Home Sprinklers - 2 of 6 zones not working


Old 04-16-08, 11:05 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2
Home Sprinklers - 2 of 6 zones not working

I'll start by thanking you all for your advice. This is a great forum! I'm a first-time homeowner, and therefore new to the world of sprinklers, and need your help:

I have a 6 zone, residential sprinkler system at my home. In attempting to start it up this year, I found that zone 1 is inactive. No sprinklers popping up, no air, water, noise, etc. from any of the sprinklers at zone 1. All other zones operated normally for the 10 minutes I ran each station on the "manually run all stations" setting on my control box in the gargage. Upon attempting the same thing again the next day, zone 1 was again totally inactive. Zone 2 stopped halfway through it's cycle. The remaining stations continue to operate just fine.

When I attempt to manually run the zones, by turning the "valve" (solenoid?) at the box for stations 1 and 2, I hear water going through the pipes at the box, but absolutely nothing happens at the sprinklers for zones 1 and 2. No popping up, no leaking, nothing. I similarly hear water at the box for zones 1 and 2 when I attempt to run them from the control box in the garage, as well, but nothing happens at zones 1 and 2. For your reference, the valve for zone 3 is located in the same box as 1 and 2, but works just fine.

Any ideas on the source of the problem? Broken pipe? Blockage? Other? Thanks again. Much appreciated.
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Old 04-16-08, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
Doesn't sound good.... You should be able to access the solonoid manifold to unscrew the piping leading to zones 1 and 2. Then you will know if the solonoids are working properly (you'll flood your manifold box)... I'm afraid you may have a broken pipe or two (tough winter - and not properly flushed?). If the manifold solonoids are working properly - then turn on zone 1 and let it run for a while.. you should be able to find the leak by the squishy sound under your feet as your yard turns into a swamp.
Old 04-16-08, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 5
i'm a service tec in canada. when zones don't operate, it can only be a few things. did you notice if there was silicone in the caps marretts, when it may have been installed. a lot of times, rust from condensation ect, will break a conection. cut the two vave wires, restrip and join again. the slonoids can be checked by a home owner on the clock, by turning on manual one station holding one wire to the common and the other to the zone on.you will here a click if it is working. you can also take a test light to the clock, to make sure your timer is not the problem, by touching the same conections.hope that helps a bit
Old 04-16-08, 09:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 5
and as the zester states if you here water going threw the pipes manual turn on, it is going somewhere. run it untill you find the leak
Old 04-17-08, 10:39 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2
Thanks for the information. The wiring, etc. is good. The broken pipes are what I was worried about. I was hoping you could tell me something different. I'll have to flood my yard this weekend when I have time to take care of the mess.

Also, because I haven't ranted yet this morning: the guy that "winterized" my sprinklers last fall sheared of one of the test cocks on my double check valve, and broke the connection at the pvc on one end. Once I fixed that, now I find this. Lesson: pay for someone reputable to winterize your home irrigation system.

Thanks again, guys.
Old 04-21-08, 05:42 PM
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There is no substitute for a job done right!!
Old 04-22-08, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Conus
Posts: 505
Zones Not Working

last year I had the same problem. Here is what I did, First check to make sure that there is water coming to the manifold. Just open the cleanout on the manifold and see if water comes out. Then turn off the water and clean out any screen in the manifold.
Second; make sure that the wires to the manifolds in the lawn box are clean and attached securely. I undid, re-stripped and re-attached all the wires This had no results. Since Zone 3 is located in the same location as the other two simply remove ( and tag) the wires from zone one(1) and then attach the wires from Zone three(3) to the manifold from Zone 1. Then manually start Zone 3. If it works then the problem may be in wiring from box or in the line ( usually you will hear the manifold open). If not then the chances are that the manifolds are bad. They cost about $15.USC (can vary by location, make and distributor)
I found that the manifold would work for about tho minutes then quit. Using this method I isolated and replaced the manifold and so far ( knock on wood) no problems.
By the way to winterize is a snap. I use a compressor set at 15 lbs PSI and a hooked up after the turnoff valve. Turn off the water, start zone one on manual and then the compressor. Run until mist comes from the heads then go to the various zones and repeat. Had a friendly service guy show me this twenty + years ago and have been doing it ever since with no freeze-up damage. All you have to do is make room for any freeze-up to expand.
I know that some will take issue with me on this, but if in todays' economic times it saves someone some money, I will take the heat.

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