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Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Overview: Simple system, easy determines

An automatic lawn irrigation system is the best behavior to keep your lawn looking fresh and green. Accurately designed and programmed, it’ll deliver the right amount of sea to your yard — no more moving the sprinkler! But like any other sprinklers system, it occasionally breaks down or expects maintenance.

The good news is you can handle 90 percent of the sprinkler restores yourself, even without in-depth knowledge of the system. We’ll depict you how to identify and fix the most common questions applying sprinkler fixing duties. Calling in a professional could expenditure at least $100, even for a simple problem you can fix yourself in 10 minutes.

Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of working in the field of a sprinklers system that involves both plumbing and energy. The pipes are plastic and much simpler to restore than the plumbing in your house. The electrical pipelines are low voltage, so they’re not hazardous. You don’t need special skills to construct the repairs, but you’ll need a multimeter to diagnose electrical difficulties for sprinkler repairs.

Figure A: How Sprinklers System Works

The controller sends a signal to the control valves in the restraint valve carton. The sprinkler system valves open, mail liquid through the underground water line, which causes the sprinkler heads to pop up and spray.

Figure A: How a sprinkler system works illustration

Sprinkler psyches not working? Solution 1: Replace the heads Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Replace a sprinkler head

Dig around the sprinkler head to expose the riser. Unscrew the contravene sprinkler head from the riser. Installing the new brain, turning it tight with your hands.

Broken sprinkler heads are easy to identify. Simply look for cracked or interrupted plastic casing on the heads, psyches that don’t pop up, or a leaking sprinkler head with water that sprays wildly or not at all. It’s common to find the top of the head completely broken off. This typically happens to psyches that are set too high and are run down by vehicles or hit by lawn mowers.

Replacing the head is one of the simplest determines. Replacement chiefs are available at home centers and online. Be sure to buy the same type of head that you’re replacing.

To change a violate head, turn off the system and dig a 2-ft. -diameter hole around the head. Using a square shovel, slice the sod into easy-to-remove fragments. Set the turf on a tarp so you can set it back into home at the end of the job.

Dig down to the “riser”( the horizontal tube that branches off the main line) which is connected to the sprinkler head. Dig with a light touch to avoid damaging the plastic water line, which is 8 to 12 in. underground.

Turn the head counterclockwise to remove it from the riser. While the brain is off, take care not to spill dirt into the riser. Sprinkler chiefs are installed only hand-tight, but after are currently in the ground for several years, they may require the use of wrenches to unscrew. If the brain doesn’t turn easily, hold the riser with steal joint pliers to keep it from twisting loose from the fittings below.

Attach the brand-new sprinkler head by lay it on the riser and turning it hand-tight( photo ). Don’t use Teflon tape or seam compound on the riser yarns. Sprinkler psyches are mill experimented to make sure they run. As a result, they’re often packaged still wet, so don’t be surprised to see liquid in a new head.

Before filling in the hole and replacing the sod, specified the desired sprinkler pattern( learn “Reset the Spray Pattern, ” below ).

Caution: Before you start digging to access the underground water lines, electrical wires or spray managers, dial 811 to have your underground utility cables identified and marked.

Sprinkler heads not working? Solution 2: Clean and reset managers Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 1: Unscrew the top

If you find a leaking sprinkler head or one that’s not working at all, first disassemble the sprinkler head by unscrewing the top from the canister. Rinse away clay and debris in a bucket of liquid. Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 2: Clean the screen basket

Remove the screen basket from the bottom of the brain, then clean it with liquid. Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 3: Adjust the spray

Adjust the watering assortment of the sprinkler head before installing it. Place the psyche in the canister so the nozzle is at the edge of the field to be watered. Make final changes with the sea running.

Dirt sometimes get inside sprinkler heads, causing them to clog up. Clogged brains may rise but are insufficient to spray , not lower after watering, or create an erratic spraying pattern.

To clean the brain, dig it out and remove it from the Riser( Photo above ). Take the brain apart by maintaining the bottom of the canister and turning the top of the head counterclockwise. Once it’s unscrewed, lift it out of the canister( Photo 1 ).

Remove the plastic screen basket, which serves as a filter, at the base of the head. If you can’t popping the basket out with your fingers, pry it out with a flat-head screwdriver or pull it free with a pliers. Rinse the basket in a pail of clean ocean, laundering out the dusts( Photo 2 ). Clean the rest of the sprinkler head by rinsing it with sea. Replace the brain on the riser. If it still doesn’t work, supplant it with a new psyche. Note: In areas of the country that suffer icing temperatures, polyethylene( poly) pipe is applicable for the irrigation water lines. PVC pipe is used in areas that don’t freeze.

Reset the spray pattern

When putting on a new sprinkler head or using the same head after cleaning, you may need to adjust it to water a particular area. Adjustment techniques vary. You can adjust some head kinds by turning a slot at the top with a screwdriver. Others require a special key that you insert into the head and turn( Photo 3 ). Some brains also allow you to adjust the spraying pattern by turning a tiny screwing located next to the nozzle.

Adjust the heads before installing them, then fine-tune them formerly they’re in place with the sprinkler operating. First, turn the top clockwise until it stops. That nozzle locating is the starting point( the manager will turn counterclockwise from there ). Adjust the psyche to set the watering spin anywhere from 40 degrees to 360 degrees counterclockwise from the starting point. Set the manager in the canister. Standing behind the brain, align the nozzle with the right perimeter of the field you want to water, such as along a driveway. Tighten the brain in the canister. Carefully backfill the hole and supersede the sod.

Turn on the sprinklers structure at the controller. Allow the brain to make a few rotations, then make additional accommodations while the system is running for sprinklers repair.

Low-pitched water pressure? Solution 1: Turn on sprinkler system valves at backflow machine Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Check the valves

Check the sprinkler system valves on the backflow machine to make sure they’re open. Turn the valve on the horizontal pipe first, then the horizontal pipe valve.

Low water pressure will result in the sprinkler heads scarcely shooting liquid. In extreme cases, many of the heads won’t even pop up. Start with the easiest solution. Make sure the valves at the backflow device are fully open. The backflow machine is located above floor, with the valve at the least 12 in. above the highest sprinkler head in the garden. Most backflow devices have a valve on the horizontal and horizontal tubes. Turn the valves to their open positions as shown. The sprinkler system valve is open when the handle is parallel with the pipe.

Low-neck water pressure? Solution 2: Find and fixing leaks Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 1: Install a steal coupling

Cut out the damaged section of pipeline and supplant it with a move coupling. Secure the coupling with stripe fastens. Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 2: Close-up of slip coupling

A slip coupling readily expands and contracts to supersede a damaged section of line.

Then check for divulges in the water line. Look for a series of sprinkler heads that aren’t watering properly. The water line problem is always located between the last working head and the first nonworking head.

Look for signs of leaking liquid, such as water gurgle up from the soil when the sprinklers system are operating, a depression in the field, or a extremely wet field. If you find moving water, espouse the sea to the highest point to find the source.

Once you locate the approximate leakage locate, dig straight-from-the-shoulder down to the water line. Then enlarge the hole along the line, following the flow of the leaking water until you find the smash or fissure. Before constructing the mend, make sure the system is turned off at the controller.

Use a slip-up coupling to restore the leakage. This special coupling contracts to stir insertion easy. Find these couplings and other repair components at irrigation supply stores.

To fix the leak, use a hacksaw to cut out a 4-in. segment of path at the leakage. Place a fix on one of the line aims, put the coupling, then tighten the clamp.

Place a clamp on the second pipe end, expand the coupling while putting the nipple into the pipe, then tightened the clamp. Backfill the hole with soil and supersede the sod.

Low-neck sea pressure? Solution 3: Repair vanquished pipes Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 1: Crushed tube

Tree roots can grow around a tube and squeeze it shut after several years. Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 2: Splice in new tube

Cut out the damaged section of path. Replace it with a brand-new segment of path, constructing connections with standard couplings and ensemble clamps.

If you can’t locate a leakage, the water line may be mashed or stymie. Sometimes, roots wrap around the line and crush it closed during the course of several years( photo 1 ). Or vehicles may have constricted the soil and collapsed the line. These difficulties are harder to find and often require a lot of digging. Again, look for the problem after the last working head. Dig along the water line until you find the damaged section. If the line operates near a tree, start your digging there.

Once you pinpoint the damaged section, cut it out with a hacksaw. If the line was damaged by tree roots, reroute the line by digging a brand-new trench away from the tree.

Cut a brand-new segment of pipe to supplant the damaged one. Then replace the section of tube, connecting it at each end with regular couplings and ensemble fastens( photo 2 ).

Zone not working? Solution 1: Check for voltage to the bad zone Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Check for low-pitched voltage

Check the voltage to the nonworking zone using a multimeter. Touch the leads to the common terminal and region terminal. If the voltage is too low, supplant the controller.

Your watering system is divided into a series of zones. Each zone has an electrically initiated sprinkler system valve that controls the heads for a designated area.

Generally, if you have a zone that’s not turning on, you have an electrical problem. To solve the problem, make sure the zone wires are firmly attached to the terminals in the controller, the transformer is plugged in, and the circuit breaker at the primary panel is on.

Next, exam for voltage to the nonworking zone, using a multimeter( at home centers and hardware stores ). Turn on the nonworking zone at the controller. Turn the multimeter dial to voltage and place one lead on the common terminal( celebrated “c” or “com” ). Place the other lead on the terminal of the zone that’s not working( photo left ). It doesn’t matter which produce goes to which terminal.

Refer to your owner’s manual to see whether the voltage read falls within the required range( usually 24 to 28 volts ). If it doesn’t, the controller needs to be replaced.( If you don’t get any voltage see, visualize “Check Fuse and Transformer, ” below .)

Fortunately, controllers rarely go bad unless struck by lightning. New ones start at $175 and can expense upward of $400. Replace a damaged controller with the same brand and model as you currently have. To supplant it, label each wire that’s connected to the controller with a piece of tape. Unhook the wires, then attach them to the new controller in the same sequence.

Region not working? Solution 2: Check fuse and transformer Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Test the transformer

Test the transformer voltage by lay the multimeter leadings on the transformer terminals differentiated “2 4 vac” with the transformer plugged in. If the reading is less than 22, replace the transformer.

If no zones will turn on, first turn the controller to the manual setting to see if the system will move. And if it turns on manually, the controller is good but the rainfall sensor may be stopping the automatic programmed watering, which is what it’s designed to do.

Rain sensors conserve water by preclude the system from running when the ground is already saturated and doesn’t need additional watering. Some nations necessitate rainwater sensors on all brand-new structures.( Your rain sensor is bad if the organizations of the system extends when the ground is already wet .)

If the system doesn’t run in the manual position, check the controller for ability. If it has a fuse, make sure it’s not blow. Or, if it has a circuit breaker reset button, press the button, then try the system again. If the system is plugged into a GFCI receptacle, press the GFCI reset button.

If it still doesn’t turn on, make sure the outlet that the power transformer is plugged into is working by plug in a ability tool. And if it’s working, plug the transformer back in, turn the organizations of the system off and test the transformer for voltage. Using a multimeter, home a lead on each of the two transformer terminals. It doesn’t matter which make goes to which terminal.

The transformer terminals are differentiated “2 4 vac.” A 24 -voltage transformer should normally test between 24 and 28 volts. If the voltage falls below the manufacturer’s assortment, supersede the transformer. Simply unscrew the terminals that hold the two transformer wires in the controller and remove the transformer( photo ). Insert the wires on the brand-new transformer through certain designated opening in the controller. Attach the wires to the controller terminals recognized “2 4 vac” by set the wire points under the screws, then tightening them.

Zone not working? Solution 3: How to supersede defective sprinkler system valve Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 1: Replace sprinkler solenoid

Disconnect the wires and unscrew the defective solenoid from the control valve. Insert a brand-new one and turn it until it’s finger-tight. Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 2: Reconnect the wires

Connect the two wires on the brand-new solenoid to the common wire and a domain wire, use waterproofed connectors. Fixing Sprinkler Systems

Photo 2A: Waterproof connectors

Special connectors are filled with silicone to make the connections waterproof.

If the controller, fuse and transformer check out OK, test the resistance “ohms” between the common terminal and the nonworking area. Turn off the organizations of the system, turn the multimeter to exam for ohms( the omega represent ), and place the leads on the common terminal and region terminal, just as you did to test for voltage.

Compare the ohms speaking with the range listed in your owner’s manual( generally 20 to 60 ohms ). If the ohms fall below the required amount, the switching( solenoid) that operates the self-control valve for that zone is defective and needs to be replaced. The defective solenoid will be connected to the same color wire as the zone wire at the controller.( If the learning is too high, realize “Repair Damaged Wires” below .)

Control valves are typically grouped with three to six valves in one box( Photo 1 ). The cartons can be found in the ground with a extend that simply lifts off. They can be located anywhere in the garden but are usually close to the primary water supply.

Although sprinkler system valves themselves rarely need to be replaced, sprinkler system solenoids do occasionally miscarry. Replacing them is quick and easy. Be sure the controller is currently under off point( you don’t need to shut off the strength) and the ocean valves on the backflow machine are turned off. Inside the self-control valve box, remove the wire connectors and disconnect the two wires on the defective sprinkler system solenoid from the common and domain wires. Turn the solenoid counterclockwise to unscrew it from the valve( Photo 1 ). Water will slowly seep out of the valve opening, even with the ocean turned off.

Place a brand-new solenoid in the valve and turn it until it’s finger-tight. Twist the ends of the brand-new solenoid wires onto the same common and arena wires that the old-fashioned solenoid was attached to( Photo 2 ). It doesn’t matter which sprinkler system solenoid wire goes to the common and which one goes to the field wire. Twist a brand-new waterproofed wire connector over each connect( Photo 2 ). To make waterproof connections, use a silicone-filled “direct bury” connector( Photo 2A ), available at home centers.

Repair damaged wires If the ohms speaking between the common terminal and nonworking region terminal is too high( it’s sometimes an infinity learning ), the problem is a severed or bad wire to the control valve. If merely one zone isn’t working, the field wire is shattered. If none of the zones in a control valve box is working, the common wire is damaged, although the field wires could also be bad.

To find a bad wire, bypass each in turn by temporarily substituting a 14 -gauge wire for the original that “youre running” above floor. Make the wire connections with the controller turn out. Then turn the controller back on. Exam the field wire first. If the zone turns on, the old-fashioned subject wire is bad. Replace it with an 18 -gauge wire rated for underground burial. Bury the wire at the least 8 in. underground. Follow the same procedure to test the common wire.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start–you’ll save hour and frustration. 4-in-1 screwdriverHacksawSlip seam pliersSpadeWire stripper/ cutter You’ll likewise need a multimeter.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trip-ups by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list. Band clampsReplacement chiefs and other partsTubing repair partsWaterproof wire connectors

Read more: familyhandyman.com

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