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How to install a irrigation spray or rotor

Once you have laved your pipe and have installed your irrigation drain valves and risers you are ready to install your sprinklers. Some risers may need a threaded adapter added to connect to the sprinkler head. Thread the correct fitting into the sprinkler body using teflon tape. The tape will help make it easier to connect the sprinkler to the riser and will also create a water tight connection. Use a wrench to finish tightening the connection.

Insert the upper end of the riser into the sprinkler inlet. Keep the sprinkler in an upright position while filling dirt in around the sprinkler body. Backfill with dirt until the sprinkler is secure and stays in place. Once all the sprinklers in a zone are in place you can turn on the water briefly to flush out any dirt that may have gotten into the system. Many sprinklers are installed with flush caps. A flush cap is a small plastic fitting that is attached at the end of the sprinkler riser to flush out debris in the piping.

Before you turn on the water to check how the sprinklers operate you should remove all screens from the heads. Screw the sprinkler onto the swing joint and turn on that zone to flush the piping through the flush caps. Flushing the system prevents any dirt, sediment, bits of tape to get into the spray head. Once the system has been flushed you can install your screens or nozzles. Make sure the screen is installed correctly before attaching the nozzle. If you are using pressure regulating screens it is extremely important to make sure the correct color screen has been used to maintain the correct operating pressure for the spray head. Screw the nozzle in evenly avoiding cross threading the riser. *Do not use teflon tape on nozzle threads.

Next set your nozzles at the correct pattern or arc before you back fill in the dirt. After you have backfilled dirt around the heads. Tramp the soil around the head to firmly to set the head and lessen any settling. Make sure you have kept the head perfectly upright while filling in the dirt. If the head is not positioned correctly it can cause poor performance and coverage.

Positioning Heads on a Slope

Special considerations should be made if the placement of a head is on a sloped area. Make sure to tilt the head perpendicular to the slope, unless the slope is greater than a 3:1 ratio (rise:run). Gravity causes the water being sprayed on a slope to be distributed unevenly. Pulling the throw a further distance downhill and throwing less of a distance uphill.



The spray will throw water a longer distance when it sprays down from a sloped area.

The spray will throw water a shorter distance when it sprays up on a sloped area.

This shows how the spray will throw both when spraying up and down on a sloped landscape.


Make sure you angle the position of your heads so that they are set perpendicular to the slope.

If you don't angle your heads perpendicular you will erode areas on the slope


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**Note: the illustration above illustrates the pipe layed out downhill which is not a good idea. Water is constantly moving downhill. The waterpressure is not going to be consistent on the top of the hill compared to the pressure on the bottom. It is better to place the pipes perpendicular to the slope itself.

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