How to Locate Underground Sprinkler Valves

underground sprinkler watering the lawn
  • 1-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Wire cutter
Small shovel
Metal coat hanger

A lot of lawns have irrigation systems installed, which consist of a backflow valve, timer, water pipes, sprinkler heads, and sprinkler valves. In replacing the valves, finding the sprinkler control valve is the most difficult, but it is something you can do by yourself.

Step 1 - Locate the Irrigation Plan

Home systems usually have an irrigation plan drawn. It shows the location of every component of the system, and allows you to find where the sprinkler valves are located from the plan.

Step 2 - Locate the Backflow Valve

A backflow valve is usually located near the area where water enters the system from the main water source. You can usually find the sprinkler valves near it.

Step 3 - Follow the Irrigation Timer

irrigation timer

You can also find the sprinkler valves by following the wires from the timer, and these are buried typically two inches into the ground. Use the small trowel to uncover them.

Step 4 - Follow the Water Lines

A water line is usually installed from the backflow valve to the sprinkler valves. It is buried deeper, so use your wire cutter to cut a 12-inch wire from the metal coat hanger. Use it to go through the soil.

Step 5 - Identify Chatter

Sprinkler valves make a chattering sound as they open and close. You can have the help of another person to open and close the system for you. Crawl around on the area where you suspect the sprinkler valves are and try to listen for the sound coming from beneath the soil.