Finding Valves

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by Jpedersen, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. Jpedersen

    Jpedersen New Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    I recently moved into an older home w/ a sprinkler system. In the last week I noticed one of the sprinkler heads is leaking so I assumed it is a problem w/ the valve. Problem is I can't find a valve box anywhere. Any tricks for locating a box that may have been covered in dirt and grass?


  2. teamo

    teamo Member

    Jun 26, 2005
    Can you see where the supply line exits the house? Usually it will exit the house and go down into the ground close to the house and into the valve box.
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  4. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Do you have access to a metal detector?

  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    metal detector?

    Most residential valves are plastic so a metal detector would be useless. If the valves are really "invisible" a lawn sprinkler supply company may be able to tell you if anyone has a "valve detecting" electronic locator. Otherwise just get a long narrow screwdriver and start poking the ground in the area where the water line enters the ground.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Valve boxes are located in very logical places. Near where the water comes from the house or from the water main, and usually not just stuck out the the middle of the yard. Try to imagine where you'd put it then start probing. You might want to grid the area(s) out so you are sure of covering the entire area.
  7. Beary

    Beary New Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    I had this problem last year. I have a heavy steel bar that I used to poke the ground looking for the box. I build some pretty good biceps poking hundreds of holes, but never found and of the valve boxes. I hired a guy just went to a rental store and rented one of those line tracer machines. Turns out I had three boxes and the reason I couldn't find them was because there was 2 inches of grass growing on them, and they weren't near any of the logical places most installers put valves. Call a local rental shop and ask them if they have something that will trace wire underground.

  8. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Well not exactly, I think a metal detector will go bonkers at the copper in the solenoid coil, or the SS metal holding the two halves together. I'll try it tonight and let you know.

  9. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    Feedback from the test... Yes the metal detector does locate the plastic valves, and the wiring to the valve if it's not below 1' in the ground.

  10. ed the head

    ed the head I have been in irrigation over 25 years

    Mar 8, 2007
    Just bite the bullet,call a irrigation co. and ask them if they have a 521 valve locater and for about a $100.00 they will find all of them for you.
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