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How to Find Buried Sprinkler Heads


Locating a buried sprinkler head can be a challenging task; if you don’t have a detailed map of your sprinkler system, Use our step-by-step tutorial to reach a conclusion. Once you know how to find the sprinkler system, mark your findings to avoid hassle in the future.

Adjust the sprinkler system if they are angled wrong or its performance has been low due to the presence of debris and dust. Let us deep dive into the pool of finding buried sprinkler heads

Tools to Find the Sprinkler System

A person filling a garden hose with water


Easy Steps to Find Sprinkler Heads

1. Switch Off the Water Supply


A person holding a labeled water bottle

When you switch off the water supply, you prevent yourself from getting soaked from the sprinkler system. If you don’t pay careful attention to the process, the water will rush out from the system, and it will be extremely difficult to locate the sprinkler heads

2. Pay Close Attention to System Plans


Diagram of water heater wiring

When you install a sprinkler system, it will come with installation manuals and blueprints. This will let you know where precisely the sprinkler heads are located. If you have lost the manual or the blueprint, then proceed with the following steps

3. Take the Help of a Metal Detector

 A metal detector resting on the grass

Most of the sprinkler heads have metal components present in them. Hence, using a metal detector is a good idea. You can use the metal detector in the following ways :

  • First, you need to take care of the sensitivity of the metal detector and set it according to your preference.
  • The next step is moving the detector in slow motion over the areas where you might feel the sprinkler heads might be present
  • Once you detect something, laser focus on the reading it generates. Place a small flag or mark the spot where the detector showed a positive reading.

4. Take Note of Visual Clues

Green plastic water bottle with black cap, providing hydration on the go

There is a high possibility that you might have your sprinkler heads just by carefully analyzing the visuals. Look for these signs as stated below

  • Look for areas that show elevated ground or ground that looks really low. There are clear indications that sprinkler heads might be present
  • When you install a sprinkler system, they are placed regularly throughout your garden, so if you find one sprinkler system, there is a high chance that you might find another one placed at an interval.

5. Use Hand Shovel

A hand shovel with a metal handle and blade

If the above two techniques fail, you have to use manual labor to do the job. On such occasions, use a shovel to detect the sprinkler system. Use the following way:

  • Use a hand towel or a shovel and push it deep into the ground; if you feel any resistance from the ground, then there is a high possibility that the sprinkler head might be present. Dig the ground with the shovel and investigate further.

6. Use Garden Hose

Using a garden hose

If you highly suspect an area where the sprinkler head might be present. It is recommended that the garden hose pinpoint its locations. You can use the garden hose in the following way:

  • Put the thumb over the nozzle to create a high-pressure jet stream. Once done, spread the water toward the areas where you suspect the sprinkler heads might be present. Once the water falls on the areas where you might find a sprinkler head, you will see the area get saturated. This is a clear indication that the sprinkler head is present.

7. Use Electromagnetic Field

Illustration of a photon interacting with an electromagnetic field

There are a few devices like sprinkler head tool that uses electromagnetic fields to find the sprinkler head. They are more expensive than metal detectors but provide more accuracy in providing a sprinkler head.

8. Use the Pipe

A person holding a water meter on a brick wall

Sprinkler heads are present at the top of irrigation pipes and are placed at regular intervals. On such occasions, locate the irrigation pipe and follow the pipe to various zones of your garden where the sprinkler heads might be present

9. Seek Help From a Professional

A person using a digital meter to measure the temperature of a stone

If all the above method fails, then it surely means that you have a complex irrigation system that would need professional help. During such times, ask a professional landscaper to make the job easier for you. They have special tools designed for this purpose.

  • Additional Tip: Once a professional detects the sprinkler heads. Replace the entire irrigation system with a smart irrigation system. This single change would save you a lot of cost in the future as they have monitoring features that help you detect sprinkler heads with the help of an application.
  • Warning: If you notice that your water bills have amplified, then it’s a clear indication that your sprinkler heads are damaged. In such cases, fix the leak that is causing the issue or change the sprinkler head completely

Final Takeaway

Most people don’t realize how important it is to record your findings and keep them in a notebook for future use.

Once you have noted the locations of sprinkler heads, it will serve as a valuable blueprint for future use. Now, you can use this documentation to upgrade to a smart irrigation system or change the current one.

This guide has provided you with easy and effective techniques that will guarantee that your sprinkler heads are found at all costs. Once found, perform a regular maintenance check to monitor the performance of the sprinkler head.

This includes learning how to adjust sprinkler heads properly, adjusting their height, and clearing them of any damage to ensure that you have a well-managed sprinkler system.

Be sure to check out these other posts for more insights and information:

Kalista Howell
Kalista Howell is an accomplished writer with over 12 years of experience in journalism. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her career began in 2009 as a reporter for a local newspaper, where her flair for realistic storytelling quickly garnered attention. With an extensive background in educational content creation, her expertise lies in translating complex concepts into accessible, reader-friendly formats. Beyond her professional life, she is a passionate advocate for lifelong learning, often conducting community workshops on digital literacy. In her leisure time, she enjoys gardening.

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