Trouble Turning Sprinklers On This Spring

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by kirkh28, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. kirkh28

    kirkh28 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hello,

    I'm trying to turn on my Sprinkler System, but can't seem to prevent water from coming out of the relief valve of my backflow preventer. I have a Watts RP Backflow system (see below):

    http://www.watts.com/pro/_productsFull_tree.asp?catId=65&parCat=99&pid=895&ref=2

    Can someone provide me the proper valve sequence or instructions to get my system going? I read the thread 'Turning on Sprinklers in Spring', but still didn't have any luck. Now that the relief valve is open, is there something I need to do to 'reset' the system?

    Thanks!

    Kirk

    FYI, the 'sequence' as I understood it:

    1. open valve before backflow device, close valve beyond backflow device
    2. Slowly open the water source valve (inside the house)
    3. Turn on zone 1 from control panel
    4. Slowly open the valve beyond the backflow device

    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  2. brett

    brett New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Same Problem, Different Watts Unit

    [​IMG]I am having the same problem. Just bought a house in Michigan with a sprinkler system. I have never had a sprinkler system and am unsure how to propertly open it up, but after following the instructions on the site I have water pouring out of the top of the backflow device, which is identical to the Watts device below. I turn on the main water and water immediately begins pouring out of the top of the device around the cap, regardless of whether the valve positions to the sprinkler system are open or closed.

    Any help or guidance would be GREATLY appreciated!!!



    http://www.watts.com/pro/_productsFull_tree.asp?catId=65&parCat=102&pid=920&ref=2
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,358
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I'm going to take a couple of wild guesses on both of these problems. (1) Your cities do not require annual inspections of these backflow preventers. (2) They were not properly winterized and have broken parts. My city requires an annual inspection by a certified technician of all backflow preventers. If you don't get it, they will shut off the water until you do, so there is really no choice. I know from past questions on this topic that some cities don't even require protection from cross contamination, and many that do require them, don't bother to have them inspected. It does seem strange that they can be so loose on something like this that is a definite health hazard and be be so picky about other things that, while important, are not nearly so likely to cause problems. Each fall when I blow the water from my lines, I remove the backflow preventer and store it inside so that there is zero chance for any residual water freezing. I know that they should blow out OK, but the way I have designed my system, the air hose is attached where the backflow preventer comes off, so it's no extra effort.

    I suggest you have a certified inspection of these units and either repair or replace them. DIY is not an option on these inspections, it requires training and very expensive equipment. On the positive side, it should not cost more than $30 or so to have it done.
  4. kirkh28

    kirkh28 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks Gary

    You are right, my city does not require inspections of the backflow devices. It requires they are there upon installation, but there is no sort of follow up inspection after that.

    That said, I dont think there is a problem other than the way I am starting the system (eg. I dont think the device is broken). The same thing happened last year when I turned the water on. Last year, I just shut it off to have it turned on professionally. There was no fee other than the normal startup fee, so I know it wasn't broken.

    I can always do the same thing this year, but was hoping to save the startup fee. So, if anyone familiar with these devices has any suggestions, let me know!
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Remove step three from the original four steps.
  6. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    My experience is that those pressure vacuum breakers always leak when you first turn on the water in the spring. There is an internal diaphragm that must seat properly, and it usually takes a minute or two for that to happen.

    If it still leaks after a few minutes, then you probably need to buy the rebuild kit.
  7. kirkh28

    kirkh28 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks VerdeBoy

    Thanks VerdeBoy...I'll give it a try. If it still doesn't seat right I'll give the rebuild a shot. The Watts site recommends taking the relief valve out and cleaning it, so I may try that before I order the rebuild kit. Thanks again!
  8. Mr_Pike

    Mr_Pike New Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Step 2 is incorrect.

    A lot of times in order to get the spring to seat, you have to provide a rush of water to the BF Preventer. You would open the supply QUICKLY.


  9. Mr_Pike

    Mr_Pike New Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Nebraska
    We open a zone as part of our start up procedure to let off the air pressure that would be built up in the main line if all the zones were left closed. That is the way I was taught years ago, so it is the way I teach my guys.

    I have never seen any damage that could not have also have been caused by freeze damaage, but it makes sense to purge the air out of the lines using the ball valve to give a bit of back pressure while filling the mainline. It saves having to reset the BF if it trips while opening the first valve.

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