Once I ran the irrigation system, I realized several gear heads needed replacing, in addition to one of the control valves. Np…just a little dirty work and some extra time but it will all be worth it!
First, I made a list of needs (2 heads, one control valve, (2) ¾” barbs, and black flex pipe) and headed out to Lowe’s…I go to the one a little further away because it’s less busy and the store team is so nice and helpful!!! Once back at the house, I grabbed:
- newly purchased items
- gloves (protect those hands)
- pipe cutters (or you can use a box knife)
- teflon tape
- shovel…and hubby to complete these messy repairs.
Armed (and dangerous) and ready to repair!
But slow down you crazy work horse!!! Before digging out the old head use this technique to impress the heck out of your neighbors…
Best Practice: When you are digging out the old head, make sure to dig up the grass in big, thick pieces so that you can lay them back on top of the ground once your replacement is complete. As you dig up the grass, lay these chunks grass side down next to the hole. Use your wheelbarrow to throw the dirt into (this is where you will impress your neighbors on your ability to perform this repair with minimal evidence…you know they’re peaking out their climate controlled living room window wondering what in the world you think you are doing!!!)
Next, if you are wanting to make any adjustment to where the old head was, then you will want to dig all the way back to the white PVC…be careful not to bust the white PVC pipe either by yanking around on the existing black flex pipe or by piercing it with your shovel while you’re digging.
FYI: There should be a good 1’ length of the black flex pipe from the head to the white PVC pipe. This allows for better placement and flexibility when locating the head.
If you are happy with where the head is, then:
- Use your pipe cutters (or box knife) to cut as close to the barb as possible in order to leave the length.
- Screw the new barb into your new gear head and press it as far as possible into the black flex pipe.
- Position the new gear head straight into the ground with the lip of the gear head sitting at ground level. (You shouldn’t hit this with your mower blades as long as it is set at the highest setting.) But, if you have centipede or other lower matte growing grass, then you’ll need to set the head further into the ground.
Best Practice: Make sure to really pack down the soil well as you backfill around the new head. This will prevent the head from “floating” up with excess water that could potentially fill the hole.
Control Valve Replacement: After making the necessary repairs to the heads, all that is left to tackle is replacing the control valve. Ladies, this isn’t crazy hard – it seems like it should be complicated, but it’s not – you can do this!!! Most control valves are attached via a twisting-style fitting, making it very easy to replace! Follow these quick steps to complete this replacement:
- Ensure water is shut off to the irrigation system
- Unscrew wire nuts from the control valve wires (put aside to reuse)
- Untwist the wires from one another
- Unscrew each side of the control valve from the pipes; remove and discard
- Clean the old teflon tape off the male ends of the pipe that is located in the control box then rewrap with new teflon tape
- Place the new control valve in line and screw the fittings tight (no need to crank it crazy hard, remember, you may need to replace it again some day!)
- Twist the wires back together and cap them with the old wire nuts
- Turn the water back on to ensure no leaks
Finally, you’re ready to test each newly repaired zone for adequate coverage. Run through the entire cycle of each zone to ensure the newly replaced heads are rotating as needed. Make adjustments to the rotation or read Irrigation Start-up for direction on adjusting your irrigation heads.
Your lawn and shrubs are now ready to face the inevitable summer heat!
Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and if it’s warm enough…run through the sprinklers…you’ve got to get the dirt rinsed off somehow!!!