How to Adjust Rotating Sprinkler Heads

All sprinkler heads should be readjusted and tested thoroughly at the beginning of each season to ensure that they’re working effectively and aren’t likely to waste any water during their cycle. Rotary sprinkler heads are no exception to this rule, but are often adjusted differently to other sprinkler head types. 

Instructions on how to adjust rotating sprinkler heads should be listed in your manual, but if you don’t have access to the manual, it’s a fairly simple process that includes repositioning the sprinkler head and the arc to ensure that the spray is accurate. 

Why You Should Adjust Rotating Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads should be checked and adjusted at the beginning of each season, to inspect for damage or misalignment. During periods of unuse, sprinkler heads are likely to become clogged or knocked. 

Misaligned sprinkler heads could be bad news for your grass, as sprinkler systems are normally built to overlap streams slightly to enable even and full coverage of the yard. Even though there are different types of sprinklers for different types or needs, the rotary sprinkler remains a popular choice, but sometimes requires adjustment more often than other counterparts. 

Uneven or patchy coverage could lead to unwatered grass and browning in areas that aren’t being watered correctly. It can also lead to more waste water, which is never ideal.

pulsating sprinkler spraying jets of water

Adjusting Rotating Sprinkler Heads

Adjusting rotating sprinkler heads is easy and takes no time at all once you’re used to it. It’s important to begin by thinking about your water pressure, as rotary sprinklers are often heavily reliant on the water pressure being fairly high to operate correctly. If your water pressure is fairly low, you can easily increase water pressure for your sprinkler system. 

1 – Reposition the Head

Make sure that your rotary sprinkler is parallel to the horizon. This means making sure that it is as level as possible, and that the spray it produces is even around the whole circumference. 

2 – Adjusting the Arc

The arc refers to the degree of coverage that the sprinkler has from one side to the other during its cycle. To adjust this, make sure that the sprinkler head is turned and positioned where the arc should start during the cycle. Allow the sprinkler to run through one to three cycles to ensure its start and end point are correct before making any further adjustments to the arc. 

3- Spray Distance

Ensure that the distance of the spray is adequate for your system. Some systems require more spray due to coverage, and some don’t require as much. This can be manually controlled via the adjustment screw that most sprinkler heads have installed. Turning the screw clockwise often minimizes spray, whilst screwing it anticlockwise will maximize the spray. Adjust this screw as much as necessary to reach your required range. 

Things to Be Wary Of

  • Each sprinkler system will have its own instruction manual which should outline adjustment procedures. It’s always advised to consult these manuals before making changes to your sprinkler system, as they may have specific ways of adjusting the sprinkler heads. 
  • Checking and readjusting your sprinkler system should be completed on a seasonal basis. It’s important around cold seasons to winterize your sprinkler system, and ensure that there is as little water as possible left inside during freezing temperatures. Leaving water inside could lead to damage to the sprinkler pipes or sprinkler heads. 

Final Thoughts

Adjusting your rotary sprinkler heads is a simple process that will save you water and a patchy garden providing it is carried out correctly. It should be done once a season to ensure that everything is working correctly and should be added to your general sprinkler maintenance. 

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