• Online Events For Landscapers!
    With GIE+EXPO cancelled, virtual education and product launches are filling up the fall. Check out dates for Caterpillar, Exmark, NALP, and more. Click here to learn more.

How to turn on sprinkler system

Barkleymut

LawnSite Bronze Member
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?
 

River Hill

LawnSite Member
Location
Maryland
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.
 

Lazer

LawnSite Bronze Member
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.
 

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Location
Chicago, IL USA
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.
 

Kends

LawnSite Member
Location
New Lenox, IL
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....
 

Lazer

LawnSite Bronze Member
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.
 
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
John
 
OP
B

Barkleymut

LawnSite Bronze Member
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.
 

Keith

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Central Florida
Originally posted by gusbuster


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.


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.

 
Top