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Old 09-23-2015, 07:47 AM   #1
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One zone of my irrigation system not popping up all the way


I have a five zone sprinkler system and one of the zones (zone 5) seems to have a pressure problem because the heads on the sprinklers either do not pop up, or don't pop up all the way. This is the only zone that uses the spray heads, as opposed to the rotary type heads. There are four heads on this zone.

I replaced each of the sprinkler heads last night, and the problem remains. I wanted to check the valves attached to the manifold because I thought maybe the valve isn't opening all the way, but I can't find the manifold box. I'll check when I got home tonight and hopefully it's light out.

Other than that, any suggestions on what to try? It almost seems like there is not enough pressure to push the heads up, but there is plenty of pressure on the other zones. Also, if I manually force them up (usually by pumping up and down on one of the heads while the zone is on), they spray just fine. It's just trying to get them to pop up.

Thanks,

Kevin
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:07 AM   #2
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Zone valve could be an issue. Hole in piping could be another. Have you done ant planting recently?
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:14 AM   #3
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I just overseeded and fertilized, but this has been a problem all summer. I really thought one of the heads was bad, but apparently that wasn't the problem.

Any suggestions on finding the manifold box? From what I've read online, there is no really easy way to do it without special equipment. Can I just have someone manually turn the zone off and on while I walk around the yard and listen for the solinoid clicking?
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ler0y Jenkins View Post
I just overseeded and fertilized, but this has been a problem all summer. I really thought one of the heads was bad, but apparently that wasn't the problem.

Any suggestions on finding the manifold box? From what I've read online, there is no really easy way to do it without special equipment. Can I just have someone manually turn the zone off and on while I walk around the yard and listen for the solinoid clicking?
Every box I've ever seen is visible as it's cover is surface mounted. Who blows out the system every Fall? The guy opens the zones one at a time from the box with the manifold in it.
You should be able to identify the zone from the head locations. If you walk the zone line are there any soggy spots? If there's a hole in the pipe or a failed clamp, you should see the evidence on the surface.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:39 AM   #5
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I think my boxes are buried. I just overseeded and as part of that process, I basically scalped my entire lawn with my ride-on mower and I did not see any boxes. I think the manifold box may be under landscaping mulch. I do have a guy that blows it out, but I've used different companies in the past. I thought about contacting them, but I doubt they would remember my house specifically, since they probably do hundreds of houses each year. I suspect they just use a special tool to locate the box that I just don't have access to.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:50 AM   #6
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Many boxes are next to the house. Find the water pipe that exits the building and goes into the ground. It might be in that general area.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:57 AM   #7
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Thanks... I'll start looking there.
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:45 AM   #8
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Here's a picture of my yard with the sprinkler zones... Zone 5 is the problematic zone. After looking at the layout, it occurred to me that the manifold box (if it is one box for all of the valves) is probably in the area indicated by the light-purple box, since the water comes out there and the pipes for each of the zone could logically branch out from there.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ler0y Jenkins View Post
Here's a picture of my yard with the sprinkler zones... Zone 5 is the problematic zone. After looking at the layout, it occurred to me that the manifold box (if it is one box for all of the valves) is probably in the area indicated by the light-purple box, since the water comes out there and the pipes for each of the zone could logically branch out from there.
Starting there would be my choice. Light excavation around there should discover it. Every year it's exposed and used. It can't be that hidden if the sprinkler guy can find it.
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:24 PM   #10
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Ok... I found the manifold box right by where the water comes out of the house. I turned the valve manually and it opened up, but the zone did the same thing. This leads me to believe it is not the solinoid or anything electrical. I suppose the valve could be bad, but I have no idea how I would replace it. When I take the lid off the box, it looks like a bunch of dirt with two solidoids sticking out and a bunch of wires.

I also excavated a wet spot near the problematic zone, but I found no evidence of a leak. I found the pipe running through and when I ran the zone, there was no water getting in the excavation. I think the wet spot is from the other zone that drains to that area when the zone turns off.

I did find evidence of a small leak at the edge of one of my flower beds, but it doesn't look like anything major. I think if my problem was caused by a leak somewhere, the leak would have to be pretty substantial to cause such a loss of pressure.

Any suggestions on where I should go from here?
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:48 PM   #11
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You don't think it's a leak and you don't think it's the control valve. Sort of running out of options.
Possible clog in the line? I'd try removing all the spray heads and turning on the zone and see what happens. These spray heads have a strainer in them. If they get clogged, the water won't get through to the head to pop it up.
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:15 PM   #12
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Ok, I've spent more time on this than I ever wanted to... Where to start... I excavated the irrigation pipe from where it makes the bend at the back right hand corner of my house, all the way to the fence on the side yard... No leaks. There was a small dripping leak at the turn, where someone had patched the pipe previously. I repaired that, but the problem remains.

I also plugged all of the sprinkler heads on that zone, except one, which I left off. I was told by a sprinkler guy that with three out of four heads capped, the water should come out of the one that's not capped and shoot six to eight feet high.

When I did it, the water only gushed out of the hole in the ground, but did not shoot even six inches in the air. I think that means I have a pressure problem.

I also capped all but one head, and that head popped up fine. I then added another head, and two popped up fine, but when I added the third head, the pressure wasn't sufficient to pop up the heads.

Any suggestions? At this point, it appears to be a problem with either the valve, or the line from the valve to the right-hand bend in the back corner of my lawn. Is there any way to tell if the valve is bad? I can't imagine that there is a leak in the line because the area where the leak would have to be is always dry and I've never noticed any signs of a leak. Also, it seems the leak would have to be pretty substantial to cause such a lose of pressure.

Anyway, please help. Thanks,

Kevin
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Old 09-26-2015, 07:14 PM   #13
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Have you tried opening the valve manually. How you do it will depend upon the brand. Some you rotate the solenoid, some have a knob. You could also take the valve apart and look for a debris. (Turn off the water first).
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Old 09-26-2015, 07:31 PM   #14
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Yeah, I've been switching it on by hand... problem remains. I watched a video on youtube and apparently you can change the valve by just replacing the top and the "guts" with a new one (as opposed to digging up the entire assembly). I just ordered a new one from HD... I'm going to try tomorrow. If I can rule out the valve, then it will have to be a leak or clog somewhere in the line.
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Old 09-27-2015, 01:31 PM   #15
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I give up... I'm calling a sprinkler company tomorrow to come out and look at it. I excavated the whole valve assembly and tried to replace just the top and the insides, but I couldn't get the damn top off. It is the jar type of valve, but no matter what I tried, it would not budge. I even used a screw driver and hammer, but it wouldn't move.

I hate sprinklers.
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