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Old 05-28-2013, 02:11 PM   #1
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Help finding and testing the irrigation system


We just moved into our new house and there are signs that there was an irrigation system. I found this (which I think is for irrigation) and there is an older rain sensor on the deck and what appears to be a timer in the basement. I tried turning these valves and I could hear water but nothing happened. If it's anything like the rest of the house it's been neglected so I'll probably have to do some repairs.

I'm not even sure what components are part of there, where the heads are or if it ever worked.
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Last edited by RyanD; 05-28-2013 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
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Have you found you zone valve manifold? It should be in the ground in a plastic box. It will have the wires running to it from your control in the basement. This is how you will control the different zones.

As far as your backflow preventer goes it looks like you are missing the bell housing that goes on top. You should also have a shut off valve inside the house on the line that goes out to this assembly. Make sure that is open as well.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brockmiera View Post
Have you found you zone valve manifold? It should be in the ground in a plastic box. It will have the wires running to it from your control in the basement. This is how you will control the different zones.

As far as your backflow preventer goes it looks like you are missing the bell housing that goes on top. You should also have a shut off valve inside the house on the line that goes out to this assembly. Make sure that is open as well.
Do I need the bell for this backflow thing? I remember seeing a green lid on the ground next to the side of the house, I'll try to open that when I get home and snap some pictures along with the timer. Thanks.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:07 PM   #4
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Yeah I'm pretty sure if you dont have the top on that open section then the water will just shoot out the top. Snap as many pics as you can and the good folks on here will help you thru it.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:11 PM   #5
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This diagram may help you.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:53 PM   #6
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Okay, this is what I found. I was unable to find a valve inside that turns the water on/off...oh wait, I'll be right back....
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:59 PM   #7
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Found it. Looks like it's still on so I'm guessing it's been full every winter. :-(

edit: I closed it, it was open.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:47 AM   #8
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You're going to need to fix/replace the backflow before you can test the system with water. The first valve on the backflow is closed so water is not getting to the sprinkler valves or pipes. If they were blown out then it the system should be OK. If it wasn't you'll probably have damage from freezing.

The sprinkler valves can be manually operated. Carefully remove the dirt from the valve box so you can see the valves. Some have a knob to open the valve. Others you turn the solenoid. Once you know you have a working system, I would replace the controller and rain sensor. The sensor you have now, doesn't look like the wires are connected and it's probably dry rotted.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:38 AM   #9
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Okay, did I find all the components or am I missing something? I found the part I need for the backflow so I guess I'll get that first. It appears the timer is not even on so I'll have to play with that (maybe just a battery?) and then try to fire this bad boy up.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:50 AM   #10
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I can't tell by the picture if the green and orange wires are connected to the controller. If they are then you have 5 zones and you should have found 5 valves (one zone per color not counting the white wire). Depending upon the size of your property, you may have more than one valve box.

The controller looks like it's missing a fuse directly above the valve wires. I wouldn't invest much time getting it to work. A new one would be better once you know the guts of your system are good.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:36 AM   #11
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And dont buy any of your backflow parts at big box stores. Spend a little extra money at a plumbing supply house and get something thats going to last. Take if from me replacing my third 1/4 turn ball valve!
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