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SunCoLawns

Advanced Member

Posts: 111

Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA

11

Tuesday, September 22nd 2015, 3:54pm

It is not a good idea to switch out the rubber between old and new diaphragms. Those older diaphragms are all plastic and will eventually fail and the valve will not work at all. Plus you will have parts of the old diaphragm rattling around in your main which could eventually foul other valves and cause them to fail. It sounds like you have an issue with water pressure. Is it possible you have a valve stuck open, or a broken main somewhere.

Beerdude

Unregistered

12

Wednesday, September 23rd 2015, 7:11am

I bought a couple of the new valves and will try to switch them out.

I admit a break in a pipe could cause the diffuse low pressure but I know for a fact that I'm not losing any water when my system is idle by watching my water meter which shows zero flow. When I have the sprinklers all set to off via the control box (and the main sprinkler valve is open), no water is flowing. Unless my understanding of the plumbing is wrong and it's possible for such a leak to only leak when I have turned on any one of my zones?

Could I have some debris in the main line that is affecting all zones? Don't see how it would have gotten there.

SunCoLawns

Advanced Member

Posts: 111

Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA

13

Wednesday, September 23rd 2015, 7:59am

If your backflow is leaking when the system runs, any blockage would have to be before there. Maybe a valve not open all the way? Have you checked the valves on the house main before and after the meter? Also, sometimes the check valve inside the PVB will slip out of place and it will not open all the way. If you remove the poppet and bonnet you can look down inside and see if everything looks like it is place.

Beerdude

Unregistered

14

Friday, September 25th 2015, 2:37pm

A bit confused by the statement: "If your back flow is leaking when the system runs, any blockage would have to be before there." Couldn't it be due to blockage at the sprinkler heads causing the water to flow backwards and out the PVB?

Update:
I installed the two new diaphragms (rubber and plastic and all) in both the sprinkler heads I had opened. No change. There is still no leaking from the valves with all the sprinklers all turned off (as there had been before), but the system still doesn't run correctly.

BUT I discovered something new which I hope will help figure it out. I cycled through each zone individually to watch what happened. When the two zones controlled by the two altered sprinklers were turned on individually, the PVB was spewing water all over. The other zones seemed to have very low flow through their sprinkler heads, but there was *no* PVB leak when any of them were turned on.

This seems to STRONGLY implicate the two valves I played with, but I don't see how they should have any effect on the other valves when the supposedly defective ones aren't even turned on. Please explain to me how it can explain all of this and I can get away with just replacing those two sprinkler heads and call it a day!

My next though would be to switch out the bonnet and poppet of the PVB, though my discovery today leads me to question if this would be helpful.

Few additional questions:
1. I suppose it could be the wiring that is faulty since it's pretty old and probably not properly water-proofed, in which case I'd like to try to manually turn on each valve and see what happens. The problem is I'm not sure how far open to unscrew the bleeder screw to do it so I can expect the sprinkler to be at full pressure. Thoughts?

2. I tried playing with the flow control valves on these two sprinklers. Should I turn them all the way clockwise or counterclockwise to maximize water pressure? Would the flow control valve setting on each valve be bypassed by opening the bleeder screw?

Thanks again!

Here is a picture. The two cleaned off valves in the middle are the ones I played with (presumably Irritrol 205s).


Beerdude

Unregistered

15

Friday, September 25th 2015, 3:59pm

Okay, it is official, I'm an idiot. It's fixed.

To all those who told me to make sure all valves were open, kudos to you.

Here's what happened. The first time my sprinklers were leaking (>30,000 gallons lost) I was frantic and went into the basement to turn off the water main. Except there were three knobs/valves. The first one (closer to the street) I just kept turning and turning and turning but it wouldn't tighten all the way. (I later discovered another water main knob that did open and close fully, and figured that was the only functioning one). Then I saw the sprinkler valve and turned that one instead, which shut off the sprinklers, and I left it alone for the time being. Later when trying to play with the valves, I turned the sprinkler main valve back on.

When I was back down there today, I realized that that I hadn't touched that water main knob since my first day as a homeowner, and I proceeded to open it all the way. Went back upstairs, and all zones working full pressure! While I wouldn't say my sinks were low pressure before, they now really turn on with high pressure.

Sorry for wasting everyone's time (including hours and hours and hours of mine) for such a bone-headed move!

Cheers.

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,305

Location: USA

16

Saturday, September 26th 2015, 1:33am

Well you learned one thing. The sprinkler guy you hired is incompetent. I hope he didn't charge you much to do nothing.

Just chalk this one up to a learning experience. You know quite a bit more now about your sprinkler system than you did a couple weeks ago.

Beerdude

Unregistered

17

Saturday, September 26th 2015, 7:47am

This is true. Fortunately since I "inherited" the sprinkler system they gave me a complimentary consultation for it. The only useful information I got was the model of the valve. I was worried all along that after paying them ~$750 to change all my sprinkler valves it would still be broken and I'd have to pay for even more labor (+/- parts) to fix the real problem.

I cycled the zones with my control box programming last night, and admit it woke me up and I couldn't sleep for about an hour fearing that it was leaking from the PVB and drowning my foundation!

Any thoughts for what I can do to the valve box to make it so it's not prone to flooding with muddy water? (Just thinking forward to when they break again next year.) Seems like a hard task considering they are sitting in the soil.

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 5,287

Location: Metro NYC

18

Saturday, September 26th 2015, 8:07am

Do you even have a valve box with a cover? The photos aren't showing it. The ideal is for all the dirt next to the valve plumbing to be dug away, to at least six inches beneath all the plumbing, so that valve boxes can be fitted around the valves.

Beerdude

Unregistered

19

Saturday, September 26th 2015, 5:10pm

Yes there is a cover but when it rains I don't know how effective it will be. I'll try to clear six inches to minimize flooding risk.

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 5,287

Location: Metro NYC

20

Saturday, September 26th 2015, 7:50pm

You may have only a 'shallow' valve box, which is a corruption of the original valve box concept. A true 'standard' valve box is an open-bottomed box that is 12 inches high, so if your valves are half a foot deep, a standard box encloses them with clearance all around, and room enough to do service on them.

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