Adding Heads to an Existing Irrigation Line
Does your customer’s lawn need more attention in certain areas? Sometimes adding a head to an existing irrigation line is the answer to keeping it looking green and lively.
August 27, 2021
If you’re working with a customer, especially a new one, sometimes their lawn needs a little extra love. Complete an irrigation audit to review the efficacy of their current system. Adding a sprinkler head to a line could be a solution for problem areas.
You may need to add a head because there’s incomplete coverage of a zone, or recently added landscaping beds or areas. Adding heads is a cost-effective way to increase landscaping area that is irrigated without installing a whole new system.
Materials Needed for Install:
- T-fitting connecter with threaded outlet
- Hacksaw or PVC ratcheting cutters
- Pipe-thread tape
- PVC glue or cement
- Slip-fix coupler fittings
- Sprinkler heads
- Swing assembly
- Flex pipe
Overview of Installation Process
Before starting the process, ensure the zone has enough pressure and flow capacity to manage another sprinkler or spray head. At different pressures, the head and nozzle will use different amounts of water. Test the water pressure closest to the time of day the property will run the irrigation system. While you can use a pressure gauge to measure this yourself if possible, it’s ideal to meet with a water purveyor who uses a computer model to predict pressure. With this tool, they can provide data regardless of season and you can better predict pressure changes in the future. An ideal pressure range is 40-60 PSI. To check flow rate and flow loss, use a pipe flow loss chart. Check manufacturer recommendations for sprinkler performance. If there is not enough available capacity for the new additional sprinkler, add a new zone.
Begin by flushing out pipes and turning off the water supply. Excavate soil around the pipe where you want to install the head. Be careful to not damage the pipe in the process. Use ratcheting cutters or a hacksaw to cut section of PVC pipe wide enough to insert a coupling and tee-fitting. The fitting will need a threaded outlet for the riser. Glue the tee-fitting onto the open end of pipe and the slip-fix coupling to the other end. Adjust to fit pipes as needed and ensure tee is facing straight up, as cement dries fast. Use the same height riser as the rest of the line; wrap riser threads with pipe-thread tape and screw it into the tee fitting. Using a swing assembly or a flex pipe instead of a riser may be a helpful option to adjust the sprinkler head to grade. These pieces are easy to adjust and act like an “extension cord” to the pipe and the sprinkler head.
Always check for gas pipes or electrical cables before digging. Sprinkler heads and nozzles must be the same kind throughout the zone or have a matched precipitation rate, otherwise you run the risk of uneven watering. This can lead to runoff issues and/or dry patches on the lawn. During install, don’t bend the riser tubes too much as they tend to straighten back out and may dislodge the sprinkler.
If you have any questions about the installation process or the parts needed, don’t hesitate to ask your local SiteOne branch associate. To learn more about new irrigation techniques or common projects, check the SiteOne Universities in your area. For inventory, visit the irrigation section of our website.