Solenoids are the devices which make valves open and close when an irrigation controller transmits an electrical signal to them. If you’ve been hearing your solenoids buzz lately, then chances are the noise is a result of insufficient voltage. But beware: insufficient voltage can itself have many different causes.
When trying to determine the cause of the noise, the first thing to do is take a look at your irrigation system. If all the valves buzz when you turn them on, it may be that this sound is normal. Many solenoids do emit a soft humming sound when they are in use.
If the buzz is not normal, then the problem is probably a bad controller or common wire. You can use an irrigation tester that includes a controller circuit/station output test to check the controller output. Should the test indicate a bad controller, it’s time to replace it.
If you don’t have a tester, disconnect the common wire and one of the valve wires from the controller. Connect both to your belt activator and turn on the valve using the activator. If the solenoid doesn’t buzz, then you’ll need to buy another controller.
If only one valve is making noise, disconnect the wires from it. If you have a valve tester, connect the tester to the valve and test the valve. If the test shows a bad solenoid, replace the solenoid or the valve. If you don’t have a tester, connect the valve activator to the wires and turn on the valve using the valve activator. It should open and you should hear no further buzzing.
If the valve continues to buzz when turned on with the activator, the solenoid on the valve is either dirty or bad. Turn off the water, then take the solenoid off the valve and clean the area it came out of on the valve. Most solenoids are connected to the valve with threads, so all you have to do is unscrew the solenoid to remove it.
If the valve does not buzz when activated, go to the controller and disconnect the common wire and the valve wire for the valve that buzzes from the controller. If you have an irrigation tester that includes a controller circuit output test, use it to check the controller output on each circuit/station. For any bad circuit that you find, mark them as unusable and use other circuits if you have extras. Otherwise, replace the controller.
Tracking down the causes of buzzing solenoids can be both time-consuming and frustrating, especially for people who are new to the world of landscape irrigation systems. At South Austin Irrigation, we can help you figure out what’s making that annoying noise and fix your system quickly and efficiently. When only the best service will do, contact us!