Valves in a sprinkler system are the gatekeepers between the main water supply and the irrigation system. They hold pressure back from the rest of the system while the sprinklers are not running and allow water to flow through the pipe and into the irrigation heads when the system is in use.
The Purpose of Valves In An Irrigation System
Valves in an irrigation system prevent back flow of irrigation water into potable water source. They also protect against surges of high water pressure that could lead to blown sprinkler heads, broken pipes and flooded properties. Valves are meant to deal with static water pressure.
How Does An Irrigation Valve Work?
Each zone of an irrigation system contains a valve. If you have a 5 zone irrigation system then you have 5 sprinkler valves, a gatekeeper for each zone. The valves open and close in response to a low voltage electrical pulse sent from the automatic timer. It’s normally a 24 volt pulse of electricity.
Sprinkler valves are normally controlled by the sprinkler timer but also have the ability to be manipulated manually. This is helpful in cases of loss of electricity or when you need to override the sprinkler timer.
Sizes of Irrigation Valves
Sprinkler valves range in size from 3/4″ – 1″ depending on pipe size specified by contractor or by the size of the irrigation system. A smaller sprinkler system with 1/2 dozen or so zones doesn’t need 1″ piping and valves while a system supplying a large amount of zones will most definetley need the larger diameter 1″ application to allow for a larger flow of water. Valves for irrigation systems are usually placed @ 6″ above sprinkler heads are should be enclosed in a valve box to protect the valve from damage.
Maintenance of Valves For Irrigation System
First and foremost, keep the grass from growing over the valve boxes. If you have problems with your sprinkler system a majority of the labor charged for an irrigation technician is for the time used to locate valve boxes that the homeowner let the grass grow over.
Keep your valve box structurally intact. A broken valve box means that the sprinkler valve is not protected from outdoor threats like animals, lawn maintenance equipment, foot traffic and human tampering.
If you participate in a monthly, quarterly or bi-annual irrigation maintenance contract with an sprinkler contractor inspecting and maintaining valves and valve boxes should be included.