HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO BUY?
Many of you looking at this site already have a sprinkler system in place. Consequently, your interest in upgrading your sprinklers to operate more efficiently will most likely lean toward improving your stationary shrub-type sprinklers usually installed in planter beds or, if the pop-up sprinklers in your lawn are in relatively good condition, then you might be looking to replace the pop-up riser stems of your existing lawn sprinklers with the highly efficient, water conserving individual on/off control you achieve with LittleValve replacement pop-up stems.
Others looking at this website are starting a new irrigation system from scratch. In either case, this section of our website will cover what you may need to replace a sprinkler OR sprinklers for vacant areas that are to receive new ones for the first time. We will also cover specific ways to get a job done when using LittleValves.
Table of Contents
1. Picking out the right Pop-up replacement stem
2. Deciding on the right nozzle
3. Side Strip Nozzles to mix with PRNs
4. The parts you need to use for PRNs and PSNs in above-grade shrub sprinklers
1. Picking out the right pop-up replacement stem?
In reviewing the Catalogue page, you will see that there are several manufacturers of pop-up sprinklers. Each manufacturer's pop-ups are very different from each other. Although they may appear similar, the pop-up riser stems are all very different and are NOT interchangeable with each other. For example, if you have Toro sprinklers, you can only replace the pop-up riser stem with a Toro pop-up stem.
Pop-up sprinklers are usually installed - and should be installed - more or less flush with the grade of the surrounding soil or turf. A majority of pop-up sprinklers used in lawns are flat-topped. Generally, if the sprinklers are not too old, you should be able to read the markings on top of the flat-topped sprinklers to ascertain the manufacturer. Hunter, Rain Bird, and Orbit all have their names embedded into the top of the cap. Toro's pop-up sprinkler caps and Little Tuffy caps are not flat but are domed. However, Toros have very noticeable spoke-like ribs on the cap that extend downward to the side of the cap and help to grip it for easier removal. No other company uses that 'rib' design.
Now that you know the name of the manufacturer, you next need to know the size of the sprinkler. Little Valve pop-up replacement stems come in 3" (for Toro only) and 4", 6" and 12" for everybody. A sprinkler size is based on the height the pop-up riser stem elevates. The riser stem for a 4" pop-up, for example, elevates approximately 4" above the top of the cap when the water to the valve system is turned on, yet, the overall height of an average 4" sprinkler is closer to 6", maybe more.
Please note the following stem replacement instructions:
Therefore, when you are ready to order replacement stems, make sure you order for the right brand and make sure you determine the correct size. That's all you will need to know when ordering your replacement stems. Then find the stem you want on the catalogue page or on the Pop-up Riser Stem Replacement sub-tab under "Buy Products Here" or in the corresponding section of the 'Store'.
To replace the riser stems on existing pop-up sprinklers, unscrew the cap leaving the nozzle in place. The nozzle holds everything together so when you have unscrewed the cap from the housing (in the ground), everything comes out with it all assembled together. When you hold the assembly in your hands, you depress the cap a little and remove the nozzle. Please be very careful because after removing the nozzle from the top of the stem, you have a dangerous weapon in your hands. It is spring-loaded and the more you hold down and depress the cap, the stronger and more powerful is the spring. PLease be sure to point the cap away from your body and face and away from others. Slowly, lift the cap up and off the old stem until all the tesnion is gone from the spring. Then just replace the pop-up stem with your new one again being careful when putting it back together until the nozzle is thrreaded onto the new stem.
In some cases, i.e. Toro, Hunter and Orbit, you will transfer the white or gray ratchet ring found at the bottom of the stem over to the new LittleValve stem. On some models, i.e. Rain Bird replacement stems, we provide you with a new ratchet ring. (Ratchet rings keep the nozzle facing the same direction each morning.)
2. Deciding on the right nozzle.
NOTE: Little Tuffys, Rain Bird, Hunter, Orbit, Weathermatic all use FEMALE nozzles and all manufacturer's female nozzles are interchangeable with each others' sprinklers. Toro uses MALE nozzles. However, Toro's PRNs and PSNs (its Precision line of nozzles) are available in both Female and Male styles.
The secret to LittleValves is knowing which nozzles to use for the particular circumstance you are encountering. For fixed-spray nozzles, (5', 8', 10' 12' and 15',) the rule of thumb is to use only 15' nozzles for distances from 6'-7' up to 15 feet. NOTE: If you use the smaller-size nozzles instread of 15'-ers, you WILL LOSE efficiency.
From 6' - 7' down to 2' - 2½', use flat spray nozzles. For Little Tuffys and Rain Bird, Hunter, Orbit, Irritrol and Hit 900 replacement stems, use Rain Bird's 8-ft FLAT nozzle. For Toro replacement stems, use Toro's FLAT spray nozzle. Both are available here. If you prefer adjustable nozzles (as opposed to fix-sprays,) use any size adjustable and if you end up with a lot of misting/fogging, upsize the nozzle until there is no more misting.
However, you can get rid of ALL of your spray nozzles along with their various arcs and ALL of the adjustables along with their excess water usage and the flat-sprays just by using Precision Rotating Nozzles. With PRNs, you'll need only a bag of adjustables (with an arc range of 45° - 270°) and a bag of full circles (360°). And in the process, you will have the most efficient and water-conservation sprinkler system available today.
For additional assistance on nozzle selection, please go to the tab titled "Preferred Nozzle Information".
3. Side Strip Nozzles to Mix With PRNs
When combined with LittleValve parts or sprinklers, Precision Rotating Nozzles (PRNs) will – in almost all cases – likely be the only radius nozzle you will ever need if the distance range is any where between 18 inches [regardless of pressure] up to 20 – 28 feet feet [depending on pressure]. However, PRNs - which are radius nozzles - do not replace side strips, center strips or corner strip nozzles.
There will be many times in which you as the irrigation specifier, contractor, consultant or even a home- owner, will encounter situations where you will need to have a side strip nozzle mixed into the same valve system as your PRN radius nozzles.
The idea is to always keep flow rates of the different sprinklers on any given valve system as close as possible. The following recommendations are made with that goal in mind.
Side strip and corner strip nozzles we recommend with PRN/LittleValve Combo systems:
1. If the left/right side distance the side strip needs to cover is 10 feet or more on each side, use Toro’s Precision Spray Nozzle (PSN) 4 X 30 side strip or 4 X 15 corner strips. The flow rate of this nozzle when opened at 10 feet or more on each side is similar to to the flow rate of the PRN. This nozzle cannot be taken down less than 10 feet – left and/or right – even with LittleValves. The PSNs do come in both male and female styles. PSNs are on the rebate list of the Southern California Metropolitan Water District (MWD). Toro also makes a 4 X 18 moel, which can be taken down to about 7' left/right.
2. If the left/right side distance the side strip needs to cover is under 10 feet on each side, use Hunter’s SS530, which is a 5 X 30 side side strip or LCS/RCS 515 corner strips. The flow rate of this nozzle when opened at 7 - 8 feet or less on each side becomes more similar to the flow rate of the PRN. With LittleValves, these distances can be taken all the way down to 2 -3 feet left and right and water will always exit out on front of the nozzle, which other side strips cannot do. Hunter’s side and corner strip nozzle line comes only in female styles. These nozzles are not on the rebate list of the Southern California Metropolitan Water District (MWD).
After years of working with LittleValve products, we came up with the above recommendations. We have proven to ourselves over and over that these combinations work very well and even though there might not be an exact matched precipitation rate between all the nozzles, the end result is a great-looking landscape with little or no overspraying, little water lost to misting/ fogging when high pressure exists, and no pockets of excess water usage ever being detected.
4. The parts you need to use for PRNs and PSNs in above-grade shrub sprinklers.
Normally, when installing an ordinary nozzle into an above-grade shrub adapter, you will use either our MB200 to connect up Female nozzles or our FB300 that receives only Male nozzles. Both are our LittleValve shrub adapters. The filter screens that come with regular 'spray' nozzles do not fit into our shrub adapters but are generally not needed because the orofice of a 15 ft. nozzle is rather large and most debris passes through it.
However, the filter screens that come with PRNs cannot be separated from the nozzle and the filters for PSNs should not be separated from them. The same logic also applies when one uses stationary LittleValve parts with Hunter's MP Rotators as well as Rain Bird's rotary nozzles.
Therefore, with the 4 above-described nozzles, you cannot use LittleValve shrub adapters for stationary above-grade applications. To get past that limitation, you must use our 1/2" Littlevalve Coupling - CP050. To the CP050, connect a 1/2" schedule 80 nipple (also called Riser pipe,) of at least 2" in length and to the riser pipe, attach an ordinary shrub adapter, either Female or Male depending on what style nozzles you have. See the picture below to get a clear idea of an above-grade LittleValve shrub adapter assembly.
You can purchase the CP050 and the ordinary Female and Male shrub adapters in both the 'Stationary Little Valve Parts' tab or go to the Store by clicking on the Shopping Cart icon (to your left) and go to the 'Stationary LittleValve Parts' category.
ABOVE-GRADE LITTLEVALVE SHRUB ADAPTER ASSEMBLY
with Precision Rotating Nozzle (PRN)
← PRN (Female style shown)
← Ordinary Shrub Adapter
(Male style shown - Model No. OMS)
← 1/2" Schedule 80 [PVC] Riser pipe
Minimum length: 2 inches
← LittleValve 1/2" Coupling
Model No. CP050
← 1/2" Schedule 80 [PVC] Riser pipe
connected to horizontal tee or ell
[This page is constantly under construction]
For further help on what to buy, feel free to call us at (844) 622-7141 between 7am to 7pm PST.