Underground Sprinkler problem

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I've got an underground sprinkler that stays on all the time. It looks like we have seven zones in the yard. We found a buried control box for four zones, unfortunately not the one that controls the suspect sprinkler. We've been all over the yard and can't find a second control box. Any suggestions on how we can locate the second control box is greatly appreciated. As you may surmise, we're not the original owner of the home. Thanks in advance.
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I had that same problem, I called the original owner and asked them. Jim
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Thanks. Unfortunately, they've passed away. They had kept good documentation on the house in general but unfortunately the sprinkler layout wasn't part of it.
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On Jan 26, 10:37 am, snipped-for-privacy@dabrauns.net wrote:

If the previos owner is available , contact him and ask. You can sometimes make a guess by making a map of the sprinkler locations and control box. Once you have the chart of the known 4 zones and the rest of the sprinklers.
Other than that is there a master valve at the house for the entire system. ?
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On Jan 26, 10:37 am, snipped-for-privacy@dabrauns.net wrote:

If the suggestions of the previous owner or the logical plan/layout don't pan out, the underground wire tracer is the next best bet. I'm fortunate to have a friend who did the sprinkler stuff for a while and had one to borrow, you may find one at a rental or might just bite the bullet and call a service company to help locate it the first time.
I've no idea whether could find one to rent---that's also a possibility. Haven't looked into how inexpensive a current one might be had for, either--others likely can also provide that info.
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wrote:

Do you need a building permit to install underground sprinklers? If so, I wonder if the location of all items might be listed, particularly since there would be concern about installing near gas & water lines.
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Nowhere I'm aware of, certainly. The depth of a lawn sprinkler system barely scratches the ground, nothing close to the depth of any utilites so the interaction there is of minimal concern at most.
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How deep are the pipes under the soil?
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Which pipes? Lawn sprinkler systems (as opposed to golf courses, etc., that may be quite a bit deeper sometimes owing to the size and that they tend to not count on draining them for cold weather, etc.) ime may be as shallow as 4-6", most often 6-12" and rarely, if ever, deeper. Often they're installed w/ a slitter rather than a trencher to minimize damage to existing sod.
Utility water lines, otoh, are at least below frost line and any buried electrical/telephone, etc., are also deeper.
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Even though utility pipes are deeper, I asked the question because **** IF **** a permit were required, the town might want to see a diagram of all component locations, compared with utility pipes. The reason is simple: To minimize the STOOPID FACTOR - an installer who doesn't bother checking where utility lines are.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

Very few bother with permits. Their main concern would be about anti siphon valve location.
Utility with a few exceptions like cable TV are always relatively deep. Cable TV might be just below the sod but no permit there anyway.
Most sprinkler installations are about six to eight inches. Older ones are often less. I have seen many of those that can't use a 4 inch riser.
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True, but here, the electric company has these "Call Before You Dig" logos on our bills, on the sides of their trucks, etc. If you call, they'll stop by for free and mark the paths of the lines. I called them when I dug a new garden, because I go down 3 feet for new beds.
So...I'm just sayin'...not for nuthin... Never mind. :-)
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

A few years ago my telephone became very noisy. Had the phone guy come out. He hooks up his tracer and starts tracing it across the yard. He gets back to a place, stops and puts down a marker. I say's "OH-OH". I had dug down about three feet in that area just recently. Nicked the phone line!!
Water, Gas & Power I don't worry about here as it is down at least 6 ft. That is a fact as just a couple years ago I hired someone to fix a water leak near the meter (near the street). In the process they uncovered the gas lines too. Both about 7 feet down.
I was so happy I had not tried it myself. The main gas line was a white plastic. Amazingly the guy digging the trench didn't crack it. And a good thing as he could not speak English and would have had a hard time calling for help.
The contract was then trying to break loose a fitting where they had connected plastic to copper. The fitting had cracked. His elbow slipped, bumped the gas line and cracked it. SO they got delayed waiting for the gas company to fix it. While fixing it they cracked it two more times. The gas company assured me they were going to replace that white plastic but so far have not seen them. Probably not until the day comes when someone drops a match and the dirt burns.
But I dig my sprinkler lines all the time without worrying. They are a maximum of about 8 inches. Where the tracing the lines is necessary is installing the turn on valve. It is about 5 feet down and close to the gas lines coming into the house.
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Don't rely on utilities being quite deep -- it varies greatly from one place to another. Our ground never freezes so the water line is just barely below the surface. The other utilities don't have freezing problems so can be at any depth.
My biggest problem is my gardner hitting the sprinkler lines. I keep telling her I'm going to fire her if she doesn't stop breaking the lines, but she just dares me to try getting rid of her. Lawyer's daughter...
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If only digging 6-8", what difference does it make? That's the point and the why it doesn't make any difference -- nothing of real consequence is buried so shallow. There are lots of ways for installers to make stupid mistakes and/or decisions, but digging so deep as to disturb other utilities isn't one.
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snipped-for-privacy@dabrauns.net wrote:

As others said a signal tracer may be the easiest way.
One clue would be if all the wires go through the first box. Normally they run all the control wires to the first box and then continue on to the second one. And of course the location of the heads might give you some clue.
Other alternative is to dig at each head and see what direction the pipe comes from. That gets tricky too as the pipe from the valve often goes down the center between the heads and then branches off to each head.
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If you have a constant flow of water to a sprinkler head, you should be able to trace it by sound. Get a piece of pipe and use it like a stethoscope to trace the water flow, which will certainly lead you to the control valve.
snipped-for-privacy@dabrauns.net wrote:

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Simple Find some one or try it your self and witch with coat hangers. Works for me Some people can do this and some cant. Bend some coat hangers at a 90 with a 4" handle and use the rest 12" for the other half . Hold the loosely in your hand out in front of you follow the line and when they cross you will have a larger obstruction in the area. I use this to find septic lines gas line ect. Not foolproof but works for me 50% of the time Start at the source by the house

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Larry and a Cat named Dub wrote:

My dad could do that for water!! He claimed it had to be a Willow stick. He claimed water had to be moving.
So for this job a rain coat and boots will be necessary too!!
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snipped-for-privacy@dabrauns.net wrote:

I got my degree in Applied Sprinkler Science when hubby was our condo's building manager. We spent a lot of free time searching for missing controllers. Start with the non-functioning sprinkler nearest the water supply line and try tracing it back to the supply. Ours weren't very deep, so we could dig down to the supply pipe, then follow by line of sight a few feet, dig again ...
There are instruments for locating them, and a contractor might be able to do it with ease.
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