A sprinkler system is only effective as long as it has a working sprinkler valve. Sprinkler valves can suffer damage for to many reasons, such as heavy usage, entrance of foreign objects into the sprinkler system, and use of low quality sprinkler valves. Sometimes they just get clogged and need to be cleaned. To repair a damaged valve or simply clean them, one must know how to take it apart from the system.
Step 1 – Turn off the Power and Water Supply
Before taking apart the sprinkler valve from the entire irrigation system, make sure to shut down the water supply that goes to the valve and turn off the power as well. Automatic sprinkler valves are electrically powered so do not work on the valves when the power is still turned on. Water charged with electricity can be quite hazardous and may be lethal. To turn off the electric power, simply shut down the circuit breaker connecting the electrical power source to the sprinkler system.
Step 2 - Locate the Valves
Locate the sprinkler valve on the sprinkler system. Usually, the valve is located at the manifold that supplies water to all sprinklers on the irrigation system. There may be several valves depending on the number of sprinklers available. Find the valves that need to be removed.
Step 3 – Remove the Wiring on the Valve
Detach the electrical wiring on the valve before removing it from the entire system. Typically, there is a grease cap that covers the wiring. Remove this cap and wipe the wires using a clean paper towel. Remove the electrical tape that is wrapped around the wires to disengage the wires from the valve. If the valve has a solenoid, simply turn it counterclockwise to remove it. Watch out for the plunger. Slowly remove the solenoid from the valve to ensure that the plunger does not disengage from the valve and fall into a dirty surface or puddle.
Step 4 – Loosen the Fitting on the Valve
Loosen the fitting that connects the valve to the manifold or the main water supply pipe by hand. Sometimes, the connection is secured using a pipe dope or a tape sealant and may require the use of a wrench. Loosen the connection by turning the valve counterclockwise.
Step 5 – Detach the Valve from the Sprinkler System
After the wires and the fittings are removed or loosened, detach the sprinkler valve carefully. To clean the insides of the valve or check for damage, unscrew the valve lid. The lid may have 2 screws or a set of several screws. Use a screw driver to remove every screw that is holding the lid in place. When all screws are removed, carefully remove the lid and make certain the spring inside the valve does not fall off. The other parts of the valve can now be taken apart one by one for inspection or cleaning.