Busy Bee Lawn Care & Sprinkler Repair
Busy Bee



A Helpful Guide to Sprinkler System Parts

Sprinkler systems are made up of various moving and non-moving parts. The definitions to these irrigation parts are listed below. If you are in Columbia, South Carolina, or any of the surrounding communities and you need sprinkler repair, don't hesitate to give us a call first. We are the #1 sprinkler repair service in Columbia, SC because we are fast, reliable, and have prices that are unbeatable.

Sprinkler System Components Defined

Spray Heads – A type of lawn sprinkler that is used for covering short to medium lengths of turf or garden. They pop-up and provide a continuous stream of water. Different nozzles can be used to create varying spray patterns. They should be used in a zone with plants that have similar watering needs.

Impact Rotors – A type of lawn sprinkler that is used for covering large distances of turf, field, or garden. They make a distinct “tooka, tooka, tic, tic” sound as the arm swings and strikes the rotor body. They can provide single or multiple water streams to landscaping. Water is distributed in an arc pattern. These are suitable to use with well water.

Gear-driven Rotors – A type of lawn sprinkler that is used for covering larger lengths of turf. They are the most widely used head for medium to large scale areas. They are versatile, and they operate quietly. These types of rotors are best used for small commercial sites and large residential areas. They require very little maintenance and are virtually clog-resistant. They can be used in sloped areas or areas consisting of clay. Some will come with a nozzle tree.

Wobbler Sprinklers – A type of lawn sprinkler that rotates off-center, creating a unique uniform pattern of water distribution. They cover a large area, and are very durable. Water is delivered in a gentle rain-like pattern. Separate nozzles can be attached to change the stream of water.

Shrub-style Sprinklers – A type of lawn sprinkler that is installed above ground on top of a pipe called a “riser”. Because they can pose a tripping hazard, they should only be used in areas of the lawn that are away from sidewalks and patios, as well as away from areas where children play. These heads are made of either metal or plastic.

Valves - Control how much water a zone receives, either manually or by an electrical timer. They can also be used to turn off your system if there is an emergency. There are several types of valves, each with their own unique installation and function. A sprinkler system’s flow rate determines what size valve is needed.

Anti-Siphon Valves – Manual or electric valves with built-in backflow prevention. They are low maintenance because they are installed above ground. These should be used to keep drinking water safe by installing them in locations that have sprinkler lines under turf or garden where pesticides and other chemicals are used routinely. They generally come in sizes ¾” and 1”. Periodically inspect these valves, making sure there is no dirt or debris in the opening.

In-Line Valves – Manual or electric valves that do not have built-in backflow prevention. They are almost always used along with a backflow preventer, and are installed underground. They can be made of PVC, brass, or bronze, but most likely PVC. These should not be used as a water safety method because they are underground. They can be installed just about anywhere without being an eye sore.

Backflow Preventers – Prevent drinking water from being contaminated or polluted. They are connected to a lawn sprinkler system, and are usually required by law because they are a good safety device. These devices prevent fertilizers, pesticides, and animal waste from flowing back into the potable water supply. They do the job the ON/OFF valves are not sufficient in performing.

Other Valves – Emergency Shut-Off Valves are used to turn off the water temporarily for repairs and/or damage prevention. Drain Valves drain water from the system for winterizing or for repairs. External Bleed Valves flush dirt that collects in the sprinkler lines during repairs or installation. Internal Bleed Valves prevent water leakage by venting water to the downstream.

Irrigation Pipes – The means by which water is carried to zones in a lawn sprinkler system. Pipes come in PVC or flexible tubing. These pipes are used for above ground and underground sprinkler systems, as well as drip irrigation systems.

PVC Pipe– Pipe most commonly used for residential sprinkler systems. Only pipe that is white in color should be used, and it is usually sold in length of 10 or 20 feet. Pipe diameters and thickness will vary, but ¾” and 1” are typically used. This piping runs from the existing water line.

Poly Pipe – Flexible pipe used in areas with a colder climate because they are less likely to receive damage from freezing. It comes in several sizes, and is black in color. It should not be used for connecting pipe to the main water line. No glue is required for fittings. It is not as durable as PVC, so it doesn’t last as long as PVC.

Funny Pipe – Pipe that looks and feels very similar to poly pipe, but has a different purpose. It is used between the lateral line and the sprinkler as a flexible connection. The diameter of funny pipe is a bit smaller than poly pipe. These are great to install around sidewalks and driveways.

Trenching – Manually or mechanically digging uniform trenches for laying lawn sprinkler pipes. Trench by hand with a trenching spade. Water the ground a couple days before so that the soil is soft for digging. You can also use a trenching machine. They are easier and faster than trenching by hand. You will be instructed on how to safely and correctly operate the machine from the rental store.

Control Panel - An electrical controller that is used for turning on or off a sprinkler system, and for programming the system’s watering schedule. They are installed indoors or outdoors. The control panel should support at the very least the number of zones on the system. Controllers are very simple to operate, and you can even delay the watering schedule during prolonged periods of rain.

Pressure Regulator - Reduces the amount of pressure that enters a sprinkler system. They maintain the recommended operating pressure of your system. These prevent leaks, and prevent hoses from bursting. Pressure regulators should be installed after the timer.

Filters – Mesh screens that filter sediment, keeping parts of your sprinkler system free from debris and other elements. The filter is used on the main sprinkler line, avoiding any dirty water coming contact with the rest of your sprinkler system.

Automatic Drains – These drains are designed to help protect sprinkler systems from freeze damage. They divert and expel water away from structures or areas that drain poorly. The main types are lateral line drains, mainline drains, poly and PVC end of line drains, siphon drains, and swing and funny drains.

If you have any further questions regarding sprinkler system parts please contact us today and we'll be happy to help guide you.