I just moved into an old house that has a built in sprinkler system.
Unfortunately, one of the zones does not work, yet 2 of them do.
By researching previous posts, I've found some good ideas on how to
check if it is the wiring by hooking up the wires from a zone that
works to one that doesn't and testing it that way.
However, if it still does not work, apparently it is probably a valve
problem. The thing is, I didn't know that each zone had a valve and I
have no idea where a valve would be or what it would look like. I've
looked everywhere near that zone for some sort of cutoff switch in the
ground but can't find anything.
I'll be calling a sprinkler repair man if necessary but I'm trying to
FOLLOW UP: For those with sytems... how long and how often should I
water? I'm in Texas so the lawn requires frequent watering (I would
think) but I'm also trying to keep my water bill at a REASONABLE level.
WOW you dudes never fail to impress the hell out of me with your cheap
assed ways. You need to water until the lawn looks like the land does
up in the north east. Then you know you have enough water down.
On 29 Jun 2006 12:56:38 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
You really need to find the zone valves and operate them manually before
troubleshooting the electrical. In any case the wire is probably open near
the valve itself anyway. Start with where the hose hooks up and follow any
pipes that don't lead into the house. The valves may or may not be buried
but if they are they should be in an underground box with a lid at ground
level it will be between the house and the sprinkler somewhere. If you
really have no clue what they look like, go to HD and look at ones on the
As for how much water you can ask your neighbors and the guys at the local
hardware store or you can start with 20 minutes twice a week then check the
lawn for signs of stress or success and adjust up or down as required. A
successful lawn needs mowing once a week a stressed lawn has brown
Individual sprinkler heads can be adjusted but I'll save that for later.
You want to water infrequently and deeply. Shallow watering every day
or two just encourages shallow roots, disease, and fungus. In summer,
you will probably need to water every 4 to 7 days, depending on the
soil, weather, etc. When you do water, it should get about 3/4 of an
inch. An inch would be even better, but if you're paying for water it
may not be worth it.
You can tell when a lawn needs water by looking at it. It will start
to take on a blue/gray appearance in spots, especially areas adjacent
to the street, where it will be hotter, etc. Don't be afraid to let it
start to show some stress. That's generally better than overwatering
it. A lawn will even go dormant for a long time without water and
revive when it rains.
You want to water it in the early morning hours, when it's cooler and
less likely to be windy, to minimize water loss. Time it so it will be
done around 6AM. That will minimize the time it's wet. Worst
practice is to water frequently and do it in the early evening. That
leaves the lawn wet the longest.
Also, leave fertilizing for Spring and most importantly Fall.
Good stuff on the water infrequently and deeply! I was watering for 15
minutes every other day or so and I fertilized a few weeks ago cause
the lawn is doing so poorly. I'm trying to save the thing b/c the
previous tenants didn't water often.
I'll decrease how often and do a more thorough job from now on.
I was also watering around 8 PM so I'll switch that to the early
Thanks for the tips.
Now I just have to find those valves.
Thanks for the advice. I think I know exactly where the in ground box
that you are describing between the house and the city water line is.
I'll look in there for a valve.
However, wouldn't that be the valve to the house? I was under the
impression that each zone had a valve? Will they all be located in one
place or will they be near the zone?
There might be one manifold with all the valves on it, or they might be
separate and individually located out in the yard. The former is more
common, but it really just depends on how the system was designed.
It's fairly common for all the valves to be together
in a box set in the ground with the lid flush with the
surface, simplifies the wiring and protects the
valves from damage. Wouldn't think it would be
very common for them to be completely buried.
Or, some people install their valves above ground.
In any case, start with the controller.
First you should check to make sure that all circuits are
programmed to run. Maybe the previous owner shut off
a circuit or 2 because of leaks he didn't want to fix?
If all circuits are programmed to run, follow the wires
leaving the controller, they eventually have to end up
at the valves.
Once you find the valves, try that wire-swapping thing.
Or, spend $10 on a cheap voltmeter, and check each
valve to see if it's getting voltage when it's supposed
to be opening.
If a valve is getting voltage and not opening, replace
the valve. If a valve is not getting voltage, trace the
wire back and find out why.
Hope this helps,
Before going through the above, it should be checked that if the
controller is putting out control voltage to each valve. If there are
three zones then the three wires connected to the controller need be
identified. Then manually operate the controller to sequence the
controll output and see if each wire gets voltage in turn.
My controller quit putting out control voltage for one of the five
zones so I fixed by replacing the controller.
In between the house and sprinklers not the street. Very often these are
above ground or there will be a seperate manual valve to turn off water to
the zone valves for the winter and for service. Just follow the pipes and
try to visualize how they would get from point to point.
This website has much more than you would ever wish to know about lawn
This is what a valve looks like:
If you have done any digging, you might have cut a wire. Installing a
new valve isn't too tough - figuring out what is wrong with one can be.
Depending on the layout of your lawn, the valves might be all together
at the beginning of the lines - I would start looking (if they are
buried and not in a valve box) along a straight line from the timer to
the first sprinkler head in the zone that doesn't work.
We did hours and hours of searching for the three buried valves on our
large condo lawn. With the last one, we ended up digging small holes
every few feet along the supply line, then following line-of-sight to go
along until we located the box. Wish I knew which dumbkoph buried them
As for watering, check out your county or state extension service
website. Optimum is usually l" of water a week, but in hot, dry areas
that may be insanity. If you have no limitation on water, do it. Also,
proper mowing technique can help conserve water by not cutting too short
(dries out faster and impedes growth). Florida promotes turning lawn
grass areas into xeriscapes and native plants to save on water; we also
have reclaimed water. Warm season areas aren't the only ones trying to
get away from chemicals and water wasted on grass.
You really sound clueless on this, which is not a criticism, really. We
are all clueless until we learn. You might try taking alook at the
webpage link I posted below and see if that helps you identify what you
are looking at. Also, any local library worth their paste should have
oddles of sprinkler books that should be invaluable with pictures, etc.
It just sounds as if you have one valve that is not working. If so, it
needs to be replaced. A few different ways to do that, but that sounds
as if it might be beyond you at the moment. You may have to end up
paying someone to come out, watch what they are doing so you will know
However, if you are as stubborn as I am, you will probably spend a lot
of time figuring it out and doing it yourself. More power to you.
On 29 Jun 2006 12:56:38 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
How about doing away with the lawn and changing to a xeriscapic
installation? Landscaping with water-saving plants can be not
only aesthetic but would also cut your water bill a LOT!
Google with keywords "xeriscapic gardens" and/or
"xeriscapic landscaping" will yield many sites with
suggestions for water-saving plantings.
You might also get after your municipality to lower your
rates if you change to a xeriscapic garden.
Each zone has a valve. You need to find them.
Each valve should have an electric solenoid and a small manual bypass knob.
Turn the bypass know CCW until water flows - you should be able to hear the
water flowing and the sprinklers should spray. (Don't back it out too far.)
If that works, then you know your valve works and water is reaching the
valve. Then turn on your timer and check for 24V at the solenoid. If 24V
is reaching the solenoid you probably need to replace it. If no voltage the
problem is in you wiring.
If you have the irrigation system already installed, and according to
your questions, contacting a professional should be a good option, I
think, for the beginning. After that, you should know most of things to
do with your garden.
Another recommendation I should make, if you live in Texas and you have
problems with water, is using a drip or micro-irrigation system. You
can check the possibilities in this website:
I hope this information could be useful to you.
firstname.lastname@example.org ha escrito:
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