Why do irrigation heads stay UP

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by dfor, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 828

    I have one customer that I cut grass for, and a lot of the heads in his back yard stick up and don't go down unless I tap it down. The back yard system was installed by the previous homeowner. Rainbird heads. I swear I have hit probably 7 heads this year alone just in the back yard. He waters to much, grass is long and I don't see them until they go flying. What could be the reason they are staying up? Thanks.
  2. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

    In my area (lots of sand) that would probably be caused by scoring of the sprinkler barrel. Happens a lot with rainbirds. Causes them to stick.
  3. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    Sand, or grit between the flow stem and the wiper seal, worn out wiper seal, worn out retraction spring, or even the infamous homeowner Rainbird heads from Home Depot/Lowes.

    If it is costing you money everytime you mow one off, I'd walk the yard and make sure they are all down. Probably do that while you are edging/trimming. A couple minutes doing that will be cheaper than the time and money spent replacing mowen off heads.

    Just my $.02

  4. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    All of the above, and add the following.

    The wiper collar is made of plyable material and oxidation causes the collar to loose it's flexibility, when this happens the spring doesn't have enough pressure to retract the stem back into the can. I am guessing the system is around 12 to 15 years old, basically the heads need a revamp.

  5. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,640

    I have a house that does the exact same thing except this system is brand new. It sucks soooo bad especially since the yard is huge and the heads seem to just be stuck here and there and in no kind of pattern. Some are 3 inches from the walk way some a foot. Some heads are out in the middle of the yard next to a tree and some areas don't get wattering because there isn't a head in that area. Very annoying must have been a homeowner install!
  6. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    If it's a new install, given that they didn't use head's pulled from a revamp, then they probably flushed a bunch of crap into the line. The lack of coverage could also be from improper pattern adjustment. I would advise the following steps, to see if the situation can be fixed in a " cost effective manner ".

    1) Pull the head from the fitting, then use a 3/4 or 1/2" coupler to a piece of polypipe ( 3' or so ) to flush the line.

    2) Take a 5 gal bucket, half full of water, and disassemle the head. Then see how much crap comes out.

    If the heads are clean, then they were probably pulled from anouther job and are worn out. The other possibility is that some dumbass decided to squirt WD-40 in the collars to " keep um loobed up ", different means to the same end.

    If there is substatial dirt/crap in the head then rinse the heads, flush the line's and check the pattern adjustment. If the aforementiond doesn't work, then it's time to call in a reputable irrigation contractor to asess the problem.

    Best of luck,
  7. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    So are the Rainbird heads from Lowe's not of good quality? I have another post going where I am asking for recommendations on good quality parts to go with. I am but a simple homeowner, but want to do the job right, as I will probably be moving and keeping the house as a rental. I would like to keep future repairs at a minimum, just as if I were living here forever!

  8. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,928

    What has not been mention and this applies to any brand is the lack of keeping a cleared area for the head to operate. What I mean that grass is allowed to cover up the head, then allow grit and garbage to contaminate the pop up part.

    As to the homeowner asking about RainBirds, stay away from the home owner grade and use the 1800 series bodies.
  9. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Hey F6, I know in another thread it was mentioned about using Rainbird or Toro to design your system, but do be careful on what products you purchase from their parts list. At least when I used Rainbirds design services a number of years ago, they had some really cheap valves on their lists. I bought them because I didn't know any better at the time, oye vey.

    Oh yeah, why some sprinkler heads stay up... Big difference in the retraction springs from one head to another. Man, with some heads, you're doing good if you can manually extend them up from the body, and once up, it can be a bear just to hang on those dudes. Ever have one of these beasts snap back down on the skin between your thumb and index finger? Wow oh wow does that smart!

    But needless to say, it seems as if burred up or dirty caps and risers cause the bulk of problems. Helps to keep wayward drunk drivers off of them too.
  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    here the rainbird r50/s are bad about that. we started using the hunter heads becuase of the stronger retraction spring.

    and someone asked about the lowe's heads being cheap??

    they are old designs. like the optima and leggostuff. now, those really are junk

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