Locating Valve boxes

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Old 04-07-20, 09:53 AM
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Locating Valve boxes

We have a Rainbird system (or at least the controller is Rainbird) and we have 5 zones. We think each one has it's own valve box, anyway, we can only find one and there's only one valve in it, so we are thinking that there are 4 more. Right now, zone 1, comes on everytime we open the water valve and it will run till we turn the water off - at the main valve to control water to the sprinklers. We think the valve and/or solenoid needs to be changed but we do not know where that valve or box is located. Any secrets to find those boxes? Right now the other 3 zones are working, but it would be good to know where they are. The house is 15 years old. Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 04-07-20, 10:12 AM
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There's no real secret to finding them. Try to figure out what direction the water supply pipes go - that should sort of point towards the location of the valves. Or start from the head in a zone that's closest to the house. Picture a straight-ish line between that head and where the water pipes leave your house. It should be somewhere along that line, probably either right at the house, or close to that first head.

When they are installed, it's common to choose either the straightest line between the two points, or possibly use a single trench for a few pipes. So think like an installer.
 
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Old 04-07-20, 10:35 AM
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If you don't have a clue where they might be located then mowing the lawn is one of the best way to find them. Pay attention to odd bumps in the yard or hollow sounds as the wheels of the mowers pass over an area. If you still don't find them look underneath shrubbery. The plants are likely much bigger than when they were planted and could have overgrown the boxes.
 
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Old 04-07-20, 11:29 AM
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So the zone that we are having trouble with is across the driveway from the controller, there are about 10 sprinkler heads along that side of the driveway. So you think it should be in line with those sprinkler heads? And do you think coming out straight from the controller, (which is in the garage)going across the driveway would be the best place to start looking? Do they usually spread them out across the lawn, or keep them close to the house? My husband has been poking that area with a long metal probe, but so far, nothing.
 
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Old 04-07-20, 12:18 PM
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There is no code or general practice for installing irrigation. Valves, piping and wiring can be run anywhere. I've seen crazy layouts for various reasons. I've seen irrigation installed during initial construction when there were piles of lumber or stone in the way so they just trenched around and went on with the installation. Or, when pipes were routed around a tree or shrub. Years after the tree/shrub is dead and gone the routing can make absolutely no sense.
 
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Old 04-07-20, 03:28 PM
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Google "DIY valve box finder" for lots of stories and ideas.

The simplest might be to shut off the water supply and have someone switch the zone on and off while you walk around in the area (when it is quiet--at night?) and listen for the valve clicking on-off. There are also devices that will do that.

I ended up getting a wire tracing device. See this link for my experience last year.

Toro valve diagram
 
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Old 04-07-20, 05:16 PM
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Well, unfortunately, it won't switch off, just starts running when we open the water to the sprinkler. It will not go off till we shut off the water.
 
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Old 04-07-20, 05:42 PM
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just starts running when we open the water to the sprinkler. It will not go off till we shut off the water.
It sounds like you have a manual valve that you are opening not one that is connected to your control system. A picture of what you are opening for the sprinklers would be a big help.
 
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Old 04-10-20, 07:50 AM
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If you have a 24 volt controller.....activate a station on a very quiet day or night and walk around..... and listen for a slight buzzing coming from the ground. It might be your electric valve.
 
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