Sprinkler system HELP ! ! !


Old 06-14-05, 09:09 AM
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Unhappy Sprinkler system HELP ! ! !

Hello all,

I'm the new kid on the block here and I would like some help in repairing my sprinkler system. I would appreciate some experienced help in this. I'm a new homeowner and I have a Toro (I think) system based on the controller name. At any rate, I have 4 zones and the zone in the backyard will not shut off when I turn on the water. It was working well last year and I winterized it correctly but when I turned it on this year and did a manual check of each zone, #4 would not shut down which prevents the other 3 from working properly. After several attempts to get a contractor appt., one finally showed up after a month wait only to tell me the valve was no good but he did not want to spend the time looking for it. So my question is, how do I go about looking for the valve that controls that zone without digging up my whole backyard. Can I use a metal detector? Please advise, and thanks for whatever advice you can give me.
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Old 06-14-05, 06:45 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Now retired and in Wisconsin
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This is why ALL contractors should supply you with a general layout of their systems, so the next guy knows where to look when something is hidden from view. So many headaches could be avoided.

Well doesn't sound like you have a central valve control manifold, or you would know where to test them. All the zone Valves (with electronic controls) have wires running (buried) to them. The majority work off 24-28VAC to open the valve piston. You could try and track down from the last zone (hopefully) if zones follow in order, by using the detector to "trace the conductors" if you can get a tone on them (depth will determine that).

If the installers used their brains the Valves should be mounted inside boxes (so they can be serviced) with round or square lids that may have been covered up by your lawn, or hidden in beds.
Using a slim rod of some type to tap the ground in prospective places you can easily find them by there hollow sound. This can be a time consuming project depending on the size of your yard. If all else fails and you don't mind to "Dig" into it further yourself, try locating the previous zone box and dig down to see where the Main (feed) line goes off to. The line should run in a general direction. If the 4th zone is along a property line then think about where would YOU have run it. Shortest point from 3 to find 4 will usually be the ticket.

Good Luck
Old 06-15-05, 07:33 AM
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I appreciate your response Richard.........a little further explanation is in order. We bought the house 2 years ago and the previous owner did not install the system and needless to say, there was no layout of it. Maybe the original owner who was the builder of these homes in our neighborhood knows but he is long gone. I do know however the location of a box in the garden directly behind my house. There is a valve hooked to the main water line which has 4 different color zone wires going to it plus the common wires. The contractor bled that valve which operated the 3 or 4 heads nearby. He said there are 3 other zone valves on the property. The zone that is sticking is adjacent to the one that operates ok that he tested. Could this main valve be defective and be the only one that controls all the zones? My property is not that big. I'm wondering if he took exception to me trying to fix the system myself and is misleading me. He really didn't want to help me but I paid him well last year when he opened the system for me.
P.S. I will follow your method in the meantime by probing the property. Please advise and thanks again.
Old 08-12-05, 10:12 AM
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Sprinkler solution

This info is for Richard and anyone else who has run across this problem.
It was an easy fix actually. In a nutshell, zone 4 was stuck open preventing zones 1-3 from operating. I shut the whole water system down and basically gave up after trying everything I could think of and following Richard's advice of trying to locate the stuck valve. I was about to rent a metal detector and try and locate the so-called bad valve but with the intense summer we are having here on the East coast, the thought of digging for it lost it's appeal.
I was going to wait until the fall and then resume, having to content myself with above ground sprinklers. Anyway, my non technical wife suggested that maybe some dirt was stuck in the "bad valve" and I should blow out the system again like I did last autumn. I followed her advice and lo and behold, my system began to work properly again. For 2 weeks now it has operated flawlessly. Thanks to our wives..........what would we do without them?

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