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Starting Member

Posts: 1

Location: Dallas


Sunday, September 18th 2016, 1:17am

Replacing old impact sprinkler heads

I moved into a house with a 10 year old sprinkler system that has impact sprinkler heads. I have had trouble with some of the heads because they are so old, so I am thinking of changing them out for newer rotor sprinkler heads. Is it possible to replace them all?


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,298

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, September 18th 2016, 1:32pm

Sure, why not?

There is a caution. Some systems of Rainbird Maxipaw impact heads can be spraying further, at a low operating pressure, than any replacement head can match.


New Member

Posts: 3

Location: Houston, TX


Saturday, September 24th 2016, 2:30am

It is possible to replace them all, however there are a few main issues you will need to consider:

1. Take into consideration the inlet size and casing height of the sprinkler you are replacing. If, for example, the original sprinkler has a 3/4" inlet, but the one you want to replace it with has a 1/2" inlet, you will need to use some sort of adapter. If the original in-ground sprinkler was 4" tall and the new one is taller or shorter, you may need to install a Swing Joint to accommodate the height difference.

2. Rotor sprinklers should never be put on the same zone as spray heads. Rotors may use 2 GPM to cover a 50 ft diameter circle while a spray head will use 2 GPM to cover a 20 ft diameter circle. Sprays will put out more water in a given time than rotors.

3. Sprays and rotors are designed for different distances. Spray heads are designed to spray from 4 ft to 17 ft. Small rotors spray 15 ft - 30 ft. Medium Rotors are designed to go 25 ft to 50 ft. Make sure that the sprinklers you are installing are made to deliver the correct distance and water volume for your unique situation.

One exception to rule 1 & 2 is that you can combine rotors with spray sprinklers fitted with Rotary Sprinkler Nozzles. These are special nozzles that produce the same flow-rates as rotors but at shorter distances.

Usually if you need to replace impact style rotors you will want to use a small rotor like the Hunter PGJ or the Rain Bird 3500. These have 1/2" inlets and can be adjusted for shorter distances.

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