Troubleshooting Sprinkler Control Valves

July 31, 2020 by Billy Manning

 

Over the past week, some of our customers have had a problem troubleshooting a sprinkler control valve. This problem occurs for several reasons. Let's take a look at them below.

 

 

Look At The Nonsense.


How do I know if my sprinkler solenoid is bad?

If your magnet is defective, the water pressure in the sprinkler chamber will not change and the valve will not open.
  1. Disconnect the water supply.
  2. Open the magnet housing and check the piston.
  3. Place the magnetic plunger back into the housing.
  4. Turn on the water and check the spray arm.


If the valve doesn't open or opens completely, start with the obvious just to be sure. I know every idiot knows this better, but even we professionals regularly forget something really simple and obvious.

Tip. On some of these common valve models, you will find photographs of the various valve controls (such as flow control, on / off lever, and bleed screw) that are referenced in this article on this page. : Anti-siphon valves with Share label.

Manual Performance Test



Try opening the valve manually using the on / off lever located on the top of the valve body. Some valves use an air vent screw to manually open them. Therefore, if you do not see a lever labeled On / Off or Open / Close, look for a screw. Usually the screw has a button handle so you can turn it by hand. Do not completely remove the drain screw! Just turn it 1 - 2 by 1 full turn, water will pour out from under the screw and the valve should open. Some the valves have both a bleed screw and an on / off lever. I usually use the bleed screw on these valves because I have found it works best when the valve is stubborn. If the valve opens correctly and completely with the manual opener or drain screw, the problem may be in the electrical system. If the valve does not open fully when using the manual open function, skip the next section on electrical problems.

Basic Electrical Tests

If you do not have a valve actuator tester, start by making your own valve actuator using three nine-volt batteries. On my website you will find detailed instructions on how to make a magnetic valve actuator for irrigation (it's simple and only takes about 2 minutes!)

Valve Cleaning And Repair

If you checked the controller and cables and they are ok, the problem is with the valve itself. You have two options: remove and replace the valve, or disassemble the valve to check for problems. What nIt depends on which path is easier for you. I usually try to clean the valve instead of replacing it here.


Should sprinkler valves be open or closed?

If your magnet is defective, the water pressure in the sprinkler chamber will not change and the valve will not open.
  1. Disconnect the water supply.
  2. Open the magnet housing and check the piston.
  3. Place the magnetic plunger back into the housing.
  4. Turn on the water and check the spray arm.


Valve Replacement: Removing and replacing a valve can be challenging when the valve is fully installed. In essence, this is an exchange. Take a picture of the old valve before removing it, pull it out and replace the new one. You will most likely need to cut the pipe from the outlet side of the valve so you can rotate the valve body to unscrew and remove it from the inlet pipe. Some valves are installed so close together that you have to cut the pipe at the inlet and outlet. This applies in particular to anti-siphon valves. If the old valve is defective, install a new one in the same place. After all, you need to fix the pipe if you cut it. If the pipe is PVC, they make special pipe repair fittings that make the job easier. Remember to make all wired connections completely waterproof!



Note: Many anti-siphon valves are installed incorrectly. Even sprinkler installers do not care what they need to provide If installed correctly, incorrect installation may cause problems with the valve. Read the article on how to properly install the anti-siphon valve so you can use it correctly this time!


sprinkler control valves troubleshooting

Valve Cleaning and Repair: Most people try to fix a valve instead of replacing it. I do think repairs are often easier at this point. If you continue to disassemble the valve, pay attention to how all the parts fit together so that you can reassemble it after assembly. Tip: Take a picture of the valve and how the parts are connected during disassembly!



 

 

 

 

 

 

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