Florida Landscape Doctor

Irrigation Troubleshooting

Irrigation troubleshooting

One of the problems homeowners have is coming home after work and the irrigation system is still running. The homeowner goes to the irrigation timer and turns off the clock and looks in the yard and the irrigation system is still on. He goes back to the timer and unplugs it from the wall and finds out the irrigation is still on. Stress starts to build and he goes back to the timer and pulls out the battery backup and the irrigation continues to run.

Frantically he goes inside, looks for the phone book, turns to the irrigation contractors section and starts dialing. Call after call recorders come on to leave a message. He calls the water department and they say to call an irrigation contractor or plumber. What is he to do now? The water continues to run into the street while the lawn continues to get saturated after ten hours of watering. Nine of it was while he was at work. Take a deep breath. Walk around the yard, find your back flow valve, and turn it off. You will still have water to your home but now have turned off the irrigation system while you wait for the irrigation contractor to come. Go back to the clock, put the battery back in, plug your timer back in, and patiently wait for the repair man.

One of the problems with irrigation systems is that the homeowners turn the system off totally during the rainy seasons. This is where problems begin to happen. As your system begins to age, like our bodies, deteriorates and dries out. In the irrigation system you have an electric valve for each zone. With this electric valve you have a solenoid that activates a diaphragm. This diaphragm is what dries out over time. It will crack, and leak causing the water pressure to not be able to build and close off the valve for the water to start or stop. This is why you also cannot get the water to come on at times due to this valve not functioning correctly. When you leave your irrigation system off for a while, this diaphragm can dry out. It is best to operate your system on a regular basis but with the time cut back. If you have a complete system, you will have a rain sensor that will keep the water off during the rainy seasons, but will allow it to work when needed. It works off of moisture levels. You can adjust the rain sensor.

Also what can happen to make your irrigation system stay stuck on is when pebbles get caught in the diaphragm and won’t allow the water pressure to build to allow the valve to shut off or come on. With this problem as with a dry diaphragm the valve will have to be repaired or replaced. Repairing could be as simple as opening the valve to clean out the pebbles or replacing the bad diaphragm. This needs to be done by a professional.

Don’t fret, all you needed anyway was to get the water off until a contractor could come out to make the repairs. And you did that. Good luck.  See ya next month. The Landscape Doctor

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