To convert a sprinkler head to a drip system you must remove the sprinkler head and replace it with a drip-system adaptor. Because sprinkler-to-drip is such a common home improvement project, adaptors are available at nearly every plumbing supply shop and home improvement store. Also, if your irrigation system has volatile pressure, unusually high pressure or unusually low pressure, you'll need to install a pressure regulator in addition to the adaptor. Once you convert a sprinkler head to a drip system, you can control the entire drip system with the same valve or timer as the sprinkler that you removed.
Things You'll Need
- Adjustable wrenches
- Pipe wrench
- Stiff-bristled brush
- Clean rag
- Pipe thread seal tape
- Drip system pressure regulator
- Drip system adaptor
- Drip tubing
- Drip tubing stakes
- Drip tubing punch tool
- Drip emitters
Turn off the irrigation system's water supply. Attach an adjustable wrench to the hexagonal collar of the sprinkler that you are removing. Attach a pipe wrench to the sprinkler's riser. Stabilize the pipe's position by firmly holding the pipe wrench in place. Twist the adjustable wrench to remove the sprinkler head.
Drain excess water from the sprinkler riser. Brush the riser's threads with a stiff-bristled brush to remove old pipe thread sealant, grit and corrosion. Wipe the threads with a clean rag to finish cleaning.
Wrap a double layer of pipe thread seal tape clockwise around the riser's threads. Press the pressure regulator's threads against the riser's threads, twist clockwise to lock the threads and turn clockwise to tighten by hand.
Wrap a double layer of thread seal tape around the exposed threads of the regulator, press the drip system adaptor against the regulator, twist to lock the components' threads and turn clockwise to tighten by hand. If you are not installing a regulator, skip the regulator and simply attach the adaptor directly to the riser.
Attach an adjustable wrench to regulator and a pipe wrench to the riser. Steady the riser with the pipe wrench and tighten the regulator with the adjustable wrench. Attach a second adjustable wrench to the adaptor. Steady the regulator with the first wrench and twist the second wrench to fully tighten the adaptor into the regulator. If you aren't installing a regulator, steady the riser with a pipe wrench and tighten the adaptor with an adjustable wrench.
Insert the loose end from a roll of drip tubing into the open end of the drip system adaptor. Push the tubing into the adaptor until it butts against the adaptor's interior rim; compression secures the tubing to the adaptor and you need no further tightening.
Lay the tubing across the lawn, yard or garden in the desired pattern. Secure the tubing in place approximately every 24 inches with drip tubing stakes.
Puncture the tubing with the drip tubing punch tool at the desired location of every drip emitter. Insert an emitter into each punched hole until the rim around the emitter's barb passes through the tubing's wall. Turn on the water supply and check for leaks.
Tips & Warnings
- Drip emitters release a steady, controlled flow of water; also available are drip sprinklers and misters. Sprinklers and misters use the same punch and press installation method as drip emitters.
- Water pressure will fully seat emitters within the tube; expect tiny leaks upon initial testing.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
How to Replace Sprinkler Heads
If you have an irrigation system, it is likely that you have experienced the wasteful geyser of water caused by a blown...
How to Connect a Drip Irrigation Line to a Sprinkler System
We recently dug up a lot of our lawn area because of water shortages in Southern California. Rather than replace the grass...
How to Descale a Keurig Brewer
Your Keurig coffee brewer will benefit from regular maintenance. The scale buildup that occurs with use can cause the brewer to operate...
How to Make a Sprinkler Out of PVC Pipe
In most regions, it is essential to regularly water your lawn in order to keep it green and healthy. Sprinklers are available...