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24 Jun 2022

Fixing Sprinkler Valves

Fixing Sprinkler Valves

 
 

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Overview

Automatic sprinkler valves are the electrically activated valves that control the flow of water to different zones in a sprinkler system. When issues arise in a sprinkler zone, it's almost always a problem with the sprinkler valve. The automatic sprinkler valve has 2 broad types of issues: mechanical and electrical. Sprinkler Timers and the automatic timer are tied together via wires. The electrical part on the sprinkler valve is called the solenoid.

The important mechanical parts are the diaphragm, flow control, and the bleeder valve. The housing contains all the parts.

 
 

Solenoids

picture of sprinkler valves with arrows pointing to solenoid  

Solenoids are typically cylinders that screw into the top of automatic valves. They have a metal rod that extends and retracts, controlling flow of water through a sprinkler zone.

When a sprinkler solenoid is beginning to fail, the reliability of the valve will begin to falter. Zones will not turn on reliably, not turn off reliably, and in some cases not turn on at all unless manually actuated.

To manually activate a sprinkler solenoid, take it and rotate it counter-clockwise. This will pull the rod out enough to allow water to flow through the valve. If the water does not go through a valve after manually actuating, then the problem is almost certainly not with the solenoid, and you should look into water pressure, potential pipe breaks, or even other parts in a valve.

 

Valve Diaphragm

sprinkler diaphragm  

The diaphragm is a rubber piece that wraps around the housing. This piece of rubber basically seals everything together. When dirt or debris gets in the rubber seal, it can prevent the diaphragm from sealing shut, so a sprinkler zone may fail to turn off.

When the rubber seal is starting to get blocked off, you may not be able to get the debris to wriggle loose by shaking the body of the valve. In this case, it may not even be debris, it could be a rotten or torn diaphragm. Either way, a valve can be torn apart and cleaned out. When taking apart a valve to clean and check the diaphragm, be careful to keep track of what parts and screws go where.

Take apart the valve, clean each part, and carefully put everything back together. Hopefully this solves any problems in a valve!

Flow Control Valve

flow control valve in a system  

The flow control valve is pretty self-explanatory: It controls the flow of water throught the valve. Most often, this valve is just left wide open, but can be adjusted if there is too much pressure working its way through the system. The flow control (as well as the bleeder valve) can be used to knock some dirt and debris loose from the sprinkler valve. If you're having issues with a zone htat won't turn off and you're suspicious that it could be in your valve, tightening the flow control valve all the way and then loosening it can help to knock dirt out of the diaphragm and get your valve functioning normally again.

If you have a lot of overspray or misting coming out of a sprinkler zone, it could help to adjust the flow control to restrict water flow to an amount where there's no misting.

 

Bleeder Valve

bleeder valve  

The bleeder valve on a sprinkler valve is really important, especially when winterizing a sprinkler system. A bleeder valve is a small valve that is designed to relieve pressure from the valve. When there is a lot of pressure (for example, when water is freezing in a sprinkler pipe), a blleder valve can be used to help relieve some pressure from the valve body, hopefully preventing catastrophic damage such as a cracked valve body. These need to be tightened each time a sprinkler system is started up in the spring, and can be opened up every year when a system is winterized.

 

Conclusion

While sprinkler valves have a lot of moving parts to them, and are impressive pieces of engineering in a sprinkler system, most of the time they aren't that difficult to fix if you know what you're doing. If you've looked at all the different pieces in the sprinkler valve but you haven't fixed it, make sure it's actually the sprinkler valve and not a pipe that's burst, or a wiring issue. If worst comes to worst with a sprikler valve, they're not too terribly difficult to replace, you just need to make sure you put the replacement valve in facing the correct direction.

If you're not sure if you can find the problem in your sprinkler system or you're worried about causing further damage to your system, don't hesitate to call your nearest Sprinkler Master. You can find the closest Sprinkler Master branch by clicking HERE

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16 Jun 2022

Sprinkler Timer

 

What Are Sprinkler Timers?

Sprinkler Timers (sometimes called controllers) are devices that are used to control sprinkler systems. THey control when and how often individual sprinkler zones in a sprinkler system should come on. Older timers are electronic, and can have complicated push-button interfaces. Newer "Smart" timers can be controlled via a smartphone using a Wifi connection or Bluetooth. Some of these newer timers, such as the B-Hyve from Orbit do not have a user interface on the unit itself, and require a device such as a phone or tablet in order for a user to interface with the timer.

Most timers operate using off-the-wall power as an input (120v in the U.S.A.). The signal sent out is usually an alternating current (A.C.) 24v signal. This signal opens up the solenoid on the other end of the wires.

Different Types of Sprinkler Timers

Most brands of sprinklers also manufacture and sell sprinkler timers. The timers that are most common right now are older electronic timers with button interfaces.

dumb sprinkler timer

As well as smart timers, with phone and device interfaces. These two types of timers make up the vast majority of sprinkler timers in systems. Sometimes, there can be older, more mechanical control boxes that have to be activated manually by hand in order to turn a zone on or off. But nowadays these are quite rare to come across, and should be upgraded to an electrical system for ease of use and maintenance.

smart timer

How to Program Sprinkler Timers

Sprinkler timers vary widely in how programming should be done. In short, you should consult your owner's manual to learn how to program your specific timer. In many areas, there is also a mandatory water restriction in place due to drought. Utah, for example, follows the Slow the Flow initaitive. Most of the time, local watering guidance and restrictions should give you a fairly good idea of how often and how much you should water your lawns.

The amount you water your plants and lawn also depends on a few factors, such as soil type, slope of your landscaping, shade, percentage of rainfall that reaches the area, and a few others. That is one of the biggest advantages to having a system with a smart timer, as they automatically calculate how often you should water, and tell you those recommendations. If you don't have a smart timer in your system, we recommend calling your local experts to help you upgrade to a smart timer. These smart timers will also automatically do a rain delay, further increasing your water efficiency and grass watering, all without any input from you.

If you're still using an older button or dial interfaced timer, programming your systems to run on an A/B cycle will help keep things separate. Make sure to monitor how green your grass is staying, and watch for excess runoff coming off your lawn. Ultimately you can change your watering to perfectly match your lawn's needs.

On older timers that don't have a "smart water" system, make sure you do a rain delay as well. This helps prevent overwatering, and should be done every time there's rain in the foreccast, and in some cases even when there is just high humidity.

Still need help with your sprinkler system? Find your nearest Sprinkler Master to come and help!

16 Jun 2022

Repair PVC Pipe

What is PVC Pipe?

 

PVC pipe is the hard thick white plastic pipe used to carry water throughout a sprinkler system. Make sure you know what size PVC pipe youíre repairing. The most common size is either 1 inch or ĺ inches for sprinkler systems, but can often be as small as a half inch or as large as and and a half inches.†

 

Problems with PVC:

 

PVC is stiff, and brittle. It holds pressure in the system, so if you notice a particularly wet spot in your lawn or a random loss of pressure in a certain zone, you probably have a leak in a PVC line. The best way to find a broken pipe is to look in your yard for green spots that donít have a sprinkler head right there.†

 

How to Repair PVC:

 

Parts used in PVC repair:

To repair a damaged PVC pipe, repairs can be made with PVC extensions in tight areas that are difficult to reach around, or a PVC union if there isnít enough room for a PVC extension or slip fix. PVC unions are usually harder to use, because they have to have the perfect amount of space in the pipe in order for both parts of the union to match up and screw together properly.†

 

Remove the broken section

To repair the damaged sprinkler pipe, if itís punctured or cracked, dig down to the pipe, and dig more than enough room around the entire pipe, on top, on bottom, and on both sides. You need enough room to move around. Once youíve dug out enough room, make sure you take good sharp pipe cutters, and cut a straight, clean new edge onto the pipe on both ends. Take a clean rag or cloth and clean and dry the inside and outside of the pipe on the new cut. This will allow the glue to create a much more solid and clean seal and reduce chances of leakage.†

 

Repairing the PVC Pipe

Now that youíve cut out the damaged part of the PVC pipe, itís time to fix the pipe. Take the dry, clean sides of the pipe that youíre patching, and put on PVC primer to clean the pipe even more and help bond the glue to the pipe. After priming both the fitting AND the pipe, you will need to apply PVC glue to the fitting and the pipe as well. Follow the directions on the primer and glue bottles as far as usage goes. Make sure you give your pipe and fittings enough time to cure before testing, and make sure you test before you bury the new fix.

 

 

To learn more about sprinkler repair and the services Sprinkler Master offers, visit our homepage or contact us!

20 Apr 2022

How To Make a Lawn Green

How to help your lawn stay green

Keeping lawns green can be a struggle, no matter what part of the country you're in. And it can be hard to find reliable ways of helping your lawn. But Sprinkler Master is here to help! We have years of experience working with sprinklers and lawns, and we've learned some things about sprinkler systems and how they work with lawns.

We have branches in many states, and have done research and looked at studies to discover the best way to keep your lawn green.

Believe it or not, watering your lawn less can actually help your grass stay greener, longer. Watering the top of your lawn less encourages your grass to grow roots deeper into the soil, creating more resiliant grass. This helps the grass become much more efficient at making use of the water that it's given, and when you water properly, the moisture will saok into the soil deeper, where it's less likely to evaporate before the grass can soak it up.

To learn more about how to keep your lawn green throughout the year, click HERE or call your local Sprinkler Master to get help with your sprinklers!

12 Nov 2021

Christmas Light Installation Process

Phone text to set up estimate

1. Call or text for a free Christmas light installation cost estimate.

Give Lighting Master a holler so we can begin work on your free estimate!

2. Review Christmas light installation estimate

We work with you to create your holiday light dreams- all while keeping your budget in mind. We will also create a plan for things like automatic timer set-up and light take-down.

Estimate for Christmas light installation on home
Relax and enjoy Christmas Light Installation

3. Sit back and enjoy!

Let us take care of the hassle of lighting up your home for the holidays. Relax and enjoy the holidays this season!

4. We install professional-grade LEDs

We install commercial-grade supplies and materials to ensure durability and superior appearance. By using C7 LED light bulbs, you might even save a little on your lighting bill.

Sketch of Davis County Utah Christmas light install
Automatic holiday light timer sketch

5. We set automatic timers

We ensure that your Christmas seasonal lights are completely hassle free by offering automatic timers to control when lights turn on and off. You’ll never have to remember whether you’ve flipped a switch or go out into the freezing weather to connect a plug again.

6. We Fix Any Problems

One of the greatest problems with hanging your own Christmas lights is that you have to deal with getting lights up and running. Between broken light bulbs, finding electrical shortages and issues, and heading to the local hardware store three different times to get supplies that you purchased last year, it’s more headache than savings.† We guarantee that any broken bulbs or problems will be fixed, just give us a call!

Broken lightbulb from Christmas lights
Light Take-down is included sketch

7. We Do Take Down

There is a reason why many of your neighbors wait until May to take their Christmas lights down. Getting out in the cold weather of late winter or early spring is difficult for everyone. You can be sure your home won’t be the eyesore on the block that still has Christmas lights up for Easter. We provide light removal at no extra charge and always guarantee your lights will be gone before you know it. No need to waste a New Year’s Resolution on decoration removal!

8. We Pack and Store

No more tangled lines or storage issues, we carefully pack and store the lights for you!

Box for storing Christmas lights

9. Everything Will be Ready for Next Year!

Let us handle everything and your lights and set-up will be ready and waiting for next year. Plus, returning customers get a discount! What more could you ask for?