Rainbird sprinkler APAS leaking

ikerayFebruary 14, 2010

First post, so please excuse if I've done something wrong :)

I have an older model (now discontinued by Rainbird) anti-siphon sprinkler system that was pre-installed in our house, don't know when as house was built in 1970's and we bought in 2007. anyways, yesterday my yard was full of water and when I went outside it was gushing out of my sprinkler area, I figured pvc had busted since I forgot to turn off the sprinkler valve before the recent freeze, we only get 1-2 a year so I forget this stuff...

today I went and inspected it and didn't see any broken pvc but I did see that the valve that controls each section (?) was off and apparently dethreaded itself. the yard is still full of water despite turning off the gate valve to the system, saturated to the point of me sinking a few inches by stepping in the grass. I attempted to reattach the back part and as soon as I turned the gate valve on with any pressure, it shot back off.

now, because this is a discontinued model, would I be able to buy the valves for this unit or will I need to purchase a whole new sprinkler system (looking for the cheap way)? secondly, why is the water still passing through the unit even though its turned off?

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Hi Ike,

I will ask you questions that should narrow down the problem a bit. First the automatic valves are independent from the controller except for the connecting wiring and each can be any product brand. If you can not find the exact origin of the leak it is best to ask a landscape contractor to have a look at what is wrong. It is hard to really know what is happening without actually seeing it in real life. Okay here are the questions:
1. Do you know how to turn on each zone(section)from the controller and manually from the valve?
2. How many zones in the system? Two ways to check this, first count the valves to each zone or second open the controller and look at the electrical hookups and count the wire connections but don't count the common wire connection.
3. Can you see water coming out of your lawn in one particular spot?
4. Does the sprinklers continue to pour out water after you shut off the valve from the controller?
5.. Can you see which zone work with which valve? Keep track as you test the system's zones.
6. What de-threaded itself? If you have more than one zone, you have more than one valve. It is very unusual to have a valve unthread itself being in line with buried pipe. Was the fitting above ground, in a valve box or buried?
7. Do you know how to work with cutting and connecting PVC pipe and threading parts together with teflon pipe tape?

Yes, you do not have to buy an entire system again, but you might think about replacing the very old valves and controller. You can take this opportunity to reconfigure these main system items in places more to your liking. If you aren't comfortable with doing this yourself ask an akamai friend or landscape contractor. It is inexpensive if you do it yourself. Aloha

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 6:10PM
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aloha to you as well lehua, and thanks for the quick response.

yeah, I know its difficult to understand sometimes on the internet, and it didn't help me not knowing the parts specific names...

1) yes, I know how to turn on each zone (the word I was looking for) from the controller and manually at the valve
2) there are 3 zones
3) the water is leaking out of the sprinkler heads, I believe only from the zone that is broken but I can't remember which zone was where in the yard
4) the controller is completely shut off and the gate valve for water is shut off, yet water is still trickling through the pipes
5) I should've written this down, I knew about 6 months ago but have forgotten
6) I included a link to photobucket picture with part "circled" in red
7) yeah, I've done work with pvc, I've replaced parts of my pool equipment with no leaks to speak of :)

I might replace the controller valves and box next year, just too much on our plate this year for repairs. I know I want a rain sensor for sure, I'm tired of watching the sprinklers going during a down pour.



Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:39AM
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Hi Ike,

If only one zone has water leaking out go to that zone's valve and turn the solenoid and make the valve turn on and off. If the valve turns on but not off completely, try replacing the solenoid. Are you familiar with doing this?

May I say again and it sounds like your a busy guy, so have a landscape contractor replace the controller, the three valves and set it up with a rain sensor(more expensive controller). This is not a big cost and then the is job done and tested. If something goes wrong, you can call the landscaper within the warranty period to fix it. Get three different contractors to give you prices, then come back to GardenWeb with their list of parts and costs so members can evaluate the bids. Is this a house you live in or is it rented out? This does not take very much time for a landscaper to do. Maybe someone out there can give a rough estimate of the cost. I will try to check part costs on the internet, you can do the same. Aloha

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 11:59AM
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long time to follow up, but better late than never I guess...

I found out that the actuator is broken on one of the valves (ie won't shut off all the way) but that was only HALF of the issue. the other issue was, despite having closed the water to the sprinkler system all the way, someone must have broken that valve as if you overturned the gate valve it opened up slightly causing water to get through (thus the leaking through the head). I've tweaked it to stop as much as possible but it is still leaking slightly. I've had a soaked lawn now, at least in one sprinkler zone, for over a month so I can't do my spring lawn prep, I'm going to replacing the main valve as well as the sprinkler valves soon enough I guess.

thanks for all the help.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 12:23PM
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After our hard freeze, the small ( maybe 2") spring and plastic "bridge" had to be replaced in the above ground APAS valve assembly near the water source.
What is the nomenclature of this part?
It is best to be prepared.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 4:31PM
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