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.
On Jan 26, 10:37 am, email@example.com 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
On Jan 26, 10:37 am, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. :-)
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
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.
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
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...
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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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