The sprinkler valve in your lawn sprinkler system will generally work very well. It’s durable and not prone to breakage. A sprinkler valve can develop problems, though, and it pays to be aware of the most common ones.
1 - Broken Sprinkler Head
The most common sprinkler valve problem is the broken sprinkler head. It’s usually due to an encounter with a lawnmower blade or a shovel. In this instance all you’ll need to do is unscrew the head and screw in a new one.
Placing the new sprinkler valve a little lower can eliminate the problem if it’s due to a lawn mower. If you’re having problems getting to the head to remove it, don’t attempt to dig it out as you could ruin the threads. Don’t dig deep around the sprinkler as you could break the sprinkler pipe.
2 - Stuck Valve
The sprinkler valve can sometimes stick. The usual cause of this is a rock that’s stuck in the valve and stopping it from closing completely. It’s easy to isolate the offending sprinkler valve. As the problem lies in the diaphragm of the sprinkler valve you can unscrew the solenoid to relieve the pressure on the diaphragm. Allow water to pass through the valve then close the solenoid again. This can often solve the problem. If not, remove the top of the sprinkler valve and disassemble it, after first turning off the sprinkler system.
Look at the valve and remove any rocks you see by using a small screwdriver. Be thorough. When you’ve finished, reassemble the sprinkler valve and turn the water back on. It should now operate without any problem.
3 - Wiring
If your controller has been programmed properly, but the sprinkler valves in one area of the garden won’t come on, you’ll need to examine the wiring for problems. Start by looking for corrosion in all the connections, especially with ground wires. Where you see corrosion, cut the wire away, strip a small area and reconnect to the sprinkler valve. Do this for each sprinkler valve until you’re certain all the connections are solid. Turn on the water and try the system again.
If some of the sprinkler valves still aren’t working, the best option is to rewire the section. Make a small trench with your shovel, put the wire up and replace it before sliding the wire back and tamping down the earth on top. To attach the wire, make you sure you use special wire nuts that contain caulk.
4 - Uneven Watering
Uneven watering can be a problem with a sprinkler valve. There are 3 possible causes. You might have the wrong head on the sprinkler valve, so not enough water is flowing. You might have the sprinkler valves too far apart. Finally, the watering schedule for one area might be wrong.
It’s easy to check coverage by operating the area by hand, so you can see if the water from the sprinkler valves reaches each other. If not enough water is coming out, all you have to do is replace with sprinkler heads with a different size.