The problem is most likely located in one of the solenoid valves. These valves are usually located in an underground access box outside in the yard. Before you call your irrigation service provider, you might want to take a look inside the access box. The fix could be a very simple one. All modern automatic sprinkler systems have electric solenoid valves. These valves can be operated electrically from the controller or timer, they can also be operated manually at the valve by simply turning a lever or bleeder screw.
In some cases the bleeder screw or lever may be in the open position, and it simply needs to be closed. If this is the case, simply turning the screw or lever is very easy to do and will fix the problem immediately. Congratulations! You just saved yourself a service call from your irrigation contractor.
If the previous description didn't fix the problem, then you may have an internal valve failure or blockage. However, this can be a fairly easy repair as well if you’re interested in taking a little time to explore it further. There are many types of valves on the market, but most operate and look similar. For example, the Hunter PGV is very easy to take apart and repair with a few general tools, if it's accessible.
Follow these steps:
- Identify the valve that is giving you trouble by locating the valve box and manually turning on one valve at a time with the bleeder screw or lever.
- Turn off main water supply to sprinkler system after identifying the trouble valve.
- Take a cordless drill or screw driver and locate the four bonnet bolts on the top of the valve body. Loosen all four bolts.
- Carefully take the top of the valve body apart and visually inspect the inside of the valve body.
- If there is debris or something inside the valve, carefully flush it out and put it back together again.
- Slowly turn the water supply back on and verify that the zone is now turning on and off properly both manually and electrically.
Lawn sprinkler system maintenance isn't always as complicated as it seems. As long as you have a few general tools around the house and you're willing to spend a little time and effort, you can diagnose and even fix your own problems when they arise. This will help save time and money, and you might even enjoy the sense of accomplishment that goes along with it!