Anybody know about in-ground lawn sprinklers? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Anybody know about in-ground lawn sprinklers?

For reasons Iím not sure about, I decided to try to have a nice lawn this year. I had it graded and re-seeded and turned on the in-ground sprinklers that came with the house. They seemed to work fine at first, but now the spray coming out of them has become a bit anemic. They no longer reach the full distance that they did when I first turned them on about a month ago. It seems to have come on rather sudden. Some of the heads look like theyíre leaking around the seals as well.

I suspect thatís something is clogged or low pressure or a valve problem, but I donít know where to start.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 11:45 AM
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most likely a leak (underground . . . )


one or two weaklings could be clog(s) / dirt - but if the whole system has 'collapsed' sounds like something big is leaking.
'the pros' have a special microphone thingie the can stick in the ground and 'hear' a leak squirting. trace the pipes to localize . . .
they are not cheap - you may be able to rent one.
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post #3 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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I have two zones. One has three heads, the other has two.

The one with three heads seems to be working OK; it’s the zone with just two that has issues.

One of the two is working kind of OK, the other sprays about a foot. They both seem to be leaking a lot.
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 01:10 PM
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It would have to be a pretty big leak to diminish the spray as much as you describe.


From what you describe I suspect that something has gotten in to the spray heads. Most heads have a strainer that can become clogged. Unscrew the heads from the feed line and see if you can find the strainer and clean it out.



Are you working off city water, well or lake?


George
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-08-2019, 01:34 PM
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Because it is only one zone that has an issue, it sounds like a valve problem. Could be the solenoid is bad, and not allowing the valve to open completely. But usually when the solenoid is bad, the valve remains open partially.



Try manually opening the valve to see if it allows full pressure, if it does, than the valve needs some work. Could be a little grit or dirt in the little hole that allows water to pass, and the valve to open. You can clean that out with a thin wire. Could also need a new diaphragm. Another, less likely issue, could be the clock has a problem and is not sending enough juice to the solenoid to open fully. If you have an unused zone, switch the wires for the problem zone to the unused zone.
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 06:24 AM Thread Starter
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I replaced both heads and didnít see any improvement; in fact, there didnít even seem to be enough pressure to raise the heads.

Then, I blew some compressed air through through that zone figuring the extra pressure might dislodge a valve that wasnít opening all the way. When the compressed air was forcing out the water that was in the pipes, the spray was normal. After that, I turned the water back on and everything was working like it should. I adjusted the new heads and turned it off. When I turned it back on later, it was back to the old problem.

Any thoughts based on this latest info?

Last edited by Quickstep; 06-09-2019 at 06:26 AM.
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 07:28 AM
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You have not told us anything about your system other than it has 2 zones and 3 heads on 1 zone and 2 on the other.


Please describe your system to us.


George
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-09-2019, 04:32 PM
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I agree with SeanStuart. If my own sprinklers did what you describe, I would get out my spare solenoid and swap it first to see if it fixes the issue. We have more zones, but keeping a spare solenoid on hand is helpful. One will fail every couple years or so.
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-10-2019, 01:37 PM
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They always come on when it's raining.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-10-2019, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
I agree with SeanStuart. If my own sprinklers did what you describe, I would get out my spare solenoid and swap it first to see if it fixes the issue. We have more zones, but keeping a spare solenoid on hand is helpful. One will fail every couple years or so.

How do you know his system has a solenoid?


If he would describe his system to us we could give better answers.


George
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 12:21 AM
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If the water flow is electrically activated (Solenoid) there is a rod that raises up out of the solenoid. With the power on you should be able to turn the rod and incr4ease or decrease the water flow.

Try that first before anything.

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post #12 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks.

First, I need to find the valves. Thatís going to take some exploratory excavation!
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
If the water flow is electrically activated (Solenoid) there is a rod that raises up out of the solenoid. With the power on you should be able to turn the rod and incr4ease or decrease the water flow.

Try that first before anything.

Not necessarily so. There is also the turret type of selection system. There are many of these in this part of the country. When I bought my house that was what was in my system. I now have an electronic type system, but there is no method to change the water flow volume.



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post #14 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
You have not told us anything about your system other than it has 2 zones and 3 heads on 1 zone and 2 on the other.


Please describe your system to us.


George

The system came with the house and I don't know much more about it. Let me know what other info would be helpful and I'll go digging (possibly literally).

I hadn't used it for years, but decided to revive it this year. It seemed to be working fine for about a month before the one zone went on the fritz.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 03:09 PM
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if the valves are buried out in the yard somewhere . . . they're probably in a box with a cover similar to these:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=sprinkler...l_8du5goslaj_b

since you have no info on the system design/layout/install, you're in for it. I "lost" a valve once - knew "about" where it was even. had to lay out a grid and used a broom handle to thump the ground, eventually finding the 'hollow spot.'

with the right equipment, a signal is sent down the wire that can be be traced from the house exit to the valve. how the pipes go 'after the valve' is not often obvious or simple. some installers will lay a wire to each of the heads so the pipes can be traced. most don't.

you might contemplate bringing in a pro with the gear and advanced guessing experience to map it out. then you can work on what needs fixing....
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post #16 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Ingenious ^^^

I have wire tracing equipment, but never thought of using it.

I know where the wires exit the house and I know the box is out there somewhere, but there’s a lot of stuff planted and I’ll be in trouble if I dig too much stuff up.
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post #17 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 05:40 PM
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Do you even know if the water comes from a well or is city water?


Valves buried in a box in the ground sounds like a large system such as used on golf courses.



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post #18 of 27 Old 06-11-2019, 09:12 PM
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I have 3 zones with 2 zones having 11 oscillating heads, and 1 zone that has 11 fixed heads, and the valves are in a manifold in a buried box along side the garage.
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post #19 of 27 Old 06-13-2019, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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I found the valve box!

When I loosen the solenoid, the heads spray at their full distance. When I tighten the solenoid back down, the spray diminishes. Can anyone tell me what that means?

Here’s a picture of the valves and one of the solenoids. The valve box is full of water because I rinsed everything off.
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post #20 of 27 Old 06-13-2019, 04:24 PM
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the solenoid is a electromagnet that makes a steel plunger move - that plungers activates a small balancing valve which uses water pressure to make the big valve open/close.


since the system has been idle for some time, the problem could be in the solenoid or in the valve proper - dirt / rust / corrosion / bad seal / o-ring / diaphragm...



when you say "loosen" the solenoid, does that mean partially unscrewing it?
you could try a new solenoid - or swap the existing two and see if the problem follows - but my bet is you'll need to rebuild the valve.
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