The purpose of having a yard sprinkler system is to make less work for you. It makes the task of keeping the lawn watered totally automated. When your sprinklers are working, they really do save you a lot of time. All you have to think about is how good your green grass is looking! However, what happens when something goes wrong? You will then have the tricky task of locating, cleaning, and fixing the sprinkler valves.
To locate these valves, your first step is to start back at the beginning. Find the main sprinkler system's supply line. This waterline can sometimes be located in your house, and sometimes it may be located at its own separate pump and well that supplies the water for the system. Once you have found that main line, you just follow it until you get to the area where it splits and you see multiple waterlines. The sprinkler valves usually lie just beyond this split, and can be easy to locate. Sometimes, however, they can be buried underground.
If the valves are indeed buried underground, you can start by looking for green or black valve boxes in your yard. These are often located in flowerbeds or near the sprinkler controller so it may be best to start looking in those spots. If you cannot locate a box, you can contact your sprinkler installer, or even get out your old trusty metal detector to sweep the ground looking for the buried sprinkler valves.
Once you finally locate your valves it is time to get to work. Valves issues usually present in a few recognizable ways. They either get stuck, thus allowing the water to run non-stop until it is manually shut off; or, they end up doing the opposite and do not turn on at all, block any water flow. They can also simply "weep", which is a small but never ending leak that can do some serious damage. If weeping is the case it might be time to call in a professional to fix your sprinkler valves.
If the valve is not turning on or is not shutting off then it is very likely that some debris has gotten lodged in it. You will need to take it apart carefully and clean each piece. Start by removing the solenoid (usually a black box with wires sticking out) and then check the plunger beneath it. It should move easily and be springy; if it is not, it may need to be replaced. Clean all parts of the valve thoroughly removing any bugs or dirt you see and then put it back together. If you have cleaned every part of the sprinkler valves and they are still not working properly, it may be a bad solenoid, bad wiring or even a ruined diaphragm. You can choose to read up on how to fix these matters yourself, or you can save yourself some time and call in the pros.
There are options you can try to fix sprinkler valves. With a little hard work, you can get your sprinklers back up and running again!
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