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faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

1

Wednesday, October 28th 2009, 9:48pm

Zones leaking a small amount of water constantly from last rotor head in line?

Hello all.
I replaced my 4 zone valves with new ones from here about a year or so ago. I just returned down here at the Florida home to find that 3 out of the four zones I have seem to be leaking a constant small amount of water at the last rotor head, generally at the lowest point of each zone.

It's late now, but tomorrow I'll try shutting off each zone to see if the water stops. I do not think this is just residual water from the line after it shuts down.....I think that somehow the zone(s) are not shutting off quite all the way, allowing the zone to trickle a little water constantly....enough so that the last head in the line at the lowest point is constantly leaking a small amount of water. It may not look like much, but over time I'm sure it is adding a good extra amount to my water bill. Water is quite expensive here.......that is why when we are down here twice a year I'm always checking my sprinkler systems.

You all have been such good help in the past. What would you recommend I do next? Thank you in advance for your good help.

Frank
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

2

Wednesday, October 28th 2009, 9:57pm

Sorry......I should have mentioned that the zone valves are irritrol 1" anti siphon valves bought about a year or two ago.

I could replace the rotor head(s) if needed, but some of them are new, and it seems strange that only the last one or two in each zone would be leaking. I do not think this is just residual water...it is a constant small flow. How do I check the valve to see if it is leaking, and how do I fix the valves if they are indeed leaking?

Thank you. Frank.
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,416

Location: USA

3

Wednesday, October 28th 2009, 10:47pm

Easy pickings Frank. The water can't get to the sprinklers without getting past the valve. No doubt some debris is either stuck in the seat washer part of the diaphram or there are pits from debris. Probably grains of sand or tiny pebbles. There must be a lot of it if 3 valves involved. Good bet all four of the diaphragms need replacing. Take the bonnets off. Check the diaphragms. Flush the manifold. If there isn't enough pressure to flush it then reinstall the first three bonnets. Flush from the last valve on the manifold. Flush from any near bye hose bib. Check the seats of the valve bodies. Look for pits. Sand paper can help salvage a valve with a pit mark in the seat.

I find that plumbers will get debris in the main line. That's usually the cause. Sometimes it's dirty city water. A filter might be in order.

faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

4

Thursday, October 29th 2009, 8:21am

Thank you MrFixit!

I appreciate the quick and kind help. Luckily, I kept the old valves that I replaced. I'll get an education taking apart one of those so I learn what you are saying before touching the new ones.

Do you really think diaphragms could go bad in less than 2 years? I'll do what you say and report back. Again, I thank you and this forum for the many times you all were and are helpful. 2 years ago I did not know what a sprinkler system was. Then I bought this Florida home, and since I've replaced rotors, repaired broken pipes, replaced and moved all the zone valves, worked on the rain sensor, etc,etc. I have a supply of new rotors, etc that I bought here so I do not need to run to the hardware store......I'd rather buy here.

Thanks again! Frank
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

5

Friday, October 30th 2009, 3:23pm

Well, i'm embarrassed to say I do not have a deep knowledge of the inner workings (yet) of the zone valves......but I did just take apart one of the old valves, (a Richdell) to get a look. This "old" valve looks almost exactly like my new irritol valves I installed in December of 2007, 22 months ago.

There are two sides. One side just unscrews, and inside there is just an o-ring and t small plunger type stopper with a long thin rod that goes into the top that unscrews.

The other side is screwed together with 8 screws. Taking them off and taking off the top part revealed a spring with a long needle going through a diaphragm. On the bottom of that diaphragm there is another round ring of rubber that seats on the bottom body of the valve.

Between them I believe is the solenoid, that screws on. inside that is a small spring loaded plunger. The only difference I can see between my old richdell valve and the new ones is that the solonoid sits higher on the new one, and there is a small "on-off'" lever between the solenoid and the valve body on the new one. This lever does not seem to do anything.

So, my question is, am I correct in assuming I should check the diaphragm on the side that is held together by the 8 screws? If I do not find anything like sand, etc, should I unscrew the other side and check that plunger? Can
I buy from sprinkler warehouse just the diaphragms? Should they go bad in this little time?

Luckily, I installed a sprinkler shut off valve when I installed these valves......they never had one before. When I did all of the plumbing, I was careful not to get any sand/dirt in the line, but I suppose it could have gotten there somehow. I did shut off the sprinkler shutoff, and of course, all rotors stopped leaking.

If you can be so kind now in just telling me if I'm on the right track I'd appreciate it. I just was not sure if you meant the side that unscrews with the plunger, or the real diaphragm unit that was under the eight screws.

I'll check with the sprinkler warehouse for those diaphragms. Thanks again for all the help!!

Frank
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

6

Friday, October 30th 2009, 3:43pm

I just checked sprinkler warehouse under replacement valve parts, and they only list RainBird, Hunter, and Weathermatic.......not Irrittrol. Why would they sell valves and not the parts? Is Irritrol really hunter or rainbird?

Thanks, Frank
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,416

Location: USA

7

Friday, October 30th 2009, 7:43pm

Irritrol is owned by Toro.

Frank, a diaphragm can be ruined the first time you use the valve. I had to replace three diaphragms this past Monday that I'd installed a week before. I flushed the heck out of the manifold and pebbles were still getting in. Turns out she had a plumber work on a hose bib not long before. It's important to have a clean water supply.

Now the part you need to inspect is the part you described as "On the bottom of that diaphragm there is another round ring of rubber that seats on the bottom body of the valve." Look for pits or embedded debris. Also check what you described as "that seats on the bottom body of the valve." See if the plastic seat is damaged at all.


Frank I can think of one more thing. That part you said was higher on the valve. The part that turns. If that's not off all the way there might be some leakage. You might take the solenoid off and make sure the part under it is snug. Don't over do it.

If you can't find something you need try calling to see if they'll get it for you.

1-866-290-0815








This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "mrfixit" (Oct 30th 2009, 7:49pm)


faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

8

Friday, October 30th 2009, 8:20pm

Dear MrFixit,
Thank you very much for your help.
I plan on inspecting all of those valves tomorrow.
Funny, the old valves were over 10 years old with no problems. I just replaced them 22 months ago because I'm only down here a few times a year, and thought it was a good idea.

I'll do a good inspection tomorrow, and if needed, I'll buy new diaphragms. Based on what you told me, I might just call anyway and order new ones....

Thanks! Frank
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

9

Saturday, October 31st 2009, 5:53pm

Well, I started today working on the system. My zone #2 was the worse, so I took the valve apart and cleaned it all, checking the diaphragm, etc. I think the problem with that zone lies with the solenoid. I noticed that with the solenoid turned all the way down on the valve, nothing would flow on that zone. turning it "open" a bit allowed the water to flow. Putting it right where it was allowed water to flow, but when I turned the zone off at the controller, the water kept spraying......so the solenoid will not turn the valve off or on. I switched solenoids with another zone, and then it worked, so it seems to need a new solenoid for zone #2.

I found some other problems, like a leaking rotor and two pipe breaks, made by a landscaper cutting a pipe when trimming. The pipe seems to be much too shallow when it was installed 15 years ago. I'll fix these other things tomorrow and continue to work on the valves and try to get a clearer picture of what I then will need. Monday I'll call the warehouse.

One thing about these valves......the solenoid has an "on/off" lever that hits the main valve stem if you try to get the solenoid off. there seems to be no way to unscrew the solenoid off without cutting off that "on/off" lever. My old valves did not have this lever, so you could easily unscrew the solenoid off.

My question is, where is the proper setting for the solenoid on the valve? If you screw it all the way on, they do not seem to always work. If you "Open" them a bit, water will flow, but sometimes the water then does not turn off when you turn off the zone at the controller. Where should the solenoid be set at?

Thanks! Frank
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

faithfulfrank

Advanced Member

Posts: 58

Location: USA

10

Sunday, November 1st 2009, 3:51pm

Well, I spent most of the afternoon working on the system. I repaired two pipe breaks caused by the landscapers, and took apart all four zone valves. I also replaced a couple of rotors. Everything looked fine with the zone valve parts, no obvious breaks, etc, but I cleaned up all the diaphragms, etc.

All the solenoids seem to work fine now....I just have one zone that seems to be leaking. (A few of the other ones are leaking a very little, but not enough I don't believe to be a problem. This one zone is leaking enough to have a trickle go down the street gutter continually.

So I guess that even though all LOOKED ok, I still need a new diaphragm ? Could it be anything else? I'll call them tomorrow and hopefully place an order for the correct parts. I appreciate all the good help. Am I on the right track?, or could it be just a solenoid adjustment?

Thanks, Frank.
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

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