blame) - how do you handle it? Just fix it and move on or what?
  2. bonefisher101

    bonefisher101 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    Go fix it.....make sure it is below cutting level and dirt piled up tight around it so it won't move you know if it breaks again it's not your fault! They might be running it over with a car and breaking it blaming you!
  3. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I would just replace it and make sure it is at a level that you like and it retracts properly. Then just make sure you don't hit it, actually you should know you won't hit it since you installed it. If they continue to blame you, then I would just drop the customer.
  4. yamadooski

    yamadooski LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    Replace it..they are cheap. I tell customers that I will replace all heads in the yard that I break except along the driveway, street and sidewalk.
    I dont replace broken stems either. That is a lack of irrigation maintance.
  5. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    I don't realistically understand how the sprinklers in Florida are installed, but around here, the heads are installed along the driveways, sidelwalks, etc. The heads align or follow the concrete surface and are at soil levels. When using the dreaded edger or string trimmer, the heads get damaged and broken. The mailmen, sanitation, UPS, FEDEX drivers seem hit all the heads possible. So how is a broken stem or lack of irrigation maintenance used as a excuse.....??
    We are under the agreement that the heads located within the lawn are possible targets but rarely damaged during mowing. The heads that are targeted are the ones that are close to curbs, walls, sidewalks, drives--etc. This year we have replaced about 2-3 heads a month...............this is par but we have replaced over 100 on general maintenance practices. This is a good ratio for me!!!! Lawn heads that are hit are usually from excess pressure in the line after drainage making the head not recess down after the line is drained. We usually hit those in tall grass situations. We replace the ones we questions asked. Be honest!!!!
    If a customer calls about water shooting up 35 feet into the air or a head watering the pavement and the interiors of cars, we charge for the work.

    Rainbird and Hunter products are not expensive.............replace the heads and move on. 15 years ago, I didn't know the first thing about sprinkler heads. I knew these things came up and watered the grass. There is nothing to replacing these things...just a little digging if needed..........most times just taking out the guts and slipping new ones in. Installing a new nozzle and readjusting the arc and width.
    Our supplier offers help and training on the rainbird and the hunter products they sell. There isn't anything they won't tell a customer about their products. They offer diagrams if asked for. The only times info. is needed for us is when a customer uses the old fashioned rotor heads. They are more destructable than the other models around here.
    Stainless steel sleeved heads are primo in most of the landscapes here!!!!

    My comments above are from the use of string trimmers. Nozzles will go flying off from time to time. I have, literally thrown the rubber protective caps off the hunter heads while edging. I replace them!!! Chances are, you are the last person on the lawn. The sprinklers fail to work properly and guess who gets the first call???? There needs to be a line of scrimmage with the customer or you will be replacing heads all season at your cost. Educating the customer on the problematic spots will reduce the worry of mistrust.
    If you are replacing heads all the time, then there is something more going on.
    Just last week, we replaced 5-- 1800 series heads at a clinic. All the heads were broken off at the ground. It was just the stems left in the cylinders. The water came out like old faithfull..............washed out craters around the heads.
    It took us a week to has been dry...........the squirrells have been eating the plastic nozzles off.........the rest just shot off when pressurizing. Funny thing is...........we never find any remnants just the knaw marks on the plastic casings.
    Try explaining this to a office manager
    Since we have been off all week from rain....................the same office manager calls yesterday. They had a duo break into the clinic and destroy some hung ceilings. The critters were apprehended by the Animal Control Officers, and we made money on a rainy day.................redoing hung ceilings.
    IF it weren't for critters and mistakes, we wouldn't keep on working LOL!!!

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    i would fix it and make sure it doesnt happen again
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    After the 2nd time I pop the same riser?

    I stick one of them little orange marker flags right beside it.
    I use those marking flags most anytime I "find" a trouble spot, especially if it's one of those I keep forgetting about.
    I leave it there however long.
    It sure helps.
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I've broken a grand total of 1 head in 17 years prior to this, and that one was buried in tall liriope I was trimming in the beds. This year I got one in overgrown tall grass that was improperly installed and sticking up over the ground and even above the mowing line in a new home construction situation. I mow another older REO home that has a ridiculously poor install, with heads sticking up above grade. They are visable so I can work around them.

    If it is a probem related to the risers not retracting or improper installation I'd replace the first one, tell them about it, let them know until they fix the system the rest are their problem.

    Why bail out the dufus who didn't install them right? He probably got well paid for his shoddy work. I would drop a customer on general principle rather than pay for someone else's mistakes on an ongoing basis.
  9. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    1 head in 17 years.....? What??
    How many of your customers have irrigation systems?
    65% of our customers irrigate on a regular basis. We have hit a ton of what maintenance procedures do you implement to your employees!! I have hit several dozen over the last few years as it isn't difficult to do with erosion and other natural factors at play.
  10. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,361

    I would agree.......not possible to go long without hitting a head

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