A couple of my pop up sprinkler head rotate when they rise. One eventually rotated 180 degrees spraying my driveway instead of my landscape. What causes that and more importantly... how do I fix that?


2 Answers 2


Here's a sketch of a typical plastic pop-up sprinkler (www.irrigationtutorials.com): parts of a pop-up sprinkler

If the parts fit very loosely, especially the nozzle onto the riser, one could imagine that it might rotate a little bit and work itself looser with each operating cycle.

Rotation can occur in at least three places:

  • where the nozzle screws onto the riser
  • where the riser section slides in the body (not the rotation of the cap)
  • where the body inlet screws onto the piping below

The place where the riser section fits into the body is typically splined. The screw-on cap holds the riser into the body, but the riser can't rotate because it is engaged with those splines inside the body.

First tighten the two threaded connections appropriately (the nozzle onto the riser and the body onto the supply piping). Finally, unscrew the capg, rotate the riser until it's as close as possible to the direction you prefer, and tighten the cap. Rotate the body-to-pipe connection a little bit if needed to fine-tune the direction.

  • 1
    Great info. I'll add that some nozzles are adjustable, so you can inadvertently change the spray pattern when you try to tighten it! If you can grab the riser shaft and easily turn it, something is probably broken inside.
    – JPhi1618
    Sep 27, 2019 at 20:47

I found that the splines on my housings wore down, but only near the top where the pop up would stop. I had 12 maybe 16 inch pop ups and put a stop ring 3/4 of the way up around the shaft of the riser. I lost some inches on the pop up, but it stopped moving on me. I would have replaced it but I wasn’t interested in digging that deep to remove them. It happened to my 6 in hers also. I just replaced those.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.