How to turn on sprinkler system

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Barkleymut, Sep 21, 2000.

  1. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    Anyone who knows much about irrigation systems out there? A friend of mine told me you can turn on a system without touching the control panels inside. Is this possible? I have some customers who are never home and I guess are too busy to mark their sprinkler heads. Also, is it very difficult to turn on the system this way?
  2. River Hill

    River Hill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    Some systems have a bypass box in the yards, the one I have had experince with is a box with controls and lets you bypass the computer. Normally each zone has it's own control box. If you find the control box look in their and start turning valves. I am sure you will figure it out.
  3. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,446

    Most new poly systems (Rain-bird, Hunter, etc.) have valves located in various areas in the lawn/landcape.

    (I think these valves are what Brians is referring to by "control box")

    Generally these valves are placed in a below-ground valve cover box (round, green lid) The controller opens these valves electrically for a set period of time as programmed.

    You can manually open these valves as most have a handle on top. This will turn-on that particular zone. A typical residential property may have 4-12 zones.

    The catch is these valve boxes get buried over time. (Bark, grass overgrowth, etc.) Locating all of them is sometimes tricky.

    The other way of turning ALL the system on is with a remote control. Many new systems have this as an option so you can turn on/off/program without being in the house/near the controller.
  4. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    The anti syphon zone valves have 2 different parts that turn on them. When you turn the whole valve, both parts, it is the adjustment of the water flow when the valve is electronically opened. If you hold that part of the valve and turn the very end part of it, it actually turns on the water. This will be the part that has 2 wires coming out of it.
  5. Kends

    Kends LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I know the company that installed my system puts in shut off valves (water) inside the house....If I'm not home, they aren't going to be turning my system on....
  6. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,446

    Aren't those for seasonal turn-on and shut-down?

    The systems we install have charged water lines up to the lawn valves throughout the summer.
  7. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,970

    I didn't see this mention, 2 other ways to manually open automatic valves.

    If the Timer\Control box is located outside and it's a locked box, you can purchase a set of master keys for these boxes. Over here (Ca) a set of keys runs about $35-$45. They fit and open just about any brand timer\control box. (Rainbird, Toro, Irritrol, watermaster and many more).

    If you can find the valve boxes, many of the newer valves can be turned on manually, just by turning the solenoid a 1/4 turn. (Irritrol, Hunter, Toro are like this) Also the valve should have a bleed screw that you can turn.

    All valves work, as far as i know, by changing the atmosphere in the valve (air pressure).

    Have fun getting wet...:D
  8. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    Thanks for all the help guys. I will attempt to turn one of these on tomorrow. Lazer, I know what you mean with all of the crud buildup inside those things but most of the ones I'm concerned with are fairly new lawns/homes. I have pulled the green lid on the valve boxes but I didn't know if I would cause any harm by messing with stuff. I also have a buddy of mine in town that used to be into landscaping so maybe we can check it out together.
  9. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    The screw is likely to be a small black plastic screw(in this image of an Irritrol, it is to the right, small, might be 7/16 inch tops.) You only need to open it a little.


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