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Troubleshooting automatic sprinkler system issue

I hope this is the right forum. My wife noticed the flowerbed looked like it hadn't been watered. I checked the zone on the auto sprinkler system, and water seemed to trickle out as if there was no water pressure. I manually checked the zone from the actual valve by using the bleed screw and got full pressure. Because I got a "trickle" of water when the zone was auto-engaged, I assume the connection is working to the control panel and the time is okay. The bleed screw method indicates I have full pressure, so possibly I shouldn't have a valve issue. What next should I trouble shoot?

Thanks in advance,

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Re: Troubleshooting automatic sprinkler system issue

not too difficult to figure out, but perhaps some clarification on terms, etc.....

>>I checked the zone on the auto sprinkler system, and water seemed to trickle out as if there was no water pressure.
were you checking at the sprinkler nozzle or somewhere else?

- other circuits are working normally
- you manually energize a circuit and the water is just sputtering out

two possibilities:
the electrically operated value / solenoid has an issue
there's a leak / pipe break downstream of the solenoid valve.

valve problem could include:
weak solenoid/magnet/opening
busted up gaskets/seals "blocking" the flow

if this is a "new" system, soil compaction/consolidation/shrinkage can duck soup cause a pipe break.

>>bleeder valve full pressure
- depends on where bleeder valve is in the circuit - if it's upstream of the solenoid valve (keep in mind, the bleeder could be directly "on" the valve, but on the inlet side.....) full pressure would be expected. if on the outlet/downstream side with full pressure, individual sprinkler head(s) could be blocked. what's the odds 3-4-6 heads become simultaneously blocked....?

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Re: Troubleshooting automatic sprinkler system issue

Responses are as follows:
>>were you checking at the sprinkler nozzle or somewhere else?
I was checking at the sprinkler nozzles. There are 6 sprinklers on this zone where the water "trickles" out. "Trickles out" = seeing the sprinkler spray head nozzles behave like a drip system :) There was no spray, and water just oozed out.

This is an old system, but I don't believe there is a break in the water flow. We recently had gutters put in, the front facade painted, and even that drip system put in the back yard where the gardener pulled water from the front irrigation system. At first I thought it was a pressure issue, but as I mentioned I get full pressure when I manually engage the valve. More than likely, one of the workers inadvertently damaged the solenoid array on that one valve and I will have to replace it. I believe (by pure LUCK) I replaced a solenoid on one of the other valves about four years ago. I shall do my internet homework again to figure out just exactly what I did.

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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Troubleshooting automatic sprinkler system issue

Salts can build up in the controller. If the system has enough pressure going into it and it is trickling out there are a few things

1. The emitter or head might be clogged with debris. You can take it apart and clean it out. There should be a little filter basket that collects dirt and debris from the standard irrigation head. Sometimes bugs in summer like to go into the micro sprayers looking for water and they will impede flow. I use a paper clip to dig them out. The emitter can also become clogged from the salts in the water. Replace the emitter or head. If this is the only zone that is not working and it is not the end zone then it is probably something to do with the heads or valve. You can adjust the arc and throw by adjusting the screw and turning the adjustible top (if that is the kind you have)

2. Make sure the valve is open. Check the diaphragm in the valve. If the sprinkler manifold is over five years old the diaphragm may need to be changed.

3. Turn the system on manually and follow the lines. Go to the first emitter or sprinkler head you see and open it up the water should be gushing. With the system on follow the line and look for places that may be leaking. With overhead sprinklers it is easy to do, drip emitters clog and have to be replaced and it takes longer to inspect each one.

4. When you get to the end of the line remove either the last sprinkler head or end cap on a drip system and flush the system out. Trapped dirt and debris can clog the last head in the line. The irrigation system should be checked monthly to make sure it is working and annually usually before summer sets in, replace the back up battery and check the lines for leaks and clogs.

https://www.familyhandyman.com/landscapi ... s/view-all
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Location: ranches in sierra nevada mountains California & Navada high desert

Re: Troubleshooting automatic sprinkler system issue

wgrayson, I think you were saying: when you check that valve with the bleeder it works. If that's the case. I'd switch the wire for that valve with another zone, at the controller. If that one continues not to work it's the valve, if it works and the on you switched the wire with fails to work it' the controller. One more possibility: the wire. I had an old wire lose continuity a while ago, and we had to run a conduit with new wires up the hill to the valve bank.

Let us know what you find.


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