Automatic irrigation systems can make watering your lawn and garden a snap. Sometimes, though, you may encounter an irrigation valve that won’t function properly. To help you troubleshoot common problems, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you get your system up and running again.
Step #1: Check irrigation clock
Check to see if the clock that runs your irrigation system is at full power. You may need to test battery strength to see if it is enough to maintain clock settings.
Step #2: Cycle through system program
Sometimes, cycling through an auto irrigation program can get a malfunctioning valve to respond. Do so two or three times. If this works, the solenoid may hang up, which can loosen valve parts. If this doesn’t work, then open and close the valve manually.
Step #3: Locate problem valve
Your irrigation system valves are located in the valve box buried in your yard. A schematic of the installation will help. If you don’t have it, check shrub beds and around the grass borders of your yard to find it.
Step #4: Turn on valve
Follow the two wires on top of the valve to the solenoid. Most electronic valves can be turned on by carefully turning the solenoid slightly to the left. If the valve does not open after a ½ to ¾ turn, find the bleeder screw on top of the valve. Open gently: if you go too far, the water will spray you. If you can open and close the valve manually, go directly to Step #5. If not, go to Step #6.
Step #5: Check valve electrical components
Unplug the clock to disconnect the power. Return the valve and locate the two leads running to the solenoid. These will usually have a wire connector on them, which usually takes the form of a watertight wire nut. Disconnect these nuts, clean the connection and then reinstall the wire nut. Plug in the clock and test the valve. If this works, reset the clock and you’re done. If not, you’ll need to clean the valve.
Step #6: Shut off water to system
With a spade, dig around the valve box and make a hole large enough to allow water to drain from the valve. This hole should be at least 6 to 8 inches around the valve and 6 inches underneath it. This will allow for room to bail out the water, which you should do to keep dirt from getting into the valve.
If you’re not sure how to handle your particular valve, go online to find a schematic of it. Most valves will have screws holding down the top, or the whole top will unscrew. There will be water, so bail it out of the hole you dug as you take it apart; this will keep dirt from getting in the valve.
Step #7: Dismantle valve and clean
Most valves have screws holding down the top. If not, then the whole top will unscrew. Once the top is off, look for (1) the rubber fitting and (2) a large spring. Take this apart and clean them. Then clean out the inside of the valve body and remove dirt and debris. Reassemble the valve, turn the water on and run a system test. If the valve still will not work, the valve will need replacement.
South Austin Irrigation is your source for all things irrigation in Austin. We offer the best in sales and service for all your watering needs. For the service that Austinites trust, contact SAI today!