Bringing an irrigation system back to life

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by Marq Apel, May 25, 2021.

  1. Marq Apel

    Marq Apel New Member

    May 25, 2021
    Romeo, Michigan
    New house, prior owners did not have sprinklers turned on for at least 2 years.

    Opened it up last week, Vacuum breaker leaked like crazy, got that fixed today.

    Now I have only a trickle of water from zone 1, no other zones are working yet water is flowing, the well pump is running! No leaks at the valve boxes.

    Got voltage at the controller, but have not checked any valves.

    So now I'm thinking something is leaking, and prior to valves yet after 20 minutes no big wet spots in the bed but pipes look to be 12" deep.

    Assume this is next item to check!
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Oct 28, 2009
    Orlando, Florida
    A major leak would be before the zone valves. Is there a spigot right after the pump to prove your pumping a lot of water?

    At the controller put a voltmeter on the common and the active zone terminal. You should read from 18v-24v ac, maybe higher. If you get a weird reading remove the wire and check voltage again. If it all checks good you need to check the zone valves. A good chance they might have been damage from winter freezes. Usually the diaphragm gets hard and won't flex. At the zone valve turning the solenoid about 1/4-1/2 turn CCW should open the valve. If not it's the diaphragm. The zone weeping water, does it alway weep regardless of the zone selected? If yes, it's the diaphragm. Dirt and debris can plug up valves. When not used the pipes will get a lining of slime and when pressure returns it gets flushed off the walls of the pipe. Usually the sprinkler heads will pop up but no or little water.

    Solenoids do go bad. An ohm meter check for an open or a short but with all zones not working it's doubtful. To check a solenoid, have someone turn the zone on and off a you should feel and maybe hear a click noise from the solenoid. Or activate the zone and remove the hot wire from the solenoid and touch the solenoid wire to make a connection. You should feel it operate.

    A long chance that the common wire is opened somewhere. A wood chucks or other varmint might have chewed on the wires.

    Last edited: May 28, 2021
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  4. Marq Apel

    Marq Apel New Member

    May 25, 2021
    Romeo, Michigan
    What I suspect happened is that the main shut off valve was leaking and filling the main line with water that froze and ruptured the pipe. I have two banks of valves on opposite sides of the house that sit higher than the lowest point of the main line.

    First step will be to cut and cap the pipe after the first bank which should make those zones work.

    Then I'll test the other zones connecting up a garden hose.

    If all that proves good, then I have to figure a way to run a new line between them! That is not going to be an easy task, they are about 100' apart with lots of zones and pipes in between!
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