Need help decoding old irrigation system

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-25-19, 10:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Need help decoding old irrigation system

Howdy guys! Thanks in advance for any help you can provide on this.

Our house is from 1990. The irrigation system isn't much newer. We just moved in a couple years ago. I thought I had the irrigation system figured out enough to use it, but I had a ball valve break last year, presumably due to improper winterization.

On top of that, my confidence level is not high on knowing what each valve does, and which ones should be turned off when.

I threw together this diagram of what I know about the valve/turnoff system. Its attached to this post.

The three circles on the left side are what you see when looking down at the ground. The valves are down in the pipes 3 feet or so. I don’t know why there are three valves. The one at the top seems to be the main, the second one controls the flow to the system, and the third one is a mystery.

The rest is pretty a pretty standard backflow preventer/valve box setup, but I could use advice on spring/summer procedures for that part. Ball valve 4 is broken right now, but it still works in the open position, and only leaks when closed.

Name:  sprinkler.jpg
Views: 37
Size:  57.5 KB
 

Last edited by PJmax; 04-25-19 at 01:51 PM. Reason: inserted picture from link
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-25-19, 11:37 AM
pugsl's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,216
Likes Received: 5
Shut off 2 it will cut water to 4 so you can replace. it.
 
  #3  
Old 04-25-19, 11:43 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 19,590
Likes Received: 31
To get the system going you obviously need to have any manual valves that feed the system open/on. You also need to make sure any drain valves are closed.

My spring procedure is simply to turn the system on and use the controller turn on each zone. This tests the controller, wiring and solenoid valves. Then I go out to look for leaks and make sure all the emitters are working properly. Then I just step through each zone. Only if something isn't working do I fiddle with it.
 
  #4  
Old 04-25-19, 12:27 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 5
I guess my main concern is that valve 3 is doing something that i don't expect... its got to be there for a reason. could it potentially be some sort of drain valve? I don't know where it drains to if so.

Also regarding replacing 4... it is on there TIGHT. I don't have a crescent wrench big enough, so I was using a big pair of channel locks, and i couldn't get any of the fittings to budge. I was afraid i was going to break one of the pvc pipes coming out of the ground. I guess I will get two big wrenches to get better leverage to see if i can get it to break free, but i'm concerned i'll have to cut the whole thing off at the PVC pipe and replace it all fresh.

Here's a real picture of the actual setup as well:
Name:  sprinkler2.jpg
Views: 33
Size:  135.7 KB
 

Last edited by PJmax; 04-25-19 at 02:01 PM. Reason: added pic from link
  #5  
Old 04-25-19, 02:04 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,200
Likes Received: 82
When you winterize the system...... you'd turn off #1 and open #3 to drain the line from the street to the backflow preventer. The supply line up to the preventer must be empty.
 
  #6  
Old 04-25-19, 02:33 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Hmmm. Interesting theory. I thought it might be something like that. Where would it drain to?

I'm pretty sure last year I had 1, 2, and 3 all open during the summer. Wouldn't that mean it would have been draining somewhere all summer?

Can you think of any ways i could check to see what valve 3 is actually doing?
 
  #7  
Old 04-25-19, 02:41 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,200
Likes Received: 82
Just leaving valves open in a sprinkler system is not enough. All the lines need to be blown out with compressed air. In a perfect system..... the end of the runs would be the lowest point so the water drained out on its own. Unfortunately.... that is rarely the case.

If there is nothing connected to the outlet of valve 3 then it can't run anything. If you didn't have that valve then you couldn't blow out the feed line.
 
  #8  
Old 04-25-19, 08:37 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Well, did some work and investigation on it tonight.

Replaced that broken ball valve, and while I had it taken apart I turned valve 2 and 3 off and on.

2 is definitely the supply to the irrigation. Tried opening 3, and still don't know what it does or where it goes. It doesn't drain the supply line. The line below the breaker stayed stayed full no matter what I did, so that seems like a problem with the information you gave me. You said the supply to the breaker needs to be totally emptied for winter right?

I guess I'll just leave 3 closed all the time and forget about it... But I really wish I knew what it was for.
 
  #9  
Old 04-26-19, 04:40 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Ct.,USA
Posts: 956
Likes Received: 8
Assuming your valve 1 is after the water meter. With valve 1 open and no water flowing as indicated by water meter, open valve 3 and see if the water meter indicates flow. If no flow you can close valve 3 and forget about it. If there is flow, you will need to do some digging to find if a pipe is attached to the valve and direction it is going. Beyond that maybe someone who is good with a divining rod. Hope this helps.
 
  #10  
Old 04-26-19, 09:37 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,200
Likes Received: 82
Could valve #3 supply the house ? You show water main but no house connections.
 
  #11  
Old 04-26-19, 03:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: United States
Posts: 5
No chance that #3 supplies the house. Its been closed all winter and water has been usable in the house all winter also.

I'll try to check and see if the meter indicates flow with it on tonight.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes