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The last 10 posts

Saturday, May 9th 2009, 9:07pm

by Candance

Another thing to consider if your system is an older system..tree roots over a period
of years will seek out the pipes and can squeeze them off. Not sure how common this is in areas
where they use PVC instead of poly pipe but we see it quite often in the Midwest where poly pipe
is used as opposed to PVC.
Sometimes not always, if that is happening you can stand over the area where the pipe is starting
to get squeezed off and feel the ground rumbling a bit or even hear it. This we see more often in sandy
areas also.
The area we are in is sandy..and far to often if there is a leak the water goes straight down
and it makes it almost impossible to find the leak. Sometimes it is faster and easier to just replace the section of pipe
where you suspect the leak might be.
Good luck to you !

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 5:02pm

by faithfulfrank


Believe it or not, that is exactly what I did after I posted. I thought it had to be a leak because of the low pressure.
I first wiggled each riser, then dug down a bit to see, figuring that in the past whenever I had a break, it was close to a riser. This time no breaks were found. I then capped off each riser with 3/4" female caps. I then turned the zone back on.

All of a sudden, in a place I did not think there were any pipes, I had a bubbling up of water, like Niagara Falls...!
I found the break. Actually, about a foot of pipe was snapped off, and I have NO IDEA where it went. You could tell it had been this way for a long time. I just repaired it, and will turn it back on and test tomorrow.

I learned some good stuff from you good people this time. A pressure gauge is a great tool to diagnose. Wet Boots was's a good tool to own. I did not understand how it would help at first, but then it all fell into place and I understood.

Again, thank you all for your good help. I enjoy learning about sprinkler systems, first, because I now own one, and second, there are many senior citizens in my neighborhood down here who can't seem to get anyone to help them with sprinkler problems. The more I learn the more I can help them.

thanks, Frank D.

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 12:34pm

by mrfixit

Broken pipe

Frank, you have a broken pipe or riser. You ran it for 90 minutes and didn't see flooding. That's a very long time. You'll have to look again. Check the risers first. Wiggle each head while it's running. One may come off in your hand. Sometimes the break is near cement and the water doesn't surface right away or even where you would look. One time I had the water flow under the sidewalk and surface up thru the neighbors driveway some 70 feet away. Sometimes by placing your ear to the cement you can locate the break.

Also you can try turning off the sprinkler heads or cap them off if there's no other option. This will increase the flow to the break helping the water surface and easier to spot.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 11:14am

by faithfulfrank

Ok, now I understand more the reason for the pressure gauge.........DUH. Sorry......I was thinking you wanted me to attach the gauge on each pipe going to each rotor head.

I hooked up the gauge to a hose bib and this is what I have;

Ok, With no sprinklers on and nothing on in the house, I have a pressure of 72.
With nothing on in the house, my readings are per zone;

Zone #1..... 63
Zone #2......62
Zone #4......46

Zone #4 is the bad one that has hardly any water coming out of the heads.

Now I understand how the pressure gauge helps. I'm guessing that since the pressure is so low in zone #4, and the valve is working, water is flowing good without coming out of the heads, indicating a leak, or broken pipe.

Now, I also understand that the leak could be anywhere on zone. Where would you suggest I start digging, I'm I'm correct? Around each of the five heads, especially where a mower could run over one?

I do not want to get ahead of myself.......I'll wait for you experts to let me know what to do next. Thank you for the help.

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 10:41am

by faithfulfrank

Thank you Wet Boots.
I went to both "big box" stores, and then I did just find one at a small hardware store now I do have one.
In our neighborhood, we only have one water meter, and the sprinkler system goes off of the main line before it goes to the house.

I'll put it on a hose bib first to tell you the house pressure, then turn on the different zones and get readings. I'll then take the first rotor head off and put it on that. Because the rest of the heads on that zone will still be open, it won't be a static pressure, but I hope that helps.

Thanks again for your help.

Frank D.

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 10:13am

by Wet_Boots

Even Home Depot has pressure gauges for sale. Connect it to a hose bib, and you can immediately know whether a valve isn't opening all the way, or whether a broken pipe is taking water away from the rest of the zone. (the first instance gives you a higher pressure reading, and the second gives you a lower pressure reading, when compared to normal operating pressure)

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 9:25am

by faithfulfrank

Wetboots, I have no problem buying a pressure gauge. I did find one on the Sprinkler Warehouse website, and I looked around the area stores to see if they had one. I'm only down here for a few weeks, and was hoping I could fix it sooner without waiting for parts.

I just was not sure about the proper way to use it to determine what my problem was. The one on the website states it is a female hose thread. I now see that a 3/4" female hose thread will thread into the same male adapter as what the sprinkler heads screw on to. I will place an order for one today, if not for this problem, then for future ones.

At the risk of sounding stupid, I'm not sure how a pressure gauge will help in this case. There are 5 sprinkler heads on this line. Four rotor heads and one smaller corner (45 degree) sprayer head. The head closest to the zone valve has the least water flowing from it. The others have some spraying, about 4 feet with a very weak stream....not enough to raise the rotor head more then half way.

I checked the zone valve. It is not the zone valve. I unscrewed it and the same amount of water came out of it as the other ones. I even took off the zone valve and replaced it with one of the old ones, and the problem is the same. So, it is not the zone valve. My apologies if that is not the proper way to check it, but without a pressure gauge (I could not find one anywhere around here) it was the easiest way for me to determine weather it was the zone valve. The chance of two zone valves not working is nill, so I'm sure it is not the zone valve.

So, I guess it is in the pipe? Do I have a broken pipe? How will the pressure gauge help me determine where the problem is? I already know there is hardly any pressure at the first rotor, and not much more at the other ones.

I did run that zone for 90 minutes last night hoping I would find a very wet spot somewhere, but I did not.

Thank you for your help. Sorry for the long post.

Frank D.

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 5:16am

by faithfulfrank

Thanks! I'll do that today.

Frank D.

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 4:32am

by Wet_Boots

Buy the damn pressure gauge. You could have taken measurements and pinpointed the problem. Own the tools to do the job.

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 3:56am

by mrfixit

flow control

Hi Frank, I remember seeing pictures of your valves from a past post. You have anti-syphon valves. I believe 2713APR's or 2711APR's. I have two thoughts for you. Number one, check the flow control on the valve. Make sure it's not just simply turned off. Also, instead of cutting the pipe just unscrew the cap of the valve then turn on the valve. That's the front half of the valve. Water should RUSH out of that valve if it's working correctly.