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New Member


Thursday, March 3rd 2011, 12:30pm

inherited old rainbird system ???

our house had a DIY Rainbird system put in by the previous owner back in the 90s. I will have to rewire the system, most have been cut. The anti siphon valaves are the old APAS type. How can I go about checking to see if the system even works or how to flush it out?? I am pretty mechanically inclined but a little "hand up" in the right direction is always nice.

Central Irrigation

Supreme Member

Posts: 371

Location: Central Minnesota


Thursday, March 3rd 2011, 2:49pm

Turn the water on and see what happens! The downside is that any leaks you find should be fixed in order to see other leaks down stream. Best case scenario: Your mainline and valves hold and operate, allowing you to operate each individual zone. I'm assuming you have a valve setup on the side of your house in which the zone valves are above ground level?

Most anti-siphon valves have a manual on/off setting just below the valve selonoid. If the mainline holds, turn the on/off until you hear water flushing through the valve. Then, go and check where the water is going.

It gets tricky if you run into a lot of problems with this system. Problems can quickly add expense to a system that may not even be up to standard. I suggest being careful as to the amt. of money spent on repairs to a DIY system. I've seen some bad ones in my day, and have suggested numerous times that a homeowner is money ahead disregarding the old system and installing a properly designed new one. Too many times have I spent hours fixing leaks and repairing valves just to find out that the system is under-pressured or heads are spaced too far apart. All of which can be fixed, but would cost the same as a new system with a 5 year warranty.

With that said, some components like the controller and heads could be reused. A controller can easily be tested by using a multimeter to determine if it will put out the power to each zone. Plug it in and run it as if the system were useable. See if it does anything "squirrely" and check to see that each zone puts out the 24-26V it should.

As for flushing out the system, once the system is operational, unscrew the last head of each zone and run the water through each individual zone one at a time. I try to start with zones closest to the water source and work my way out.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Central Irrigation" (Mar 3rd 2011, 2:57pm)


New Member


Thursday, March 3rd 2011, 3:09pm

thanks for that...makes sense. the valves will work without the electrical lines connected, correct? (completely manual). And in finding out that the valves do not "hold" then I shld probably replace it with new updated ones right? I am trying to save money by repairing vs. replacing as much as possible.

Central Irrigation

Supreme Member

Posts: 371

Location: Central Minnesota


Thursday, March 3rd 2011, 6:12pm

Yes they will work manually with no wires attached. If you cannot find a Manual on/off, then unscrewing the selonoid partially will work also. Good Luck! Hope the wiring is the only thing busted! Without knowing the model numbers of the valves, it's hard to say if repairing them is a good option. Being that they are from the 90's, I would imagine you could find repair parts for them.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,287

Location: Metro NYC


Saturday, March 5th 2011, 11:30am

The old antisyphon valves could be a continuing problem - if so, you could either cut in a new manifold of modern valves, or maybe replace only the operator portion of the old valves.



Posts: 2,306

Location: USA


Saturday, March 5th 2011, 1:54pm

Good luck with that model valve. They're nutorious for breaking when you turn them on manually. They'll stick on and wont shut off. Especially the older ones.

I know you're trying to save money but you might have to change the valves.

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