Know Your Nozzles

Adolph Garcia

Imagine taking a shower without the showerhead in place. Yes, you could take that shower, but it wouldn’t be very efficient. The same principal applies to your sprinklers and their nozzles.

The nozzle is the device in the sprinkler head that determines the spray pattern, angle of the spray, and distance it is thrown. The right irrigation nozzle is essential to distributing water onto your landscape so when replacing a cracked or clogged nozzle it’s very important to match the same type of nozzle to the one being replaced.

There are several different types of spray nozzles:

Fixed spray head nozzles: This type of nozzle is a fixed arc; you can’t adjust the angle of the spray. They’re available in 360, 90, and 45 degree arcs. These are your most commonly used nozzles and the ones that you most commonly see spraying the sidewalks and street.

Variable arc nozzles, aka VANs: These nozzles are my favorite because you can adjust the throw of the water coming out of the pop up spray head from 360 degrees to 45 degrees or smaller. These nozzles are ideal along sidewalks, driveways and the street.

Multi-stream rotary nozzles: This type of nozzle actually functions like small rotor, and the benefit from this type of nozzle is that the application of water is slower. It actually mimics a “good” rain, so the ground absorbs more water and runoff is greatly reduced. On average, these nozzles use about 30 percent less water than your typical spray type nozzle. Also, these nozzles are less prone to wind effects, so more water is distributed onto your landscape on light windy days. Of course, if there are strong winds you shouldn’t be watering at all.

All of these nozzles are easily installed or retrofitted on to a pop-up spray body and are available at most home improvement stores.

Replacing cracked or clogged nozzles is one of the easiest things to do when it comes to maintaining your irrigation system. Remember, the better the distribution of the water, the healthier your landscape will be — and less water will be wasted.


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